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Dr. Nina Roberts

Chrysalis Girls Adventures was launched in 2022 honor of, and in dedication to, Dr. Nina Roberts. 

Dr. Nina Roberts (Dec. 10, 1960 - Mar. 28, 2022), or "Dr. Nina," as she was affectionately called, was a professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism at San Francisco State University, and the faculty director of the Institute for Civic Engagement. Roberts’ research was highly regarded in the areas of race and ethnicity, culture, and natural resources. She was also nationally known for her work pertaining to urban youth and women's and girls' outdoor programming, including the connection to developing healthy lifestyles. Roberts was widely acknowledged for her commitment to social and environmental justice, including her advocacy for breaking down barriers — especially relating to diversity, park access, and recreation opportunities on public lands. 

Excerpt modified from SFSU College of Health & Social Sciences

Dr. Nina passed away in spring 2022 after a difficult battle with pancreatic cancer. She lived her values daily, both personally and professionally. Her ability to gather people together and weave a web of connection was truly one of her many gifts. Perhaps the quality and depth of Dr. Nina's life is best described as a life lived with a deep regard for our shared humanity, a trait only matched by her ever-deepening well of love and justice that she shared freely and frequently.

Excerpt modified from Nina Roberts Obituary,

The Inspiration: "Dr. Nina"

In fall 2008 I was halfway through my Peace Corps service, and determined my next goal was to pursue a master’s degree focused on empowering girls through outdoor recreation. Professors across the United States recommended I study with Dr. Nina Roberts at San Francisco State University (SFSU). They attested that she was the “best of the best!” Dr. Nina was indeed an amazing professor, helping craft my degree to focus on effective outdoor programming for adolescent girls, but her guidance didn’t stop there. In her individual mentorship, as well as in every one of her university classes, Dr. Nina challenged students to consider how to increase access to recreation opportunities for underrepresented populations, especially people of color (POC). 

When Dr. Nina passed from this life in March 2022, I immediately felt moved to honor her by doing something I'd thought about for years: launch my own girls' outdoor education organization! I offered a pilot program (Trails to Sea) in August 2022 and by late September, Chrysalis Girls Adventures was born. 

I am grateful for Dr. Nina’s endless support, candidness, her guidance to think critically about equity and representation, and for her motivation to have the courage to live boldly and take action. Dr. Nina will forever inspire me, and so many others, to be our best selves. Chrysalis Girls Adventures aims to carry Dr. Nina's torch forward, honoring her passion for inclusion, empowerment, and increased accessibility to the outdoors. May her wisdom and teachings help us take flight! 

Excerpt modified from A Field Guide to Managing Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion in Organizations: Diversity Awareness as a Mindset: Doing What We Can Where We Can


I invite you to join us in continuing this work in honor of Dr. Nina Roberts. Please consider a way to give that supports the girls and families of Chrysalis Girls Adventures. Thank you! 

- Susie Barr-Wilson, Chrysalis Girls Adventures Founder & Director

"Thank you. I know Nina is proud of this wonderful program. I love seeing young women grow stronger and I hope take over the world! Again, thank you."

Love, Colette Roberts

(Dr. Nina’s Mother)


GirlVentures inspires girls to lead through outdoor adventure, inner discovery, and collective action. 

GirlVentures is also a key source of guidance for Chrysalis Girls Adventures (CGA)! Our courses are largely inspired by their supportive, relationship-based approach to outdoor education, and many of our instructors/volunteers have a long history with this Bay Area non-profit - in fact, our founder was previously the GirlVentures Program Manager! We are immensely grateful for GirlVentures' ongoing support with course referrals, mentoring, and sharing curriculum resources.

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