Karen Akerlof

Karen Akerlof, Assistant Professor
Ph.D. George Mason University, Environmental Science & Policy

Research Focus: Science communication for policy; public participation in decision-making; behavioral policy; conservation/environmental/risk communication; climate adaptation

Web Site: https://karenakerlof.com

Office: DK 3032

Phone: 703-993-7069

E-mail: kakerlof@gmu.edu

Most of my research sits at the intersection of governance with science and risk communication. It is primarily–though not exclusively–in the environmental domain. This work has three primary dimensions: 1) communication of science with policymakers; 2) public participation in decision-making; and 3) use of communication as a “soft tool” to achieve governmental policy goals. Current projects include:

  • 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.
  • Recommendations for transdisciplinary graduate curricula in conservation and environmental science communication are being developed through a collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Communication and Schar School of Policy and Government, funded by the university provost’s office.

I lead the environmental science communication concentration (ESCM) within the master’s degree program and teach courses such as EVPP 429/529 Environmental Science Communication, EVPP 336 Human Dimensions of the Environment, and EVPP 608 Introduction to Environmental Social Science.