Broadly, my scholarship advances two foundational questions critical for civic participation and environmental communication: How do cultural, relational, and ideological realities intersect with and shape individuals' values, perceptions, and behaviors? How can environmental decision-making processes be designed to balance divergent interests and voices while remaining inclusive and legitimate? To address these questions, I draw on theory from psychology, communication, and environmental policy to pursue research informing two critical areas of study: (1) risk perceptions and environmental communication and (2) public engagement in environmental decision making.
My work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Morris Animal Foundation, and the USDA and published in leading environmental and communication journals, including Conservation Biology, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Environmental Communication, and Energy Research and Social Science.
My co-authored book, "Cats and Conservationists: The Debate over Who Owns the Outdoors," was published by Purdue University Press in March 2020 and is available through Amazon and Purdue University Press. My book is the first multidisciplinary analysis of the debate over outdoor cats and challenges major misconceptions pervasive in this debate. For example, we question the popular use of conflict framing and the oversimplification of the problem as a debate between two cohesive and simple-minded groups. Instead, this book highlights the voices of the many millions of people with views that are more nuanced than the ones typically drowned out by louder interests—represented broadly by TNR proponents and bird advocacy groups that frequently oppose each other in a number of venues, from academic journals to public policy debates to on the ground activism. This book also sheds light on larger issues, including the way moral debates are framed, the social role of science, the way humans understand and value nonhuman nature, and, not least, the challenges of making good public policy amidst ethical pluralism.