Katherine McComas, Professor, 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.

Jason Holley, PhD candidate, 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.

Catherine Lambert, PhD candidate, Dept. of Communication

My research investigates questions of public attitudes and risk perception in the contexts of geohazards and energy development; I am particularly focused on how community and place attachment influence how people evaluate the risks introduced by new technologies such as enhanced geothermal systems.

Dominic Balog-Way, PhD, Post-Doctoral Associate, Dept. of Communication

Dominic holding a sea star at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, WA. (Photo: David O. Brown)

I am a social scientist working at the interface between risk communication, risk management and policymaking. I specialize in technological risk issues, especially those associated with pharmaceuticals, healthcare, food safety, and the environment. My recent work has focused on evidence-informed policymaking; transparency and big data in risk regulation; risk perception and decision-making; and risk-risk tradeoffs. I am currently working on a research project with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology exploring how to improve the communication of infectious marine disease outbreaks.


Alisisus Leong, PhD student, Dept. of Communication

My research program focuses on risk, science, and health communication, particularly in the context of social media. I am also interested in public opinion and communication interventions.


Josephine Martell, PhD student, Dept. of Natural Resources

My research examines how message framing effects can influence wildlife conservation-related policy and decision making. I do empirical research to study how messages about biodiversity and conservation are received by key stakeholders, and test which messages and frames are most effective at potentially influencing key public policy actions and different personal behaviors.

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