Rahul Mitra (PhD, Purdue University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, who leads the Resilient Institutions and Sustainable Environments Lab. His research examines how organizations and communities enact environmental sustainability. Specific topics of study include natural resource management, sustainability work norms and practices, corporate social responsibility impacts, and meaning-making around careers and work. Dr. Mitra leads the Resilient Institutions and Sustainable Environments (RISE) Lab at WSU, which presently comprises of five research teams examining issues ranging from entrepreneurial ecosystems for urban resilience, to sense-making around water access among under-served communities. His work is at the intersection of the social sciences, humanities, and arts, and typically employs community-based participatory approaches, ethnographic fieldwork, and creative multi-media design thinking. In 2018, he was awarded the Linda L. Putnam Early Career Award by the International Communication Association, which honors a scholar who “has made a significant contribution to the field of organizational communication and shows promise for continued development.” His research has received several awards and obtained funding from the Waterhouse Family Institute, National Communication Association, Wayne State University (WSU) President’s Research Enhancement Program (Arts & Humanities), WSU Humanities Center, and WSU College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. Till date, he has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and his co-edited book Movements in Organizational Communication: Current Issues and Future Directions (Routledge) will appear in print in 2019. He can also be found at, ResearchgateGoogle-Scholar, and on twitter @rahulmitra.

Dorothy Feltner is a second-year Ph.D. student, with a B.S. in Physical Geography at Northern Michigan University, and Masters in Sustainable Management with the University of Wisconsin Superior. While completing her M.S., she moved to Hazard, KY to serve the rural community there as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, performing capacity building services related to food security. After her term of service in AmeriCorps, she decided to serve a second term as a VISTA in Albion, MI and aided in the formation of a small non-profit that catalyzed community gardening on vacant lots. Her research interests include organizational communication and sustainability, and she is part of a R.IS.E. Lab research team studying entrepreneurial ecosystems

William P. Cooper (M.A. Communication, WSU) serves as a Consultant with the TREE Lab.  His research interests include the intersection of communication with religion and spirituality; the environment; and gentrification. He currently works as a Retirement Plan Education Specialist for an investment company while he prepares for doctoral studies.



Liz Pandzich is a Ph.D. student, with an emphasis on organizational communication. Currently her studies focus on stereotypes within the workplace, and specifically how popular culture and media may play a role in perpetuating these stereotypes. She’s also working on a group research project studying the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit, and how various organizations play a role in developing burgeoning businesses in the region.