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I’m currently a PhD Candidate in English/Rhetoric, focusing on the rhetoric of science policy. My degree program in the rhetoric of science policy is interdisciplinary, integrating research methods and approaches from rhetoric, scientific and environmental communication, and risk communication/ management, for the purpose of practicing alternative approaches to the development of sustainable and resilient coastal communities.

The rhetoric of science policy focuses on identifying the elements of persuasion and argumentation that exist in scientific contexts, in order to better understand and communicate the value and usefulness of science to non-scientists (“the public”) and decision makers. Rhetoric of science policy is inherently applied, meaning that it necessitates a solutions-driven approach; in my case, the development of decision-making strategies and frameworks for policymakers responsible for the viability of coastal communities’ economic, environmental, and social assets.

My research in this field focuses particularly on the factors, in addition to traditional cost-benefits analyses for determining policy options, that exist for residents of Broward County, Florida, an area extremely vulnerable to storm surge, sea level rise, and urban flooding. The case study of my dissertation examines the Southeast Florida Regional Compact’s effort (with federal support from NOAA of the Florida Coastal Management Program’s (FCMP) Section 309 Strategy) to develop climate change adaptation policies; what are being called “Adaptation Action Areas.” The purpose of my case study is to provide a unique tool for understanding and analyzing the decision-making process, and subsequently, to provide recommendations about regional policy-making for the development of resilient and sustainable coastal communities in the US.

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