Communication
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

John Kotcher

John Kotcher

John Kotcher

I am a doctoral candidate in George Mason University’s Science Communication program, and I currently work as a research assistant in the Center for Climate Change Communication. My research broadly focuses on science, environmental, and risk communication through the use of surveys, experiments, and quantitative content analysis. More specifically, my research investigates the interaction between media and social identity in shaping attitudes toward contentious issues about science and scientists, with a particular emphasis on the issue of climate change. My work has examined ways to correct misperceptions about the scientific consensus on climate change, how the public responds to political advocacy by scientists, and the process through which reflecting on one’s core values (referred to as self-affirmation) can make individuals more receptive to risk information. I have a strong interest in applied communication research that can aid organizations in improving citizen engagement with and reducing political polarization on public debates about science.

Prior to joining George Mason, I was a Communications Officer in the Office of Communications at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In my role at the Academies, I helped to communicate the work of the institution to broader audiences, worked on programs to connect empirical research on the science of science communication with the needs of practitioners, and developed communication training programs for scientists and engineers.

I also hold an M.S. in environmental science from American University in Washington D.C. My master’s research examined the potential of opinion leaders to catalyze wider public engagement with climate change and complement traditional media outreach strategies.