Writer. Teacher. Collaborator.

Dr. Catalina M. de Onís studies and teaches environmental and energy rhetorics, Latina/o/x communication, Puerto Rican studies, de/coloniality, instructional and applied communication, reproductive justice, and rhetorical field methods. One of her essays on Puerto Rico and the Hurricane María aftermath was published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research and received the 2019 Bill Eadie top scholarly article award for the National Communication Association’s Applied Communication Division. She also received the 2015 Feminist Scholar of the Year award for her article on reproductive justice, borders, and translation in Women’s Studies in Communication.

Dr. Onís has published her research in additional journals, including Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, Women & Language, Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order, and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report, as well as in several edited collections, including Racial Ecologies (University of Washington Press) and the Routledge Companion to Motherhood. Her research on energy colonialism and alternatives to extractivism composes the final chapter in the open-access online book: Energy Democracy: A Research Agenda. Dr. Onís also is a contributing member of the Iniciativa de Eco Desarrollo de Bahía de Jobos, a grassroots group in Salinas, Puerto Rico, and has focused on supporting community solar power capacity building and infrastructure for energy and climate justice. As part of her coalitional contributions, she is co-producing a documentary about grassroots solar energy communication. The film, “El poder del pueblo: testimonios de una lucha colectiva por la vida y el medioambiente,” is scheduled for release in early 2021. Related to this film, Dr. Onís co-authored a Spanish-language book titled: “¡Ustedes tienen que limpiar las cenizas e irse de Puerto Rico para siempre!:” la lucha por la justicia ambiental, climática y energética como trasfondo del verano de Revolución Boricua 2019 (Editora Educación Emergente). This text addresses long-time environmental, climate, and energy struggles in Puerto Rico and their connections to the mass mobilizations on Puerto Rico’s largest island in summer 2019. Dr. Onís also has a forthcoming book, published by University of California Press, titled: Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico. 

In 2020, she led a co-authored grant proposal that was awarded $125,000 by JustFund to remediate coal-ash water pollution and to advance community-rooftop solar.  


PhD, Indiana University, 2017
MA, University of Montana, 2011
BS, Northwestern University, 2009

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