Faculty spotlight: Kathryn Lambrecht

We are excited to highlight one of our exceptional faculty members, Dr. Kathryn Lambrecht! Kat is an Assistant Professor at the ASU School of Applied Professional Studies, specializing in extreme weather communications. Before joining ASU, Kat finished her doctorate in rhetoric and composition at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Communication about extreme weather is crucial for municipalities, especially as they grapple with emerging weather extremes and ensure community safety. Extreme heat poses a significant challenge in Arizona, with 645 heat-related deaths reported in Maricopa County in 2023. As Project Cities prepared for its fall 2022 semester, the City of Peoria sought to enhance its communications about heat safety, particularly as the city geared up for the upcoming heat season. With the guidance of Dr. Lambrecht, students from TWC 401/501 Fundamentals of Technical Communication collaborated with Peoria’s Office of Emergency Management. Their efforts led to a comprehensive review of existing communications, identification of relevant Peoria audiences, and the development of strategies and recommendations for new communications. The student findings and final report, a testament to their hard work and dedication, can be found at https://links.asu.edu/PCPeoriaExtremeHeat22F_Report.

TWC 401/501 Students attend fall 2022 Peoria community kickoff

Question: How did you get your start in technical communications? What drove you to focusing on extreme weather communications?

Answer: Dr. Lambrecht refers to her interest in technical communication as a “happy accident,” going back to when she was working on her PhD in Reno. She had been connected with the National Weather Service through the Desert Research Institute as an intern to develop social media messaging related to extreme weather risks and behavioral change. 

Question: Were there any standout experiences with the program, maybe with specific students on one of the reports, or group of students work that really blew you away?

Answer: “I’ve been so impressed with my students' attention to detail and wanting to work with a community. I think they’re very passionate about these projects and working with an actual client has brought up a lot of interesting discussions in class. There aren’t really straight answers, but the students have tapped into their creative power to address them.”

Question: What does sustainability mean to you and how does it influence your work with communities?

Answer: For Kat, sustainability is about making sure there is a future for everyone, “...sustainability impacts my work with heat by creating a safer community in the long term for people and their communities.”

Project Cities is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N) and is administered by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and the Sustainable Cities Network. Stay up to date with Project Cities and the Sustainable Cities Network by following us on social media or subscribing to our newsletter.