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Urooj Raja, PhD

Assistant Professor

  • 312-915-6827
  • School of Communication 203
  • Education

    PhD., Environmental Studies.  University of Colorado at Boulder, Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC), Environmental Studies Program

    M.A., Sociology focus Environmental Sociology.  University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Sociology.

    B.A., History (with honors), Certificate in South Asian Studies. Princeton University

    Dr. Raja is an Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change and is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose work centers on understanding society’s responses to complex socio-environmental problems. Ultimately, Dr. Raja seeks to advance knowledge on public engagement with climate change and to contribute to the mitigation of environmental and societal harm. To do so, she studies new mediums (Virtual Reality in particular) that show potential in capturing the public’s imagination. Her research further uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to understand how psychological distance—the perception that events, people, experiences, and places are physically or perceptually distant—relates to people’s engagement with climate change.

    Dr. Raja has also 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. She has also served as an instructor in Columbia University’s Community Impact initiative, the Harlem Children’s Zone and as a staffer for a New York State Assembly member.

    Dr. Raja has also been awarded fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), 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, the Environmental Grantmakers' Association (EGA), and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

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

    Originally from Bronx, NY, Dr. Raja is an avid chess player and Yankees fan.


    Twitter: @uroojra
    Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/uraja
    Researcher ORCid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1745-6827

    Specialty Area

    Advocacy & Social Change, Environmental Communication, Immediacy of Environmental Appeals, Environmental Social Psychology, Research Methods, Survey Design, Environmental Engagement, Environmental Philanthropy, Environmental Virtual Reality

    Courses Taught

    Communication 103— Business and Professional Speaking

    Communication 215— Ethics and Communication


    1. Raja, U. S., & Carrico, A. R. (2021). A qualitative exploration of individual experiences of environmental virtual reality through the lens of psychological distance. Environmental Communication, 15(5), 594-609. https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2020.1871052

    2. Carrico, A. R., Raja, U. S., Fraser, J., & Vandenbergh, M. P. (2018). Household and block level influences on residential fertilizer use. Landscape and Urban Planning, 178, 60-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.05.008

    3. Albaghli, R, Raja U, Anderson K, “An Innovative Approach to Better Cardiac Health Through Wearable Technology,” in the Proceedings for ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2017, 487-496. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3123024.3125506

    Recent Public Writing and Communication Products for Public Consumption

    2020               Our Country is on Fire—Will Political Leaders Help. The Hill. 25 August

    2020               The U.S. Electric Grid—Climate Change’s Least Talked About Victim. The Hill. 11 August

    2020               Documentary, The Changing Face of Iceland, Researcher for the Film