Katherine McComas | Professor and Chair, Dept. of Communication 

My research program examines how people communicate about health, science, and environmental risks. I am particularly interested in how risk communication influences people’s attitudes and behaviors, as well as incentives and barriers people face in the context of risk communication. My current research examines ways to develop risk messages that encourage greater awareness of the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health and well-being (“One Health”). It also focuses on public acceptability of risk in the context of new and renewable energy technologies.

Hang Lu, PhD candidate, Dept. of Communication

My primary research interest centers on risk, environmental, science and health communication. I’m particularly interested in the role of emotions (both incidental and integral) in influencing individuals’ information seeking and processing, and decision making. Some of my recent research has looked at various risk-related issues, such as climate change, obesity, nuclear radiation, zoonotic diseases, human-wildlife conflicts, genetically modified food, and human-induced earthquakes.

Carrie Young, PhD candidate, Dept. of Communication

My research program is both theory-driven and applied, exploring the communication of interrelated sustainability issues, such as climate change, health and nutrition, natural resource management, and wildlife conservation through interpersonal and mass media channels. My work aims to strengthen outcomes by creating an environment of participation and feedback loops, both within communities and between communities and campaign designers.

Hwanseok Song, PhD candidate, Dept. of Communication

My research focuses on people’s social judgments about other individuals, groups, or authorities within contexts where information about environmental issues, conservation, and technologies is communicated. Successful cooperation in environmental disputes or collaborative conservation projects largely depends on how stakeholders or project members maintain a positive view of each other. Similarly, qualities such as trust and fairness are essential for public authorities and experts communicating with the public. My research program seeks to understand not only how people make these judgments but also their downstream consequences on other attitudes and pro-environmental behavior.

Jason Holley, PhD student, Dept. of Communication

My research program focuses on environmental, science, and risk communication; constructions of risk in mediated texts such as those about climate change or environmental restoration; spatial dimensions of risk communication and the sociotechnical networks in which discourses are embedded; framing theory; the role(s) of policy infrastructures and controls in mediated risk discourses.

Wang Liao, PhD candidate, Dept. of Communication

My research focuses on interaction, structure, and micro-foundations of group-related social processes, particularly solidarity and hierarchy; Computational social science; and quantitative methods for causal inference.

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