Abby Roche

Contact Info:

Degree Program(s): PhD in Communication Studies, Communication and Journalism Department

Home Town: Fargo, ND

Role in Graduate Student Government: I serve to represent graduate students from the University of Maine to the University of Maine system’s Board of Trustees (BOT). In this role it is my duty to keep students abreast on BOT decisions while also advocating for graduate student interests and well-being.

Reason behind joining the GSG as an officer: I have a deep interest in the complexities of voice, justice, and social responsibility. Serving as the Graduate Student Board of Trustees representative has given me opportunities to explore these areas of interest while also advocating for and with my fellow graduate students.

As an officer in the GSG how would you like to contribute in such a way that you improve the situation for graduate students?: Most generally as an officer in the GSG I hope to contribute to graduate student well-being. Through my interactions with BOT members I aim to represent the crucial role graduate students play in the university’s research, pedagogy, and culture. Through these interactions my hope is that BOT members will consider graduate students when they make decisions at the system level.

Long Term Career Goals: In terms of a future career, I see myself working as an advocate, researcher, and educator within the field of environmental communication. I plan to continue placing tenets of sustainability science at the center of my teaching practice and research, connecting scholarship and pedagogy toward influencing social change.

Involvement in clubs and other organizations: I am an active member in the Communication and Journalism department’s Graduate Student Association and also a community member of the Environmental Communication Community of Practice

 Research at Umaine:I work on the Sensing Storm Surge citizen science effort One goal of my work is to engage with and train citizen scientists in the measurement of storm surge in tidal mouths of rivers (i.e. estuaries) in Maine. Storm surge is the rising of the sea as an outcome of atmospheric pressure changes and wind accompanying a storm. To date, researchers have relied on models to represent idealized scenarios of storm surge behavior to mitigate events such as the one described above; however, to date detailed observations capturing how storm surge behaves inside Maine estuaries have yet to be collected. To explore this problem, the citizen science project, Sensing Storm Surge was created with the aim to develop an improved understanding of storm surge behavior in several estuaries in Maine. An additional aim of my work is to understand how engaging local residents in a citizen science research network contributes to aspects of “citizenship” central to climate change adaptation. Such aspects include building environmental literacy, or the action-oriented outcome of values, attitudes, and skills related to ecological concepts and environmental issues, and self-efficacy, or the ability (e.g., knowledge, skills) to enact a given action, such as protecting one’s property against coastal flooding.