Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism and The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center
University of Maine
What problem/s are you working to solve?
My work focuses on the problems that occur when university researchers and communities work together to solve problems. Through my research and involvement in SSI, I’d like to find better ways for universities and stakeholders to identify problems and solutions and work together to develop and implement those solutions.
What progress are you making toward solutions?
We are gaining a better understanding of differences and similarities in how communities and researchers conceptualize problems, solutions, and appropriate strategies for collaborating. For example, we are learning that stakeholders and researchers often differ in how they conceptualize sustainability problems. We are also learning how important it is for researchers to understand the ways that stakeholders and communities would like to partner with us.
How could your findings contribute to a more sustainable future in Maine and beyond?
A sustainable future depends on people working together to come up with innovative strategies for addressing key challenges. Everything we’re learning feeds into an understanding of how we can work together more effectively to meet the sustainability challenges we face.
Why did you decide to join SSI?
I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to work together with researchers and communities who brought very different perspectives, skills, and interests together to shape a better future.
What’s the best part about collaborating on SSI research projects?
Meeting all the wonderful people I’ve encountered through SSI and learning so many new things. It’s been a truly deep and exciting learning experience!
Where’s your favorite place in Maine?
Seawall in Acadia National Park. What an incredible place!
What’s your ultimate Maine experience?
Kayaking to an island in the middle of the lake, jumping in the water and swimming, and gathering wild blueberries afterward!
Mud season survival strategy?
Bean boots. Yikes. Never ever thought I’d own a pair of those before I moved here!
What sustains you?
Community, friendship, music, food, great books. And, of course, solving problems.
Additional information about Laura and her team