Melissa Hill

Mentor: Dr. Leslie Thiele
College of Political Science
"Resource conservation and political science are the places where my passions lie and the problems of the world arise. I joined the Junior Fellow's Program in political science to research with Professor Thiele about sustainability and explore what questions engaged me. The USP was the followup to the initial research and an opportunity to explore questions of my own."


Natural Resource Conservation



Research Interests

  • Natural Resources
  • Social Perceptions
  • Political Engagement

Academic Awards

  • Dean's List 2012-2014
  • Junior Fellow in the Department of Political Science (Fall 2014)
  • Xi Sigma Pi, Forestry Honor Society (Spring 2015 to present)


  • UF Rock Climbing Club
  • CRU @ UF
  • Greenhouse Church


  • Alachua Conservation Trust
  • Catholic Worker House

Hobbies and Interests

  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking and Camping
  • The Oh Hello's
  • Religion

Research Description

Beauty or the Beast? Engaging the Caring Middle
I will investigate whether conservation campaigns are likely to have a greater impact through the use of positive and pristine images of the environment, or through negative and degraded images of the environment, such as those favored by so-called “doom and gloom” environmentalists. The hypothesis to be tested is that the use of positive images results in a more favorable viewer perception of the campaign’s merit. The hypothesis will be tested by means of a nationally representative survey of potential voters. University Scholarship funds would be employed to construct and implement the survey instrument. The survey instrument and project methodology would be based on the related candidate-based work of Barrett and Barrington (2005).