Sonia H. Stephens
Department of English / Texts and Technology Program
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
E-mail: sonias (at) knights.ucf.edu
- PhD in Texts and Technology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. (2012) Dissertation topic: Placing birds on a dynamic evolutionary map: Using digital tools to update the evolutionary metaphor of the “Tree of Life.”
- MS in Botany with specialization in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. (2003) Thesis topic: “Effects of light and nutrients on benthic stream algal community composition in a Hawaiian stream.”
- BS in Biology with distinction, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. (1999)
present: Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Researching and teaching scientific and technical communication in digital and visual media, narrative information visualization, visual risk communication, user evaluation of interactive tools, and digital humanities.
Aug. 2014–Aug 2015: Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Teaching courses in technical communication, literature of science, and digital humanities.
Aug. 2013-Aug. 2014: Postdoctoral Researcher, CHAMPS Lab, Dept. of Civil, Environmental & Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Evaluated the design and usability of interactive science communication tools, with an emphasis on communicating about climate change and sea level rise. Conducted research on decision support tools and the communication of risk and uncertainty to decision-makers. Served as UCF liaison to the Florida Climate Institute.
May 2013-Aug. 2013: Science Communicator, CHAMPS Lab, Dept. of Civil, Environmental & Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
As part of the Coastal Hydroscience Analysis, Modeling & Predictive Simulations Lab, researched, developed, and implemented science communication strategies and tools.
January 2013-Aug. 2013: Adjunct Professor, Dept. of English, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Taught Technical Publication and Project Management (page and document design, application to client-based projects), Digital Rhetoric and the Modern Dialectic (rhetoric and communication in online media).
May 2012-May 2013: Technical Writer and Editor (self-employed), Orlando, FL
Assisted clients with editing and polishing professional documents, as well as image editing and graphic design of brochures and other promotional materials. Performed comprehensive editing, graphic design, and layout services for a client’s self-published book.
Aug. 2009-May 2012: Presidential Fellow and Instructor of Record, Dept. of English, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Taught two courses per semester. Courses included introductory English Composition (rhetorical context, critical evaluation of sources, writing research papers, and participation in discourse communities), Introduction to Technical Writing (technical and business writing genres, research proposals, and research reports), Literature of Science (history, philosophy, and politics of science and technology as explored through major works of non-fiction ), and Document Design and Project Management (development of a book-length project from idea to final published product ).
Jun. 2006-May 2007: Adjunct Professor and Professor, Dept. of Biology, Valencia Community College, Kissimmee, FL
As an adjunct professor, taught classes in Environmental Science and Introductory Biology (with lab) for life science majors. After one semester as an adjunct, hired as a full-time professor for the 2006-07 academic year, and taught Introductory Biology (with lab) for both life science majors and non-majors.
Jan. 2006-Aug. 2006: Monitoring Plan Specialist, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
As a contractor for the National Park Service (NPS), worked in a program to develop a plan to monitor natural resources in Pacific Island national parks. This was the third position with the NPS, and duties were a part-time continuation of the previous position (“monitoring plan contractor”, below) after moving to Orlando, FL. They included editing and formatting the overall monitoring plan, adding to the program’s set of ecological communication graphics, and assisting the principal investigators tasked with developing monitoring protocols in developing focused graphics for their areas of study.
Aug. 2004-Dec. 2005: Monitoring Plan Contractor, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Responsible for the overall drafting and editing of the Pacific Island parks’ monitoring plan. Duties included drafting and editing, keeping other program staff abreast of deadlines, soliciting peer-reviews of the plan by outside parties, alerting staff to current program needs, synthesizing information on park natural resources, and developing a wide-ranging set of communication graphics for presentations to outside parties.
Aug. 2003-Aug. 2004: Freshwater Biology Workgroup Facilitator, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Researched and prepared an assessment of freshwater resources within the parks, including both the physical resources (e.g., wetlands, streams) and associated organisms (birds, fish, plants, etc.). Duties included conducting literature reviews, managing information in online databases, interviewing NPS and non-NPS researchers and management staff, developing communication graphics, and writing a summary report.
