Past PRDN Presenters

Ed Johnston

Augmented reality applications

Ed Johnston is a practice-based design researcher and educator working in a variety of contexts involving interactive design and three-dimensional digital technologies.  He is an Assistant Professor in the Robert Busch School of Design within the Michael Graves College at Kean University. Johnston has received numerous awards and grants including an Editor’s Choice Award at World Maker Faire New York, selection to the Lumen Prize 50, and multiple YAP grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, partly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.  He has recently received funding for his research team to document the current spaces of Liberty Hall Museum in New Jersey using 360-degree photography and AR technologies. He has also collaborated with researchers across disciplines to create visualizations and interactive environments.  This includes work with museum specialists at Liberty Hall Museum, microbiology researchers at the University of Michigan Center for Live-Cell Imaging, as well as medical animators and imaging specialists at the APDB at the National Library of Medicine, NIH.


Marty Otañez

Digital storytelling and health

Marty Otañez is a California-born cultural anthropologist and filmmaker. He is an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department, University of Colorado Denver. His research and creative work focus on digital storytelling to increase health equities, cannabis workers and strategies workers’ deploy to stay healthy, and corporate accountability and tobacco industry exploitative practices at the farm-level in Malawi and other tobacco growing developing countries. Beginning In 2016 through funds from CU Denver’s Office of Research Services, Otañez is studying cannabis cultures in Colorado and how individuals in grow houses, extraction facilities, retail shops, testing labs and dispensaries are staying healthy and avoiding job injuries. He completed coursework for the Cannabis Cultivation Certification Program at Denver-based Clover Leaf University (CLU) as part of his emerging cannabis culture visual research project. CLU is the nation’s only Cannabis University that is approved, regulated, and licensed by the Colorado Department of Education’s Private Occupational School Board. At the global level, Otañez examines tobacco industry practices that undermine livelihoods at the farm level in Argentina, Malawi and other tobacco growing developing countries. Otañez is working on a multi-country study of how tobacco leaf buyers and cigarette makers appropriate sustainable development and human rights discourses to conceal exploitative industry behavior in Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Argentina and Bolivia. His research and advocacy extends to digital storytelling. In 2009-16, he conducted over twelve digital storytelling workshops with over four dozen community members and administered university courses with digital storytelling assignments, creating over 325 digital stories. The purpose of Otañez’s digital storytelling research is to determine the ways people make sense of wellness issues and how digital stories can influence behavioral change, community development and public policy.


Lisa Mills

Documentary film and community research

Lisa Mills is an Associate Professor of Film, Documentary, at the University of Central Florida. She was born in Jacksonville and received her BA in English from Jacksonville University (1983), her MA in Mass Communication from the University of Central Florida (1999) and her PhD in Political Communication from the University of Florida (2005). Before entering academia in 1999 she was a broadcast journalist for 25 years at several television stations in the Southeast. Dr. Mills has directed or co-directed four feature length documentaries and 12 shorts.  Her films have won national awards and screened in film festivals all over the world.  The Committee, made in her 2011-12 Honors Documentary Workshop class is in national distribution with the American Public Television Exchange.  She serves as a board member of the Global Peace Film Festival and coordinates “Education Day” for the Sanford Love Your Shorts Film Festival.  When not making films or teaching, Dr. Mills enjoys reading, fabric and yarn crafting, and enjoying the Florida outdoors on her bicycle.


Mel Stanfill, Anastasia Salter, and Emily Johnson

Participatory game design

Mel Stanfill is an Assistant Professor of Texts and Technology and Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. Stanfill holds a PhD in Communications and Media from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Stanfill’s research interrogates how the relationship between media industries and their audiences in the Internet era is shaped by labor, intellectual property law, consumption, heteronormativity, and whiteness, and has appeared in venues such as New Media and SocietyCritical Studies in Media Communication, and Cinema Journal.

Anastasia Salter is an Associate Professor of Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. Her books include Toxic Geek Masculinity in Media (with Bridget Blodgett, Palgrave Macmillan 2017); Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Bloomsbury, 2017); What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books (University of Iowa Press, 2014); and Flash: Building the Interactive Web (with John Murray, MIT Press, 2014). She was part of the editorial team for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. She writes for ProfHacker, a blog on technology and pedagogy hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is a board member of the Electronic Literature Organization and co-chair of the Modern Language Association Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession. Her current work on digital culture focuses on platforms for marginalized voices.

