Supervisor: Dr. Rima Wilkes
Committee Members: Dr. Candis Callison (Journalism), Dr. Evan Wood (Medicine)


Bud Osborn Award for Excellence in Knowledge Translation (2014)
CIHR Health Communications Research Award (2011-2013)


MA, Interdisciplinary Studies (Sociology, Journalism, Public Health), UBC (2014)
BA, Sociology, UBC (2010)

Research Interests

The crux of Michaela’s academic work is dedicated to understanding the relationship between organizations’ and academics’ use of news and social media to influence public and political discourses. Inspired by Dr. Rima Wilkes’ work on media coverage of indigenous resistance and social movements, her undergraduate degree (2010) was dedicated to examining the portrayal of social movement organizations in news media and how coverage and news routines changed as issues evolved and news media shifted from ‘traditional’ to digital news routines. Michaela later returned to UBC to complete her Master’s (2014) as an interdisciplinary studies student. In her Master’s she did course work in sociology, journalism, and public health, with supervision from Drs. Rima Wilkes (Sociology), Candis Callison (Journalism), and Evan Wood (Medicine). This time, her studies explored conventional approaches to advancing evidence-based illicit drug policy (e.g., news media engagement, meetings with policymakers) and whether/how digital communication tools (e.g., email, social media) could enhance those efforts.

Current Area of Work

Since 2007, Michaela has been working as a communications and fundraising consultant to tiny grassroots organizations, the United Nations, and everything in between. Between 2007 and 2015, she spent time in-house for one of the world’s top addiction and drug policy research groups. There, she specialized in “knowledge translation” or “KT” an effort to make the best available research accessible and useful to health care providers, policymakers, and advocates leading policy development, clinical practice, and public discourse. At that time her work focused on working with academics and scientists to improve stakeholder engagement with research on illegal drug use, addiction, sex work, and HIV treatment and prevention. Today, she works on behalf of a range of clients – academics, NGOs, advocates, artists, and various others – to develop, launch, and sustain public education and advocacy efforts dedicated to improving social, economic, and environmental conditions in and beyond Vancouver.