Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, School of Communication, American University
Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science, American University

Nisbet is a social scientist who studies strategic communication in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over science, the environment and public health. He is the author of more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and he serves on the editorial boards of Science Communication and the International Journal of Press/Politics. Nisbet’s current research examining the debates over climate change and energy policy is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. In 2011, Nisbet was named a Google Science Communication Fellow in recognition of his work on climate change. His research has appeared at high- impact disciplinary journals such as Public Opinion Quarterly, Public Understanding of Science and Communication Research as well as interdisciplinary outlets such as Science, Environment, the American Journal of Public Health, Nature Biotechnology and BMC Public Health. This scholarship has been cited more than 500 times in the peer-reviewed literature and in more than 150 books. Nisbet has also contributed articles to a range of popular outlets including The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and Slate. He has given invited lectures on more than 30 college campuses and he has served as a consultant to a number of leading organizations including the National Academies of Science and the Leopold Leaders Program at Stanford University. Nisbet holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University and an A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College.

Caty Borum Chattoo

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, American University

Borum Chattoo is a strategic communication professional with multifaceted expertise in social change communication, integrated media campaigns, and documentary film and television production.  A former senior vice president at a global communications agency in Washington, D.C., she directed national issue campaigns and produced documentary-style videos for clients in the nonprofit and government arenas.  Prior to this work, she was a longtime collaborator with producer and philanthropist, Norman Lear, as special projects director and senior producer at the Norman Lear Center, a multidisciplinary center based at the University of Southern California, and as a founding director of Lear’s Declare Yourself, a national youth civic engagement campaign.  Prior to this work, she served as a program officer in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Entertainment Media & Public Health program, and she co-produced the investigative feature documentary film, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” and the investigative environmental justice documentary TV documentary series “Sierra Club Chronicles,” which aired on Link TV and the Sundance Channel.  Borum Chattoo holds an MA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania (the Annenberg School), and a BA in Communication from Virginia Tech, where she graduated in honors, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

Declan Fahy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, American University

Fahy’s research examines the media and cultural portrayal of prominent scientists such as James Lovelock and James Hansen as public intellectuals and famous figures, as well as the shifting roles and practices of science reporters. He has also analyzed media coverage of health policy, opinion and commentary journalism, business reporting, and the reporting of the European Union. His peer-reviewed research appears in Journalism Studies, Health Promotion Practice and Irish Communications Review, while his commentary work has also appeared in Science Communication. Fahy has covered science, health and environmental issues, as well as many other topics, as a reporter for the Irish Times and Irish Daily Mirror newspapers. He holds Ph.D, MSc, and BA degrees from Dublin City University.

Lauren Feldman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, American University

Feldman’s research examines the effects of news and political communication on public knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.  She is particularly interested in the intersection of news and entertainment, and how less-traditional sources of political information—like late-night comedy and cable news—contribute to public perceptions of climate change.  Feldman’s research has been supported by grants from the Carnegie-Knight Task Force on Journalism and the Spanish Ministry of Science. Her work has appeared in a number of edited books and peer-reviewed journals, including Communication Research, Political Communication, and the Journal of Communication. Feldman holds a Ph.D and MA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in English from Duke University.

Sol Hart, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, American University

Hart is a social scientist specializing in risk communication. He has served as a visiting scholar at Decision Research, an Oregon-based think tank for the study of risk perception, judgment, and decision making, and as a consultant for Family Health International.  Hart’s research investigates the psychological processes underlying effective risk communication.  He has studied communication processes related to climate change, AIDS prevention, poverty, and clinical health communication.   Hart is the past recipient of doctoral research grants from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. His research has been published in a number of peer reviewed journals, including Science Communication, and Society and Natural Resources.  Hart holds a Ph.D in Communication from Cornell University, an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, and a BS in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California-Davis.