Urooj Raja
Ph.D. Student
Environmental Studies


BA, History with honors, Princeton University
MA, Environmental Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Major Field/Concentration

Psychological distance and climate change communication, Virtual reality

Research Interests

  • Behavior change
  • Environmental sociology
  • Human dimensions of climate change
  • Social psychology


Urooj Raja is a doctoral candidate in environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where her dissertation research examines the potential of emerging technology like virtual reality to shrink psychological distance to ‘wicked’ environmental problems, chief among them climate change. Urooj has worked as a humanitarian adviser at the United Nations, as an Environmental Grantmaking Fellow at the Solutions Project, as a Research Analyst and Multimedia Fellow at Climate Central and did a stint at the Pew Research Center and the U.S House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Urooj also served as an instructor in Columbia University’s Community Impact initiative, the Harlem Children’s Zone and also as a staffer for a New York State Assembly member. 

She is the recipient of a 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) and more recently was awarded a 2020 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Thriving Earth Exchange Fellowship. She has also been awarded fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the World Bank, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, and the Environmental Grantmakers' Association (EGA).

Recently she was one of 10 recipients nationwide awarded the Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Urooj’s research has also been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Hill and used by The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). 

Urooj has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder and has a Bachelor with honors from Princeton University. She is originally from Bronx, NY and is an avid chess player and Yankees fan.