- S. H. Stephens. (accepted 2016) “A narrative approach to interactive information visualization in the digital humanities classroom.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. Forthcoming.
- S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2017) “Evaluation of the design features of interactive sea-level rise viewers for risk communication.” Environmental Communication. 11(2): 248-262. DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2016.1167758
- D. E. DeLorme, D. Kidwell, S. C. Hagen, and S. H. Stephens. (2016) “Developing and managing transdisciplinary and transformative research on the coastal dynamics of sea level rise: Experiences and lessons learned.” Earth’s Future. 4: 194–209. DOI: 10.1002/2015EF000346.
- S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2015) “Evaluating the utility and communication effectiveness of an interactive sea level rise viewer through stakeholder engagement.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 29(3): 314-343. DOI: 10.1177/1050651915573963
- S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2014) “An analysis of the narrative-building features of interactive sea level rise viewers.” Science Communication. 36(6): 675-705. DOI: 10.1177/1075547014550371
- S. H. Stephens. (2014) “Communicating evolution with a Dynamic Evolutionary Map.” Journal of Science Communication. 13(1): A04.
- S. H. Stephens. (2012) “From tree to map: Using cognitive learning theory to suggest alternative ways to visualize macroevolution.” Evolution: Education and Outreach. 5(4): 603-618. DOI: 10.1007/s12052-012-0457-3
- S. H. Stephens. (2012) “Re-visioning the evolutionary tree: A map-based visualization for communicating evolution.” Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Professional Communication Conference, Orlando, FL. DOI: 10.1109/IPCC.2012.6408623.
- S. H. Stephens, A. M. D. Brasher and C. M. Smith. (2012) “Response of an algal assemblage to nutrient enrichment and shading in a Hawaiian stream.” Hydrobiologia. 683(1): 135-150. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-011-0947-2.
- J. D. Applen and S. Stephens. (2015) “Teaching scientific literacy in the humanities.” University of Central Florida Faculty Focus, 14(2): 14-15.
- S. H. Stephens. (2011) Review: “Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer, The Art of Evolution.” Rhizomes 22: Summer 2011.
- S. H. Stephens. (2009) “The Platypus as a Postmodern Animal.” None of the Above: Assembling, Collaborating and Publishing in the Eternal Network. Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN.
- L. HaySmith, F. L. Klasner, S. H. Stephens and G. H. Dicus. (2005) Pacific Island Network Vital Signs Monitoring Plan. Natural Resource Report NPS/PACN/NRR-2006/003. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.
- S. H. Stephens. (2004) “Freshwater biology working group report.” In: Pacific Island Network Vital Signs monitoring plan: Phase III (draft) report. National Park Service, Pacific Island Network, Hawaii National Park, HI.
- S. H. Stephens and D. E. DeLorme, June 2016. “Making sea level rise risk research responsive to community needs.” Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Washington, DC.
- S. H. Stephens, May 2016. “Bird identification guides as interface: Transformation and continuity.” Rhetoric Society of America, Atlanta, GA.
- M. Shelton and S. Stephens, February 2016. “Connecting scientists to citizens regarding sea level rise.” Social Coast Forum, Charleston, SC.
- S. H. Stephens. July 2015. “User-centered design and agency in interactive data visualizations.” ProComm 2015 (IEEE Professional Communication Conference), Limerick, Ireland.
- S. H. Stephens. October 2014. “Understanding rhetoric in interactive information visualizations from the code up.” IEEE Professional Communication Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.
- S. H. Stephens. March 2014. “Building sea level rise narratives through interactive visualizations.” UNAVCO 2014 Science Workshop. Broomfield, CO. (invited talk)
- S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. March 2014. “Communicating coastal risks with interactive sea level rise viewers: A comparative analysis.” International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference. Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. October 2012. “Re-visioning the evolutionary tree: A map-based visualization for communicating evolution.” IEEE Professional Communication Conference, Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. October 2010. “Using photography and flagship species for conservation.” Florida Gulf Coast University Humanities and Sustainability Conference. Fort Myers, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. June 2010. “Strategies and tactics for environmental communication in the online realm.” Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Conference. Portland, OR.
