Hi, I am Carolyn Fish. I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at Penn State. Broadly my dissertation research falls at the intersection of cartography and climate change communication. I study how we can effectively communicate climate change through maps. Maps are one of the primary ways in which scientists and the media both communicate climate change, albeit with different audiences. These visual devices are central to understanding the science and impacts of climate change as well as the potential mitigation strategies. Using interviews, content analysis, and experimental methods my dissertation research will illustrate how the media and scientists create and design maps that balance communication and scientific accuracy and what aspects of these maps prompt re-dissemination of these maps through social media. This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvment Grant, the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship, the Society of Woman Geographers Pruitt Fellowship, and the Cartography and Geographic Information Society doctoral scholarship

Carolyn FishPrior to my PhD, I was a cartographer for the Solutions Team at Esri in Redlands, CA, the makers of ArcGIS, from 2011 through 2014. At Esri, I developed basemap and thematic map content templates for specific user communities, designed point symbols for significant activities and incidents for emergency management, and collaborated with software developers to improve the functionality and capability of Esri’s software products.

Between 2008 and 2010, I was a master’s student at Michigan State University in the Department of Geography. My masters research focused on evaluating map readers’ abilities to see changes in animated maps. I concluded that most map readers often have difficulty detecting changes in animated maps and despite missing many important changes, called change blindness, readers often fail to even realize their own failures.

My general research interests include map design, animated mapping, renewable energy mapping, and climate change communication.