Dr. Emily K. Johnson, a Visiting Assistant Professor, is a graduate of the Texts & Technology Ph.D. program at UCF. Her dissertation, “Making Waves, Mixing Colors, and Using Mirrors: The Self-regulated Learning Support Features and Procedural Rhetoric of Three Whole-Body Educational Games” incorporates research from several fields including game studies, literacy studies, education, embodied learning, and psychology to examine the ways that these types of games teach science content, scaffold self-regulated learning skills, and reinforce specific playing techniques and cultural and pedagogical values. Emily is a former middle school teacher who is passionate about research, technology, learning, and fun. Her research interests include: Educational Technology, Simulations and Learning, Self-Regulated Learning, Gameful Learning, Learning and Motivation, In Situ/Stealth Assessments, Self-Efficacy and Learning, and Oral History. Personal website:


Timothy Hawthorne

Participatory GIS

Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne is an assistant professor of geographic information systems (GIS) in the department of sociology at UCF.  He is a broadly trained human geographer with deep interests in citizen science GIS, community geography, qualitative GIS, and critical GIS. Most of Dr. Hawthorne’s research and teaching utilizes innovative methods integrating qualitative data and mixed methods into GIS analysis.  His published work focuses on: 1) accessibility to healthcare, social services, urban greenspaces, and higher education; 2) critical GIS and qualitative GIS including new methodologies such as “satisfaction-adjusted distance measures” to healthcare providers and “critical reflection mapping methodologies” for examining the socio-spatial perceptions of new research sites; and 3) geographic education, service learning, and international education. Dr. Hawthorne is Principal Investigator of the Citizen Science GIS Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Orlando and Belize along with Dr. Christy C. Visaggi of Georgia State University.  The REU Site is funded by a $374,480 grant from National Science Foundation (Award #1560015).  The REU integrates undergraduates from all disciplines into Dr. Hawthorne’s community-based, international research focused on social and environmental disparities in Hopkins, Belize.


Rachel Magee

Youth researching youth culture

Rachel M. Magee is a youth advocate and assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where her work in the School of Information Sciences is informed by her background as a public librarian. Her research and teaching are focused on youth, the ways they interact with technology, and what those practices mean for their engagement with information. Her current research engages youth in the scholarly research process from study design to data collection, analysis, and presentation, centering youth as authorities on their technology experiences. Magee has a PhD in Information Studies from Drexel University, a masters in information resources and library science from the University of Arizona, and a BS in Radio-Television-Film and a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin.


Preety Gadhoke

Digital storytelling and health

Preety Gadhoke, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Global Health and teaches public health courses for the Master of Public Health (MPH) and undergraduate allied health programs at St. John’s University, New York. She is Senior Fellow at the Vincentian Center for Church and Society and serves as a faculty advisor for the Ozanam and McNair Scholarship Programs. As a specialist on the social ecology of health, Dr. Gadhoke engages in interdisciplinary and collaborative research that is theoretically-grounded, using innovative mixed methodologies to inform culturally sensitive public health program planning and evaluation for marginalized, underserved populations. Her current research includes the application of photovoice and digital storytelling for youth resiliency within shifting urban food systems and transitional homelessness in New York City, access to mental health services among Shinnecock Indian youth, and communitybased health and nutrition in Ecuadorian Amazon Shuar communities. Prior to join the academy, Dr. Gadhoke worked in public and private sectors on public health and health care. Past research experience includes artisanal small-scale gold mining in Mozambique, social network analysis for vaccine introduction in Nigeria, and assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease among populations exposed to metals and heavy metals in Mexico.


Milena Milošević Micić

Cultural heritage preservation and economic empowerment

Milena Milošević Micić is Executive Director of the Homeland Museum of Knjazevac in Serbia. She has extensive experience in international partnerships and more than 15 years of professional work in the areas of museum studies and the presentation and preservation of cultural heritage. Her talk will focus on participatory research and design approaches to presenting traditional arts and crafts as a tool for the development of social entrepreneurship and the protection of intangible heritage, as well as for the social inclusion and economic empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable groups.