Headshot of Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher taken in 2021.

Welcome! I am a Canada Research Chair in Science, Health, and Technology Communication at the University of Waterloo. Before coming to Waterloo, 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. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media from North Carolina State University and my triple award-winning dissertation was supervised by Carolyn R. Miller. 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) from 2019-2021 and as President of ARSTM from 2018-2019.

My research focuses on how communication shapes the processes of science and technology and also 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.

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 on 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). 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 a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Science Communication Skills grant.

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.

Research Keywords: rhetorical theory, rhetoric, virtue ethics, communication, science communication, environmental communication, climate communication, risk communication rhetorical studies of science, technical communication, engineering communication, digital genres, genre theory, genre studies, expertise and expert status, and citizen science.

I live in the Waterloo Region with my spouse and collaborator, Dr. Brad Mehlenbacher. Previously I have lived in England and the United States.