As an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, Joanna Krajewski came up with an idea for an environmental superhero character.
“Water Woman” is her name.
“My short-term goal is to see Water Woman be used in a classroom setting. That way we can study if she really is a helpful tool,” said Krajewski, now a professor in the Communication Department at Flagler College.
Krajewski has been concerned about the global water crisis for years. She studied water use in Haiti while earning her master’s degree in public health at the University of Iowa. Her practicum was called, “Guarding Haiti’s water: Program reimplementation and formative evaluation of Gadyen Dlo.”
She was a teaching assistant in India for a course on water resources and sustainability from November 2011 to January 2012.
In 2017, Krajewski earned a doctorate degree focusing on environmental communication from the University of Iowa. Her dissertation was entitled, “Media, influence, & agriculture: Understanding the clashing communication about Iowa’s water quality crisis.”
She said she hopes to turn Water Woman into a way to educate children about the importance of water conservation and related issues. She said:
I would eventually like to see her turn into a non-profit and ultimately be used as a female figure to educate children everywhere.
Krajewski joined Flagler College in August 2017. A decade earlier, she received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.
She then moved to Denver, Colorado and held various jobs working for environmental non-profits, attorney offices, marketing teams, and finally moved into the medical field as a medical coordinator, where she discovered her passion for public health.
Krajewski returned to the University of Iowa to earn a master’s degree and became close friends with one of her professors, who asked her to apply for her doctorate program. Krajewski receive her Ph.D. in mass communication with an emphasis on environmental risk communication.
Krajewski has quickly become a popular professor at Flagler College. Lindsay Giliam, a junior who is studying strategic communication, called her a “joy.” She said:
Whenever I see a communication class listed that I still need to take, I look for her name first. If she is available to teach the course, I’ll work my schedule around her. She encourages me, and she also pushes me to be the best that I can both professionally and personally. Dr. Krajewski makes me excited about going into my desired field and is a factor of reassurance that I am heading down the right path.
Giliam works closely with Dr. Krajewski as an intern with the Dow Advantage program.
“Dow Advantage is a student-run Public Relations firm that works with different clients in the St. Augustine community, helping them with any marketing or public relations related services that they may need,” says Callie McCleary, another one of Krajewski’s students who is also a member of the program.
“Dr. Krajewski’s role in Dow is our faculty adviser. She is intelligent and always encourages us to do one greater than our initial thought/idea. She pushes us to be the most effective in our roles,” Giliam says.
Dow Advantage is now managing several projects, including the Water Woman idea.
Another priority for Dow Advantage is Communication Week, the Communication Department’s biggest annual event. The department brings in communication professionals to talk to students. The event is set for March 11 to March 14. Most events will be held at Gamache-Koger Theatre at Ringhaver Student Center.
Krajewski is director of the Communication Department’s strategic communication program and is also an adviser to many students majoring in strategic communication.
“Dr. Krajewski is a laid-back adviser, willing to hear everyone’s ideas before coming up with a decision for a project,” McCleary says. “She trusts all of us to be able to handle the work that comes our way, and challenges us while offering as much advice as she can. In just a few words, I would describe Dr. Krajewski as intelligent, open-minded, and very approachable.”
Krajewski’s lively personality and dedication to her work has made her popular among students. Some hang around Pollard Hall just to speak with her after class.
When asked to describe Krajewski in one word, Giliam says she is “powerful.”
“I strongly believe that she can do absolutely anything and everything that she puts her mind to,” Giliam says.
Story by Brenna DeBlasio. Posted by Tracey Eaton.