Welcome! I am an assistant professor specializing in rhetorical theory in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. I am the author of Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet (The Ohio State University Press, 2019). An open access copy (CC BY-NC-ND license) is freely available here. I am also the co-editor of Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (Palgrave, 2017).
I am a Member of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine, a Member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Genre Research at the University of Copenhagen, and the Co-General Editor, Genre Across Borders. Before joining the University of Waterloo, I was an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) of Communication, Networks, and Innovation at Purdue University.
My current research on expertise is funded through an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (2017-2022), and an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2018-2022). Broadly, my research examines how science communication is changing with new—especially networked—technologies and also with different communities becoming involved in scientific research and policy-making. My research is especially concerned with public participation in scientific research (citizen science); expertise and ethos in science, technology, and medicine; and expertise and expert networks; and rhetorics of environment, health, and safety in risk assessment.
I live in the Waterloo Region where my husband, Dr. Brad Mehlenbacher, and I enjoy “a house full of books, and a garden of flowers” (borrowing from Andrew Lang's 1884 Ballade of True Wisdom).