As a doctoral candidate in communication studies — specifically in the Community and Social Interaction area — she has strived to improve her department’s community, her field of expertise in environmental communication and the greater CU Boulder community.
“I am a proud CU Boulder student, who throughout my studies, has been eager to make the community and our campus beautiful and welcoming,” said Jo.
Her dedication to CU Boulder began in 2017 as secretary for the Communication Graduate Student Association (CGSA), and later as the association's disability and wellness chair. In 2019, she was elected the association’s co-president and has served as its social liaison for two terms.
“CGSA is an integral part of the communication department’s graduate student body. We advocate for student needs and serve as intermediaries between graduate students and faculty,” she said.
Jo has been an active member of several campus groups during her time as a PhD student and continues as a postdoc. She served as co-president and remains a science communication facilitator for Science Under the Dome at Fiske Planetarium. She is also a member of the campus Tree Care Advisory Committee and the Microplastics Working Group with the Inland Ocean Coalition. She was co-president of CU’s Colorado Ocean Coalition and still mentors undergraduate students within the organization.
Jo derives a great sense of accomplishment and CU pride from two particular campus projects — art murals and a campus field guide — both of which, she said, foster stronger connection between human and more-than-human communities.
For the first project, she helped create two public murals on campus. The Field Day mural — one of seven in a series facilitated by the Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts on campus — can be found on the glass entranceway of the SEEC building and depicts drawings of birds, bugs and plants from her collaborator, Robert Martin Bueller.
As Jo told CU Boulder Today, “I would hope that students, faculty, staff, everybody takes a chance to admire the murals, and try to find out a little bit more about the fauna and flora around them.”
She also helped create a campus field guide for the second project, featuring species relationships at CU Boulder. Launched on Earth Day 2020, the project encouraged then students and the broader community to engage with the outdoors during COVID-19 lockdowns. She also helped create educational videos and coloring books for kids to stay engaged during periods of isolation.
In all her work, Jo consistently prioritizes the well-being of her communities — whether through service, teaching, research, learning or art.