Research

Most of my research sits at the junction of organizational communication, science and technology studies, and science and environmental communication. My research is mostly within the context of climate and environmental change, but I am also interested in the domains of conservation, natural resource management, and energy. My work generally falls into four categories:


Investigating News Professionals’ Climate Change Reporting

Individual, organizational, professional norms, and broader cultural factors each affect the ways that climate change is presented across the changing media ecosystem. My research has investigated the ways broadcast meteorologists and weathercasters, journalists and reporters, and other news professionals think about and report on climate change. I have also studied the ways climate change is presented across a variety of news platforms.  


Growing Capacity for the Co-production of Climate Science

A co-production approach—where researchers and decision makers work together to define and investigate problems of interest—can be a means of generating science that is better equipped for use in natural resource management and climate change adaptation. I am interested in the role of communication in co-production and how to better equip individuals and organizations to adopt a co-production approach in climate change research.     


Visualizing the Effects of Climate Change

As a scientific illustrator, I have observed the powerful effects of graphic visualizations that depict the impacts of climate change. A new area of research for me, I am interested in investigating how ice has been used in climate change communication and how visualizations of changing ice affect the ways people think, feel, and act with respect to climate change.


Exploring the Interdisciplinary Nature of Environmental Communication

I was trained in both the natural and social sciences and have worked on many interdisciplinary teams. I believe that communication research has much to contribute to environmental science, but its application is hindered by disciplinary silos. My research also explores the opportunities and barriers afforded by the interdisciplinary nature of environmental communication.

 

Current Projects

Here are a few of the larger research projects I have been a part of. Please contact me if you would like to discuss collaboration on a paper or proposal.

 
Sustainable Energy
Image by USGS

Collaborative Research: The Demise Of The World's Largest Piedmont Glacier

PI: Dr. Martin Truffer, University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Malaspina Glacier is the world's largest piedmont glacier. It is rapidly thinning and retreating which could lead to one of the largest modern changes to Alaska's coastline -- with implications for both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The main goal of this work is to come up with a large ensemble of modeling scenarios for the retreat of Malaspina Glacier. I am a co-PI on the project, overseeing a study of how dramatic visualizations of future glacier change affect non-scientists' feelings and views about climate change, which will inform future communication efforts in National Park Service exhibits.  


Funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Multiple Perspectives on Environmental Communication

PI: Dr. Karen Akerlof, George Mason University

Communication processes lie at the heart of what has been famously termed a “new social contract for science” to meet societal demands for environmental science in support of conservation. However, these communication processes are studied and practiced across a wide array of disciplines. As a graduate student, I assisted with research to assess different perspectives on environmental communication among academics and practitioners. This research will help inform the discipline and improve the curricula for conservation and environmental science communication.

Funded by a George Mason University Curriculum Improvement Grant.

Forest Trail
Reporter

Climate Matters in the Newsroom

PI: Dr. Ed Maibach, George Mason University

The media plays an important role in informing audiences about the local impacts and solutions to climate change. This project aimed to develop a better understanding of the barriers television weathercasters, journalists, and other news professionals face when it comes to local climate change reporting. The results were used to shape training and develop resources to assist news professionals in telling these important stories. As a graduate student, I assisted with data collection and analysis of interviews and large-scale surveys.

Funded by the National Science Foundation.

 

Grants

2020 – 2023

Co-Principal Investigator  

Grant awarded by the National Science Foundation to study the Malaspina Glacier, develop outreach materials, and conduct communication research to understand how models of future glacier change influence climate change beliefs among publics (P.I. Martin Truffer, University of Alaska Fairbanks).


2007 – 2011  

Co-Principal Investigator                                             

Grant awarded by the National Science Foundation for PolarTREC: Teachers & Researchers Exploring & Collaborating, a teacher research experience program in the Arctic and Antarctic (P.I. Janet Warburton, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.).

 

Research Methods

I am a mixed-method researcher, using both qualitative and quantitative methods in my work. I have extensive experience in the design and analysis of qualitative data (using NVivo). I have experience with survey design, implementation, and analysis of survey data.


For my dissertation research, I am developing skills in computational social science, specifically text mining and structural topic modeling (using R). I am looking for mentoring and more experience conducting and analyzing data from social science experiments.


I am a proponent for open science, methodological reproducibility, and when possible and appropriate, sharing social science data. I will be sharing data and methods from my projects on Open Science Framework.

 

Engaged Scholarship

I believe that global climate change is one of the most important and pressing issues of our time, with widespread implications for the health and wellbeing of all human beings, but especially those who are underprivileged due to colonization, racism, and other forms of inequality. To that end, my scholarly activity is driven by, conducted, and communicated in ways that addresses societal needs and concerns and I strive to conduct research that is reciprocal and mutually beneficial to my partners.