Dr Sandra Engstrom


Social Work RG Bomont, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Sandra Engstrom

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About me

About me

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I grew up on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuu T'ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III. I have a BA(H) in Sociology from Acadia University, a BSW and MSW (specialising in Leadership in International Social Work) from the University of Calgary and completed my PhD from the University of Edinburgh. I have worked and/or volunteered in Canada, US, Vanuatu, St. Lucia, England and Scotland. I currently volunteer my time with the Give Back Yoga Foundation and when I'm not working you can find me out in the hills, nose in a book, or in a yoga studio. 


National Newspaper Award Special Recognition Citation
2023 National Newspaper Awards Special Recognition Citation for trauma-informed working covering the frontlines of climate change. The award is designed to recognize “exceptional journalism that does not fit into any of the existing categories” and “is meant to open the door to experimentation in journalism: transcending categories, newsrooms and the industry.” It honours the educators, journalists, students, and survivors who led the project in 2022 and 2023 and produced/supported work that was published, broadcast, and performed by our news media partners during those years

Research Culture Award
University of Stirling
Highly Commended award for Best Activity That Contributes to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, Research Culture Award

Research Culture Award
University of Stirling
Nominated for Best Collaborator

Research Culture Award
University of Stirling
Nominated for Best Collaborator

Community Contribution

British Association of Social Work

International Committee Member

Give Back Yoga Foundation

Trauma Informed Social Work Services – Partnership Delivery Group
Scottish Government

Urban Uprising Volunteer
UK based charity that supports and runs projects that get children from disadvantaged backgrounds outdoors climbing.

Event / Presentation

Podcast Interview
The human-nature relationship within an eco-social worldview (Audio podcast). Eco-Social Work in Australia. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/eco-social-work-in-australia/id1573546673


PhD Examinations
I have been an external PhD Examiner for Deakin University

External Examiners and Validations

Icelandic Research Foundation
External reviewer

Strathclyde University UG Social Work
External Examiner

Other Academic Activities

Climate Disaster Project
University of Victoria
Project Member https://climatedisasterproject.com/

Other Project

Water Resilience in Scotland
Scottish Water

The proposed research has multiple objectives, specifically to: • Address the current gap in understanding of how engagement and action can build water resilience in Scotland; • Develop a co-produced definition of water resilience in Scotland; • Map the determinants of water resilience in Scotland through interviews and a workshop guided by the Sniffer PSTCL; • Create a summary report mapping the emerging determinants of water resilience; • Make recommendations for future participatory place-based approaches; • Establish the groundwork in pilot evidence and partnerships to create a larger research project funded by the UKRI.

GCRF-FCDO Climate Resilience Programme
Resilience+: Integrating Equity into Climate-Resilient Development One year project funded by the ESRC/GCRF (2020-2021 - on hold due to UK DFID Budget restraints) Role: Co-investigator Amount: £200,000 Over the last two decades, Rwanda has experienced periods of severe flooding and drought, resulting in severe damage to crops affecting more than two million people, destruction of infrastructure and even loss of life. These climate impacts affect certain people more than others, and women and persons with disabilities are two such disproportionally affected groups. It is therefore vital to build their resilience to climate shocks. However, policies, programmes and projects aiming to do so have been criticised by many critical scholars as affording insufficient attention to the needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups. In some cases, this has been shown to lead to increasing inequalities and vulnerability rather than resilience. This project aims to address this challenge by building a Network of citizens (local women and people with disabilities from the Eastern Province), development practitioners, policymakers and academics who would come together to discuss what resilience means for different people, and what kinds of resources, knowledge and capabilities are necessary for the Rwandan context for making resilience policy and programming more equitable in its outcomes. Partner Institutions are: Glasgow Caledonian University (Project Lead) Send A Cow (UK) Send A Cow (Rwanda) University of Coventry University of Rwanda Rwanda Ministry of Environment National Union of Disability Organisations of Rwanda Rwanda Women's Network The project was cancelled due to UK Governmental Department for International Development (DFID) budget cuts.

The British German Forum
Invited Speaker The British German Forum: A focus on building resilience. University of Stirling Public Policy Blog. https://policyblog.stir.ac.uk/2021/11/26/the-british-german-forum-a-focus-on-building-resilience/

Professional membership

Alberta College of Social Workers

Professional qualification

Yoga Alliance

University Contribution

Equality, Diversion and Inclusivity Committee
University of Stirling

Race Equality Steering Group
University of Stirling

Scottish Social Sciences Graduate School
University of Stirling
Pathway Rep for Sociology and Social Work

Service User and Carer Group Convenor
University of Stirling

Research (2)

My research centres on community resilience as well as the role of social work in combating the climate crisis such as the emotionality of climate change. This often takes the form of looking at community mental health, trauma and eco-grief. I have experience working with vulnerable populations as well as community groups within a research and teaching capacity. I primarily work within interdisciplinary settings and work with ecologists, health psychologists, public health, geographers, sociologists, anthropologists and archaeologists. I work within the umbrella of qualitative methods and have experience with focus groups, in depth interviews, photo-voice and autoethnography. I am Co-Lead of the Extreme Events research group.


Covid19 & Community Resilience With A Focus On Preparedness Flooding
PI: Dr Tony Robertson
Funded by: Scottish Flood Forum (SFF)

Building a Movement: Community Development and Community Resilience in Response to Extreme Events
PI: Dr Sandra Engstrom
Funded by: National Centre for Resilience Scotland

Outputs (22)


Book Chapter

Engstrom S & Choate PW (2024) Social Work Climate Change And Colonialism. In: Baikady R, Sajid SM, Nadesan V, Przeperski J, Islam MR & Gao J (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Change. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87624-1_330-1

Website Content

Engstrom S (2021) The British German Forum: A focus on building resilience. University of Stirling Public Policy Blog [Blog post] 26.11.2021. https://policyblog.stir.ac.uk/2021/11/26/the-british-german-forum-a-focus-on-building-resilience/

Website Content

Engstrom S (2021) COP26: Reflections of a first-time attendee. University of Stirling Public Policy Blog [Blog post] 12.11.2021. https://policyblog.stir.ac.uk/

Book Chapter

Engstrom S (2018) Reconnecting with the Earth. In: Powers M & Rinkel M (eds.) Social Work: Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability, Volume 2. Rheinfelden, Switzerland: International Federation of Social Workers, pp. 255-263. https://www.ifsw.org/product/books/social-work-promoting-community-and-environmental-sustainability-volume-2/

Book Chapter

Engstrom S (2018) PhD: Pivotal Heart Development. In: Black A & Garvis S (eds.) Women Activating Agency in Academia: Metaphors, Manifestos and Memoir. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 157-163. https://www.routledge.com/Women-Activating-Agency-in-Academia-Metaphors-Manifestos-and-Memoir/Black-Garvis/p/book/9781138551138