IBACS Graduate Fellow Spotlight

Adam Rainear

Adam M. Rainear is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut.  Originally from New Jersey, Adam earned his B.S. in Meteorology and B.A. in Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University, and became interested in the social science, communication, and human behavior associated with weather risk.  In his senior year at Rutgers, Adam completed an honors thesis titled “Communicating Climate Change: The Role of Personal Experience and Place Attachment,” which examined which types of climate change communication are most effective through experimental manipulations of messages containing varying levels of place attachment.  In May 2016, Adam completed his M.A. in Communication from UConn.

In summer 2017, Adam was selected to be a summer fellow for the Connecticut Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS).  His research project is focused on using Virtual Reality (VR) to educate and communicate messages about risks and crises.  Specifically, his proposal is interested in using VR to understand human behavior while immersed in a flood risk simulation, since ethical and safety reasons prevent naturalistic study of this type of risk-behavior.  This anticipated-dissertation project is currently under review for a developmental grant, and additional external grant applications are projected related to this project.

Adam’s other current research projects examine using new technology, such as robots and social media, to effectively communicate risky and science-related messages, in addition to other projects which examine social media as a risk communication tool.  Adam’s research has been published in numerous high-impact journals, such as Computers in Human Behavior, Weather, Climate, & Society, Communication Research Reports, and the Journal of Emergency Management, and was recently featured in USA Today.