Associate Professor | Canada Research Chair

Photo of Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher.PhD, North Carolina State University
MA (Co-op), University of Waterloo
BA (Hons), University of Waterloo

Extension: 49135
Office: HH 146


I am a Canada Research Chair in Science, Health, and Technology Communication at the University of Waterloo.

Before coming to Waterloo as a faculty member, I was an Assistant Professor of Communication, Networks, and Innovation in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. I hold a Ph.D. (2014) in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media from North Carolina State University and my triple award-winning dissertation was supervised by Carolyn R. Miller. I also hold a B.A. in English Literature and Rhetoric and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Communication Design from Waterloo.

I am a member of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) at Waterloo. In addition to my duties at Waterloo, I am a General Co-Editor, with Carolyn R. Miller, at Genre Across Borders. Previously I served as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine (ARSTM) and as President of ARSTM.

My research focuses on how communication shapes the processes of science and technology and how diverse audiences engage in science and technology through various communication strategies and modalities. I bring expertise about effective communication strategies in multidisciplinary teams and collaborations, communication about risk, public communication about science and technology, issues around dis/misinformation, and more. Please send me an email if you’d like to chat about prospective collaborations.

Selected Publications

See my website for a full list on my CV.


On Expertise: Cultivating Character, Goodwill, and Practical Wisdom. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2022.

Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2019.

Emerging Genres in New Media Environments. Co-edited with Carolyn R. Miller. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Articles and Chapters

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (anticipated 2023). Metaphorology. In D. M. Gross, S. Mailloux, & L. Mao (Eds.), Cambridge History of Rhetoric: Volume V 1900—. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (anticipated 2022). The Proleptic Suite. In J. Fahnestock & R. A. Harris (Eds.), Routledge Handbook on Language and Persuasion. New York, NY: Routledge.

Mehlenbacher, B., & Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2022). Peer Review in Scientific Publishing. In C. Hanganu-Bresch, M. Zerbe, G. Cutrufello, & S. Maci (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Communication. New York, NY: Routledge.

Mehlenbacher, B. & Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2021). The Rhetoric of Big Data: Collecting, Interpreting, and Representing in the Age of Datafication. POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention.

Mehlenbacher, A. R., & Mehlenbacher, B. (2020). Rogue Rhetorical Actors: Scientists and the Social Action of Tweeting. In S. Auken & C. Sunesen (Eds.), Genres of the Climate Debate (pp. 177–191). Berlin, Germany: Mouton–De Gruyter.

Mehlenbacher, A. R., & Mehlenbacher, B. (2019). The case of the scientific research article and lessons concerning genre change online. In M. J. Luzón & C. Pérez-Llantada (Eds.), Science Communication on the InternetOld Genres Meet New Genres (pp. 41–57). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2019). Registered Reports: An Emerging Scientific Research Article Genre. Written Communication, 36(1) 38–67.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. & Maddalena, K. (2019). Networks, Genres, and Complex Wholes: Citizen Science and How We Act Together Through Typified Text. In R.A. Harris (Ed.). Landmark Essays on the Rhetoric of Science: Issues and Methods. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. *Reprint of “Networks, Genres, and Complex Wholes” (2016) in the Canadian Journal of Communication.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. & Miller, C. R. (2018). Intersections: Scientific and Parascientific Communication on the Internet. In R.A. Harris (Ed.). Landmark Essays on the Rhetoric of Science: Case Studies (pp. 239–260), 2nd edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. *Reprint of “Intersections” (2016) in A. Gross & J. Buehl (Eds.), Science and the Internet: Communicating Knowledge in a Digital Age.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2017). Rhetorical Figures as Argument Schemes—The Proleptic Suite. Argument & Computation, 8(3), 233–252.

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2017). Crowdfunding Science: Exigencies and Strategies in an Emerging Genre of Science Communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 127–144.

Mehlenbacher, A. R., & Harris, R. A. (2017). A Figurative Mind: Gertrude Buck's The Metaphor as a Nexus in Cognitive Metaphor Theory.  Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 35(1), 75–109.

Selected Fellowships & Awards

  • 2021-2026 Canada Research Chair Tier 2 SSHRC
  • 2021 Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
  • 2020-2021 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Science Communication Skills Grant
  • 2020-2022 Robert Harding & Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences grant
  • 2020 Fellows’ Early Career Award from the Rhetoric Society of America
  • 2020 Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo
  • 2018-2022 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant
  • 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media program at North Carolina State University
  • 2017-2022 Early Researcher Award (ERA) from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science
  • 2017 Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo
  • 2015 Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical NCTE/CCCC Communication
  • 2015 Joan Pavelich Award for Best Dissertation Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing
  • 2014 College of Humanities and Social Sciences North Carolina State University Dissertation Award

Current Research

My research program examines communication about climate change and action. This work builds on my previous research in rhetorical studies of science, science communication, and environmental communication to investigate how climate change and climate action are discussed and deliberated upon.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

  • History and theory of rhetoric (especially related to style, memory, or rhetoric and virtue ethics)
  • Rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine (especially related to nuclear energy, disaster, risk society, dis/misinformation, climate change, expertise, environmental communication).
  • Rhetorical genre studies (especially as related to science communication, technical communication, engineering communication, emerging genres in new media environments)
University of Waterloo

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