Faculty & Staff Directory
- Assistant Professor
- Science Communication, Environmental Social Science, Sustainability
PhD, Environmental Science & Public Policy, George Mason University (2012)
I study the ways in which communities interpret scientific information and bring experience, values, and local knowledge to bear in making decisions. My research addresses place-based communities and policymakers. As an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, I lead the environmental science communication concentration within the master's degree program.
My research sits at the intersection of governance with science and risk communication. It has three primary dimensions: 1) communication of science with policymakers; 2) public participation in decision-making; and 3) the use of communication as a soft tool to achieve governmental policy goals through behavior change.
- A study with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and University of Michigan explores how congressional staff members access, interpret, and use science communicated to them within different policy contexts.
- A project funded by the National Science Foundation investigates how communities of researchers and practitioners from across the globe prioritize social science needs in furthering the study and practice of legislative science advice.
- The development of transdisciplinary conservation and environmental science communication graduate curricula standards was funded by the university's provost's office, leveraging cross-departmental collaborations with the Department of Communication and Schar School of Policy and Government.
Over the past few decades, the rate of information generation has increased exponentially due to the unprecedented development and adoption of computing and networking technologies. What we know today isn’t the same as yesterday; if it is, it may fall into the category of what “just ain’t so.” In an information society, memorization of static bodies of knowledge becomes less important than the ability to understand how to find—or generate—information, analyze it, and use it to inform decisions. Regardless of the course topic, I seek to help students become adept learners in a shifting information environment, as these are skills they will need throughout their lives.
Environmental Science Communication (EVPP 429/529)
Human Dimensions of the Environment (EVPP 336)
Introduction to Environmental Social Science (EVPP 608)
- Akerlof, K., Merrill, J., Yusuf, J.-E., Covi, M., & Rohring, E. (In press). Key beliefs and attitudes for sea level rise policy. Coastal Management.
- Akerlof, K. (2018). Congress’s use of science: Considerations for science organizations in promoting the use of evidence in policy. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Akerlof, K., Covi, M., & Rohring, E. (2017). Communicating sea level rise: Media, public opinion, and engagement. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Oxford University Press.
- Akerlof, K., Rowan, K., La Porte, T., Batten, B., Ernst, H., & Sklarew, D. (2016). Risky business: Engaging the public on sea-level rise and inundation. Environmental Science & Policy, 66, 314-323.
- Akerlof, K., Maibach, E. W., Fitzgerald, D., Cedeno, A. Y. & Neuman, A. (2013). Do people “personally experience” global warming, and if so how, and does it matter? Global Environmental Change, 23(1), 81-91.
- 2016-2017: American Geophysical Union/American Association for the Advancement of Science congressional science fellow, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
- 2013: DISCCRS VIII Symposium Scholar. Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research. [NSF-funded interdisciplinary early career climate change research symposium] Colorado Springs, CO.
- 2010: Eason Award for Graduate Student Research. Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Denver, CO.