The Department of Communication at CU Denver is delighted to welcome Dr. Catalina deOnís as an incoming Assistant Professor of Environmental Communication & Social Justice. Dr. Catalina M. de Onís

Until she joins our community this summer, Catalina is an Assistant Professor in Willamette University’s Department of Civic Communication and Media in Salem, Oregon, where she holds affiliations with Latin American Studies and American Ethnic Studies.

Catalina's teaching and research involve applied communication, environmental and health communication, energy colonialism, reproductive justice, coalitional politics, and instructional communication. 

Academic Work

Catalina’s book, Energy Islands: Metaphors of Extractivism, Power, and Justice in a Puerto Rico, is under contract with University of California Press, and her most recent co-authored essay on Puerto Rico, earthquakes, and energy transition struggles was published by the North American Congress on Latin America.

Her other essays appear in the Journal of Applied Communication ResearchCommunication Monographs, Communication Theory, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and CultureWomen’s Studies in Communication, and Women & Language, as well as in several edited collections, including Racial Ecologies (University of Washington Press).

She has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and service, including the 2015 Feminist Scholar of the Year Award from the Organization for Research on Women and Communication in recognition of her essay, “Lost in Translation: Challenging (White Monolingual Feminism’s) with Justicia Reproductiva,” published in Women’s Studies in Communication.

In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of undergraduates, she organizes La Chispaan environmental justice coalition on Willamette University’s campus and also advises a communal resource hub, called the SOAR Center, which is home to a food pantry, clothing share, and books and other school supplies.

She also is a contributing member of the Iniciativa de Eco Desarrollo de Bahía de Jobos (IDEBAJO), a grassroots group in Salinas, Puerto Rico, and has focused on supporting community solar power capacity building and infrastructure for energy and climate justice. Catalina and other collaborators are currently producing a Spanish-language documentary about these communal efforts; the film is titled Coquí Solar: El poder del pueblo (Coquí Solar: The Power of the People).

Catalina received her PhD in Communication from Indiana University in 2017 with a minor in Latino Studies. Her dissertation received the 2017 National Communication Association Environmental Communication Division's Top Dissertation Award.

We are thrilled she is joining our community.