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Research Affiliates

Nick Smith

Research Affiliate

Nicholas Smith is a social-environmental psychologist with research interests in the perception and communication of risk issues. He was a postdoctoral research associate for the YPCCC working on a variety of projects exploring American public awareness and understanding of climate change. Following this, he was a research fellow at University College London working on a Liveable Cities project exploring the human dimensions of urban sustainable living. He is currently a psychology lecturer at the University of Westminster. He obtained his MSc in research methods and PhD in social psychology from University College London and his BA in environmental management from the University of Leeds. He can be contacted at

Jagadish Thaker

Research Affiliate

Jagadish Thaker (JT) is a Lecturer at the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, New Zealand. His research examines ways to understand and enhance vulnerable communities adaptive capacity to climate change impacts, particularly in India. Dr. Thaker specializes in the fields of science and climate change communication, health communication, and strategic communication campaigns. He assisted Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz to conduct the first national sample survey of Indian’s climate change beliefs, behaviors, and policy preferences, and has co-authored two reports: Climate Change in the Indian Mind, and Global Warming’s Six Indias, an audience segmentation analysis. Prior to joining Massey, Dr. Thaker was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Communication and New Media, National University of Singapore (NUS). He received Ph.D. from George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. He also holds an MA in English literature from University of Hyderabad. Prior to his Ph.D. degree, he worked in All India Radio, and did several odd jobs including a newspaper boy.

Breanne Chryst
Data Scientist

Breanne is currently a 4th-year PhD student in the Department of Statistics at Yale University. Her main research interests include network driven sampling and Bayesian inference. She is a consultant in the Yale StatLab and previously worked as a Data Scientist for Audible. Before coming to Yale, she graduated with a Bachelors degree in mathematics (cum laude) from the University of Utah. She has an interest in science education and outreach, especially as it pertains to environmental issues.

Matto Mildenberger

Research Affiliate 

Matto Mildenberger is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research explores the political drivers of policy inaction in the face of serious social and economic threats posed by global climate change. Straddling comparative political economy and political behavior, Matto's work focusses on comparative climate policymaking and the dynamics of US climate opinion. His current book project compares the politics of carbon pricing across advanced economies, with a focus on the history of climate reforms in Australia, Norway and the United States. Other ongoing work explores public environmental behaviors, political ideology, and the relationship between economic and environmental policy preferences. A previous book, Dependent America? How Mexico and Canada Construct US Power (Toronto 2011, with Stephen Clarkson), explored the political economy of North American trade and security relationships. Matto completed his PhD at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He received an MA in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo and an Hon. B.Sc. (in Botany and International Relations) from the University of Toronto.

Peter Howe

Research Affiliate

Peter Howe has been an Assistant Professor of Human-Environment Geography at Utah State University since 2013.  His research focuses on the intersection of human perception and cognition with vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and natural hazards.  This research aims to improve the ability of individuals and communities to detect and effectively respond to environmental change.  Dr. Howe's research also explores how spatial relationships influence risk perceptions and decision making, using methods including survey research, spatial analysis, geovisualization, and multilevel modeling.

Prior to joining USU, Dr. Howe worked as a postdoctoral associate with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.  He received his PhD in Geography from Penn State University in 2012.  He also holds an MS in Geography from Penn State, and a BA in Political Science and BS in Geography from Arizona State University.

Sander Van Der Linden
Research Affiliate

Sander joined the YPCCC in 2012 as a visiting research scholar to work with Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz. Sander received his PhD in social-environmental psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and before coming to Yale, he was based at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. From September 2014 onwards, Sander will hold a joint appointment as a post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer in the Department of Psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Sander remains an active research associate of the YPCCC and is involved in a number of experimental research projects.  Sander’s research spans three interrelated areas: (1) judgments and perceptions of environmental risks and persuasive (risk) communication, (2) behavioral change and the psychosocial determinants of pro-environmental and pro-social behaviors and (3) psychological worldviews. Sander also maintains an active research interest in psychometrics and statistical research methods for the behavioral sciences.

Baobao Zhang
Research Affiliate

Baobao is a 3rd-year PhD student in political science at Yale University. Her main interests include causal inference, survey methodology, and data visualization. She worked as a data consultant at Yale StatLab and a software engineer at Plotly. She graduated from Yale with a MA in statistics and a BA (cum laude) in political science. As an undergraduate, she worked in outreach and communications at the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

Edward Maibach
Research Affiliate 

Edward Maibach is a University Professor at George Mason University, and the Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Ed’s research – funded by NSF, NASA and private foundations – focuses on public engagement in climate change. Ed recently co-chaired the Engagement & Communication Working Group for the 3rd National Climate Assessment, and previously served as Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and Chairman of the Board for Kidsave International.  Ed earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University and his MPH at San Diego State University.

Chris Kennedy
Research Afflilate 

Chris Kennedy is a PhD student in political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a consulting data scientist. He specializes in statistical methods for American and comparative politics; his substantive interests include climate change politics, voter mobilization & representation, and election administration. He develops and implements methods for electoral field experiments, machine learning, voter file matching, causal inference, and survey research. Before moving to California he spent 7 years in DC working as a data scientist for the Voter Participation Center, Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, Rock the Vote, and Avaaz. He holds a master of public affairs and a B.A. in government & economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Teresa Myers
Research Affiliate 

Teresa Myers is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a NASA grant investigating public trust in NASA’s climate change research, and public understanding of NASA’s web-based educational materials on climate change.  She is also actively analyzing and publishing research using the Climate Change in the American Mind data and working with a team to evaluate the Climate Matters broadcast meteorologist engagement project. Teresa specializes in research methodology and advanced data analysis techniques in the context of communication and public opinion research, and has published on climate change, data analysis, and foreign policy.