- S. H. Stephens and C. M. Smith. October 2003. “Benthic stream diatom community dynamics in Hawaii.” The 17th North American Diatom Symposium. Islamorada, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. August 2003. “Effects of light and nutrients on periphyton community composition in a Hawaiian stream.” The 57th Annual Meeting of the Phycological Society of America. Gleneden Beach, OR.
- S. H. Stephens. July 2015. “Interactive data visualization for risk assessment: Can there be too much user agency?” SIGDOC 2015, Limerick, Ireland.
- S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. December 2013. “Building stories about sea level rise through interactive visualizations.” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA.
- S. H. Stephens, S. C. Hagen, et al. October 2013. “The coastal dynamics of sea level rise: A case study in the northern Gulf of Mexico.” 2013 Sea Level Rise Summit, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. March 2012. “From tree to map: Using digital tools to update metaphors for evolution.” National Association for Research in Science Teaching Conference. Indianapolis, IN.
- S. H. Stephens. March 2011. “Images as scientific representations of reality: Global climate change and the ‘Hockey Stick’ controversy.” University of Central Florida Graduate Research Forum. Orlando, FL.
Presentations as Co-Author
- D. E. DeLorme, S. C. Hagen, Dave M. Kidwell and S. H. Stephens. December 2015. “Practical tips and techniques on the process of transdisciplinary sea level rise research.” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2015, San Francisco, CA.
- D. E. DeLorme, S. C. Hagen and S. H. Stephens. December 2013. “Strategies for sharing scientific research on sea level rise: Suggestions from stakeholder focus groups.” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA.
- S. C. Hagen, S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme, D. Ruple and L. Graham. December 2013. “Increasing public access to scientific research through stakeholder involvement: Ecological effects of sea level rise in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA.
- S. H. Stephens. February 2016. “Dislocation and connection among scientists, communities, and sea level rise risks.” English Department Symposium, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. November 2015. “Interactive data visualization for risk assessment: Can there be too much user agency?” Texts and Technology Research Symposium, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. May 2015. “Using the MIRA-CDSLR.” Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice Workshop, St. Petersburg, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. November 2014. “Using interactive sea-level rise viewers to communicate coastal risks.” NOAA Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities workshop, Daytona Beach, FL. (invited talk)
- S. H. Stephens. October 2014. “Narrative structure in interactive visualizations: The case of sea level rise viewers.” Texts and Technology Research Colloquium, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL. (invited colloquium)
- S. H. Stephens. April 2012. “Seed or spore? Reimagining our metaphors for the writing process.” 1st Annual English Department Symposium, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. November 2010. “Ethics and rhetoric of using photography for conservation.” Fostering Sustainability Education Through Film and Photography Panel Presentation. Philosophy Department, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL.
- S. H. Stephens. “Conceptual models for monitoring plans.” February 2004. PACN Monitoring Plan Coordination Meeting. Honolulu, HI.
Honors & Awards
- University of Central Florida 2015-2016 In-House Research Award (Feb. 2016).
- Alabama Coastal Foundation Coastal Partner Award (with D. DeLorme & S. Hagen, Nov. 2015).
- University of Central Florida College of Arts and Humanities 2012-13 Outstanding Dissertation Award (Feb. 2013).
- University of Central Florida College of Arts and Humanities 2011-12 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching (Feb. 2012).
- University of Central Florida Presidential Graduate Fellowship (Aug. 2008).
- ACM Special Interest Group on Design of Communication
- American Geophysical Union
- Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society
- Florida Climate Institute
- Rhetoric Society of America
- Reviewer, Hydrobiologia, Science Communication, Regional Environmental Change
- Communications Intern, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY (2010)
- Web Intern, Orlando Wetlands Park, Orlando, FL (2009)
- Newsletter Editor, Central Florida Sierra Club, Maitland, FL (2007-2011)
- Brochure designer, Orange Audubon Society, Orlando, FL (2008-2009)
- Writing assistant for the Nature Conservancy, Kissimmee, FL (2006)