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Caleb O’Brien


Caleb O’Brien is a PhD Candidate in Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and the Environment, where he studies how communities around the United States are responding to climate change as part of a National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning project. 

Caleb studied Philosophy–Neuroscience–Psychology as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. Post graduation, he served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and Panama, where he worked with beekeepers and coffee farmers on sustainable agribusiness projects. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he focused on science writing and investigative reporting, Caleb returned to Paraguay on a yearlong reporting fellowship. His work there explored stories at the intersection of society, science, and the environment. Between bouts in academia and stints in service, Caleb has managed an organic orchard, worked as a freelance journalist, taught beekeeping in Nigeria, sold outdoor gear, mucked horse stalls, and collaborated with drone researchers in Peru.

Caleb is deeply interested in the linkages among science, society, and the environment, and in the ways communication can enhance or corrode those connections.


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Environmental justice
  • Ecological restoration
  • Systems thinking
  • Social science theory
  • Global citizenship