Past Student Research

The Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media works with an exceptional group of student researchers in various capacities. We aim to foster interest in the science of communicating climate change science and adjacent research areas. We have a rich variety in research topics and projects amongst our student researchers. Please see below for more on our student research projects.

Undergraduate Research

Elijah Cook

Undergraduate Research Intern Summer 2023

Research Project: Elijah is interested in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) and corporate sustainability. His project focuses on the communication and messaging surrounding ESG on social media. Elijah finished this project in Fall 2023 and PCSSM will be publishing his report in Spring 2024.

Bio: Elijah Cook is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania in the College of Arts and Sciences. Elijah is majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability and Management. He throws the javelin on the varsity Track and Field team at Penn. Currently he is interning with the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media as well as the Sunrise Project. He is researching Environmental, Social and Governance and the public’s perception of it. Elijah has a love for the outdoors and is interested in our relationship with the natural world, the ways in which humans can drastically alter it as well as preserve it. 

Lotus Kaufman

Undergraduate Research Intern Summer 2023

Research Project: Lotus is interested in the polarization and politicization of climate change science and communication. Her project focuses on climate change communication on social media before and after major platform policy changes. Lotus has rolled her Summer 2023 project into her MES Capstone project and will be working with PCSSM to conduct the research.

Bio: Lotus Kaufman is an undergraduate summer research assistant for the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. She is a rising senior pursuing a B.A. in Communication with a Politics and Policy concentration and submatriculating into the Masters of Environmental Studies program at Penn. Her interests lie in the ways climate communication has contributed to the political polarization of climate change and strategies to bridge the partisan divide.

Julia Pampush

Undergraduate Researcher AY 2023-2024

Research Project: Julia is interested in communicating climate and sustainability issues to the public and policy makers. Her project focuses on communicating the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to the general public. Learn more about this project here.

Bio: Julia Pampush is an undergraduate research intern for the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media and a rising junior in the College. She is pursuing an Environmental Studies Major with a Concentration in Sustainability and Environmental Management and Design Minor. She has a keen interest in the theory and practicality of designing sustainable, environmentally friendly urban, living and working spaces. Additionally, she is passionate about addressing the challenges and opportunities involved in communicating climate and sustainability issues to the public and policymakers. 

Graduate Research

Molly Flanagan

MES Student

Research Project: Molly is interested in green marketing and green washing in sustainable textiles and fashion. Her project focuses on the investigating green marketing claims and how consumer behavior is influenced by green marketing.

Bio: Molly Flanagan (she/her) is a graduate student in the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program, concentrating in Resource Management. Molly understands that the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies requires multifaceted collaboration, holistic analysis, creativity, and above all, an inextinguishable standard for both human health and environmental welfare. Her research interests include circular economy systems, value creation, sustainable textiles, and particularly, the influences of ‘greenwashing’ on consumer behavior. Molly is a proud Philadelphian, and seeks to utilize her educational background as an impetus for advancing environmental literacy at large in the greater Philadelphia community through her position on the Student Visibility Team at the Penn Environmental Innovations Initiative (EII). Her time at McGill University (Montreal, QC, Canada) – where she earned her B.A. in Environmental Science and Economics – opened her up to international understandings and challenges surrounding climate change, justice, and communications.

Zhao Liu

MES Student

Research Project: Zhao is working on research related to energy policy with PCSSM Senior Research Fellow Dr. Joe Romm. He is currently a research assistant at the Energy Justice Lab at Penn.

Bio: Zhao Liu is currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies degree and a Master in Law degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Renmin University of China and a Bachelor of Management and Commerce degree from KEDGE Business School in France. With a multi-disciplinary background, he brings extensive expertise in ESG and sustainability. His experience spans from ESG and sustainability research to ESG and sustainability rating, reporting, and investment. Outside of his academic pursuits, Zhao is an amateur DJ and a sports enthusiast.

Hannah Schwalberg

MES Student

Research Project: Hannah is interested in weather identity and weather event messaging and communication surrounding hurricanes and extreme weather events in the eastern U.S. Hannah is projected to graduate from Penn in May 2024.

Bio: Hannah is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she developed a concentration in Sustainability and Communications to study how scientific issues are understood by different communities, and how strategic messaging can be used to support sustainability initiatives. With a professional background in digital media strategy, much of Hannah’s research also focuses on the intersection of social media and public perception of climate change.  Her current research examines the relationship of regional cultural identity, extreme weather events, and emergency messaging efficacy. Hannah received a B.A in Advertising from The Pennsylvania State University’s Bellisario College of Communications.

Are you a Penn student interested in research opportunities with PCSSM? Please reach out to with subject line “student research” to get started.
Learn about current student research projects here.