Laura Rickard

Laura N. Rickard
Visiting Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

108B Marshall Hall
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-6908/470-6636



  • B.A., 2004, Brown University (Environmental Studies)
  • M.S., 2008, Cornell University (Communication)
  • Ph.D., 2012, Cornell University (Communication)

Research Interests

Whether focusing on how audiences seek information, perceive risk, communicate about scientific issues, or attribute responsibility, my work has broad application to organizational risk and environmental management. Drawing from sociology, social psychology, and natural resource management, my research—like the fields of communication and environmental studies—is highly interdisciplinary. I utilize both quantitative and qualitative methods, such as surveys, experiments, and interviews, to explore complex, applied communication questions, often with policy implications. My current research focuses on attribution of responsibility for public safety in national parks, communicating about the intersection of ecological, human, and animal health in natural areas (i.e., the "One Health" concept), and strategic communication about global climate change. 

**Note to potential graduate students: If you are interested in working with me to pursue a graduate degree in the Environmental Studies department or the Graduate Program in Environmental Science (GPES), please contact me by phone or email and let me know how our research interests may align.  


  • Rickard, L. N., Yang, Z. J., Seo, M., & Harrison, T. M. (in press). The "I" in climate: The role of individual responsibility in systematic processing of climate change information. Global Environmental Change.

  • Yang, Z. Y., Seo, M., Rickard, L. N., & Harrison, T. M. (in press). Extending the Risk Information Seeking and Processing Model: Elaboration, policy support, and behavioral intention related to climate change mitigation. Journal of Risk Research.


  • Rickard, L. N., & Newman, S. B. (2014). Accidents and accountability: Perceptions of unintentional injury in three national parks. Leisure Sciences, 36(1), 88-106.

  • Rickard, L. N., & Stedman, R. C. (in press). From ranger talks to radio stations: The role of communication in sense of place. Journal of Leisure Research.

  • Yang, Z. Y., Rickard, L. N., Harrison, T. M., & Seo, M. (in press). Applying the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model to examine support for climate change mitigation policy. Science Communication.

  • Rickard, L. N. (in press). Perception of risk and the attribution of responsibility for accidents. Risk Analysis. 

  • Rickard, L. N. (in press). Mountains and handrails: Risk, meaning, and responsibility in three national parks. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture.

  • Rickard, L. N., McComas, K. A., Clarke, C. E., Stedman, R. C., & Decker, D. J. (2013). Exploring risk attenuation and crisis communication after a plague death in Grand Canyon.  Journal of Risk Research, 16(2), 145-167.

  • Rickard, L., McComas, K., & Newman, S. (2011). Visitor proficiency profiling at a national park. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 5(1), 62-82.

  • Rickard, L. N., Scherer, C. W., & Newman, S. B. (2011). Exploring attribution of responsibility for visitor safety in a U.S. national park. Health, Risk & Society, 13(6), 527-545.

  • Rickard, L. N. (2011). In backyards, on front lawns: Examining informal risk communication and communicators. Public Understanding of Science, 20(5), 642-657.

  • Yuan, Y. C., Rickard, L. N., Xia, L., & Scherer, C. (2011). The interplay between interpersonal and electronic resources in expertise seeking among co-located and distributed employees. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(3), 535-549.

  • Courses Taught

    EST 245: Foundations of Environmental Communication (Fall)

    EST 395: Public Communication of Science and Technology (Spring)

    EST 606: Environmental Risk Perception: Implications for Communication and Policy (Spring)

    EST 645: Mass Media and Environmental Affairs (Fall)


    Current Graduate Advisees

    Current Graduate Advisees

    Laura BartockLaura Bartock

    • Degree Sought: MS
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Rickard
    • Area of Study: Environmental Communication and Participatory Processes
    • Undergraduate Institute: University of Maryland Baltimore CO

    Web Link

    Graduate Research Topic
    I am interested in the relationship between science communication at a theoretical level and the practice of science communication in long-term ecological research sites (LTERs). In particular, this study proposes to examine if and how science communication practitioners at LTERs align with theoretically established models of science communication, such as the deficit model, the dialogue model, and the participation model. Do the practitioners fall neatly into categorical models, or do their practices blur the boundaries of established models? Do practitioners use more than one model through the course of their work? Are there other models that have not yet been identified?

    Favorite Quote
    Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    David HaaseDavid Haase

    • Degree Sought: MS in Environmental Studies
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Rickard and Moran

    Rachel HoppinsRachel Hoppins

    • Degree Sought: MPS
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Rickard and Folta
    • Area of Study: Environmental Communication and Participatory Processes
    • Undergraduate Institute: Kansas St University of Manhattan (Biology)

    Shannon KeibShannon Keib

    • Degree Sought: MPS in Environmental Studies
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Rickard

    Michael PetroniMichael Petroni

    • Degree Sought: MS in Environmental Studies
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Rickard


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