Research Interests

Factors promoting collaboration; social network dynamics; motivations behind environmental awareness and pro-environmental behavior; climate change adaptation; community engagement; environmental education-specifically informal STEM learning

Graduate Research

My graduate research within the Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation Department at Virginia Tech falls within the field of human-dimensions and social sciences. The research is funded by an Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Research in Service to Practice Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The overall purpose of the NSF grant is to investigate how climate adaptation workshops influence learning and adaptive actions by studying eight communities across the United States before, during and after the workshops. My research is focused on the influence of each workshop’s context and design, the quality of networks (individuals and organizations involved in adaptation planning and implementation) working on local climate adaptation and workshop participants’ accountabilities to others on learning and outcomes post-workshop. I am also really interested in using social network analysis, or the mapping of relevant actors interactions with one another, as a tool during the workshops to identify potential opportunities and gaps to collaboration among participants. Here is an example of what a social network map looks like from a map of climate adaptation professionals’ connections created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and EcoAdapt:

I haven’t published any of my research findings yet, but our team recently produced a report showcasing the findings from the first part of the NSF study, which aimed to learn about effective workshops practices/elements from facilitators of climate adaptation workshops. That report can be found here: Final Delphi Report Aug 2020 (1)

Research from a Former Life…

Prior to starting my PhD, I was a primate behavior and tropical ecology researcher. This research varied from following orangutans around and collecting behavioral data to implementing a dragonfly research project. Here are two publications that resulted from this earlier research:

• Knott, C. et al. (in press). The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project: Twenty-Five Years at the Intersection of 2 Research and Conservation in a Critical Landscape in Indonesia.
• Husson, S.J. et al. (2018). Biodiversity of the Sebangau tropical peat swamp forest, Indonesian Borneo. Mires and Peat, 22(5), pp. 1-50.