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Apoorva Joshi

Dr. Apoorva Joshi (she/her) is an environmental social scientist specializing broadly in investigating the links between communication – psychology – and behavior. She examines how science, environmental, risk, and visual communication is designed, and how it influences people’s thoughts, decisions, and actions. Her research draws from multiple fields such as mass communication, media and environmental psychology, visualization science, and decision and behavioral science. Given the complex multi-dimensional nature of the contemporary social-environmental problems that she works on, Dr. Joshi’s research is intentionally interdisciplinary and collaborative so as to help create holistic, scalable, feasible, and equitable solutions.

Theoretically grounded, Dr. Joshi’s largely applied mixed methods research provides crucial empirical evidence based on which she makes actionable recommendations to external partners, product designers, scientists, policymakers, etc. on science-backed best practices for strategically designing effective messages. She translates and operationalizes research into action.

Much of her work at the Institute on the Environment involves working actively with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and Office of Water Prediction to translate both original research and her expert synthesis of large volumes of interdisciplinary social science into tangible operational changes to improve, optimize, or redesign decision support products and visualizations. Dr. Joshi’s work has already contributed to the redesign of some hydrologic and natural disaster risk-related data visualization products that are key drivers of risk-related decisions. By enhancing the usability and understandability of data visualization products that are nationally important decision support tools, she helps transform and improve science, environmental, risk, and visual communication at a national and regional scale, thereby influencing how the broader public understands and responds to risks and hazard events.

With a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Pune, India, and a master’s degree in science journalism from the University of Montana, Missoula, Dr. Joshi previously had a career in journalism, eco-tourism, and environmental education. She earned her Ph.D. in information and media with a dual major in environmental science and policy from Michigan State University where she also got a graduate certificate in conservation criminology and won a research grant from the National Geographic Society to lead a project on wildlife crime-related communication and behavior as a Co-P.I. She is currently based in San Jose, California.