Welcome! I am an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Science, Health, and Technology Communication at the University of Waterloo. Before joining the faculty at Waterloo, I was an Assistant Professor at Purdue University. Much of my current research focuses on climate change communication and I am a member of the Waterloo Climate Institute and the Water Institute. In addition to my duties at Waterloo, I am a General Co-Editor, with Carolyn R. Miller, at Genre Across Borders. Further, I served as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine (ARSTM) from 2019-2021 and as President of ARSTM from 2018-2019.
My research focuses on how communication practices shape the processes of science and also how diverse audiences engage with scientific and technical subjects through various communication strategies and modalities. I am the author of On Expertise: Cultivating Character, Goodwill, and Practical Wisdom (Penn State University Press, 2022), Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet (The Ohio State University Press, 2019), and co-editor, with Carolyn R. Miller, of Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (Palgrave, 2017). In addition to my books, I've published numerous journal articles and chapters, which you can find on my CV. In my research, I draw from the interdisciplinary traditions of genre studies, which explore how typified forms of communication shape our interactions and how we produce knowledge, as well as studies in science communication; rhetorics of science, technology, and medicine; environmental communication; moral philosophy, particularly virtue ethics traditions; and science, technology, and society studies (STS).
Recently I have worked on two practical resources for training in science communication. Over the last several years I have led the development of a Science Communication Certificate for the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience). In collaboration with University of Waterloo Library and colleagues in science communication at UW, we created a resource for getting started in Science Communication.
My work has been funded through numerous agencies and programs, including the Canada Research Chair program, the Ontario Early Researcher Award (ERA) program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Bob Harding and Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Endowment Fund, and through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). My work has also won several major awards. In 2020, I was awarded the Fellows’ Early Career Award from the Rhetoric Society of America; in 2018, I won the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program at North Carolina State University; and in 2017 and 2020, I won an Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo, which are given for outstanding contributions in teaching and scholarship.
I live in the Waterloo Region with my husband, collaborator, and colleague, Dr. Brad Mehlenbacher.