Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo, in Canada. Mehlenbacher is also an Ontario Early Researcher Award holder (2017-2022), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant holder (2018-2022), and the winner of the 2020 Rhetoric Society of America Fellows’ Early Career Award. Previously she was an Assistant Professor of Communication, Networks, and Innovation in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Mehlenbacher is a General Co-Editor, with Carolyn R. Miller, at Genre Across Borders and is also a past-President of The Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine (2018-2019) and current Member of the Board of Directors for ARSTM (2019-present).
Mehlenbacher is a rhetorical scholar whose research examines how science communication is changing with new–especially networked–technologies and also with different communities, such as citizen scientists, becoming involved in scientific research. The objective of this research is to understand how different systems interact to include or exclude different stakeholders. Her research is especially concerned with genres of science communication, expertise and expert networks in multidisciplinary research teams, citizen science, ethos in grassroots scientific research, and biohacking and hacker participation in scientific research. Broadly, her research engages science communication, environmental communication, risk communication, science studies, and rhetoric of science, technology and medicine.
Mehlenbacher is the author of Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet (The Ohio State UP, 2019) and co-editor, with Carolyn R. Miller, of Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (Palgrave, 2017). She has published over 30 papers and proceedings, including in the journals Rhetorica, Argument & Computation, Communication Monographs, Written Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Social Epistemology, Environmental Communication, First Monday, Rhetor, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Enculturation, and POROI. In addition to her scholarly publishing, Mehlenbacher has been a technical writer for Blackberry and a science writer for the Public Library of Science (PloS) Citizen Sci blog, Scistarter.com, and Discover Magazine's Citizen Science Salon.
Mehlenbacher earned her Ph.D. (2014) in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (a joint program between the departments of English and Communication) at North Carolina State University, where she studied citizen engagement with technoscientific regulatory processes and crisis response. Her triple award-winning dissertation, directed by Carolyn R. Miller, explores how citizen scientists are using new genres of science communication to secure funding and support for their projects and disseminate results. This worked earned her a 2015 NCTE/CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication, the 2015 Joan Pavelich Award for the Best Dissertation from the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW), and the North Carolina State University 2013-2014 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dissertation Award.
In 2018, Mehlenbacher won the CRDM Distinguished Alumni Award.