Who We Are

Participatory Research and Design Network (PRDN) is an informal network made of scholars and practitioners who work in the area of participatory research and design (known by other names such as participatory action research, community-based participatory research, etc.). The group meets between once and four times a semester at the University of Central Florida, and pursues grants, conference presentations, and educational activities related to participatory research and design.



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.

Emily K. Johnson, a postdoctoral research associate coordinating the Games Research Lab, is a recent 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: https://ekjphd.wordpress.com/

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.

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.

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.

Natalie Underberg-Goode (PRDN Coordinator) is Associate Professor of Digital Media and Folklore in the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design (this will change to the Nicholson School of Communication and Media as of July 1, 2018), where she is currently serving as Graduate Program Coordinator for the Digital Media M.A. degree. Underberg-Goode is also director of the UCF Digital Ethnography Lab, as well as core faculty in the Texts & Technology Ph.D. program.  Her research examines the use of digital media to preserve and disseminate folklore and cultural heritage, with a focus on digital storytelling and participatory new media design and practice.  She is author (with Elayne Zorn) of the book Digital Ethnography: Anthropology, Narrative, and New Media (University of Texas Press, 2013), editor of a special issue of the international journal Visual Ethnography  on Exploring Digital Ethnography through Embodied Perspective, Role-Playing and Community Participation and Design, and author of more than 25 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings. She has been PI or co-PI on research and teaching grants and fellowships totaling over $200,000. These include two Florida Humanities Council, two Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs grants, The Strong Research Fellowship, and flow-through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her research has been presented at 25 national and international conferences, including the Bilan du Film Ethnographique seminar in Paris, France and the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA).  In addition to research, Dr. Underberg-Goode has developed core courses for the Digital Media and Latin American Studies programs and electives for the Film and Texts and Technology programs at UCF.  She has taught or teaches courses in a variety of areas including digital and interactive storytelling, research methods, video game history, and Latin American popular culture.  She has served her profession through such activities as co-organizing four international and three regional conferences, serving on the Department of State Bureau of Historic Preservation Florida Folklife Council, being digital stories and electronic literature curator for Aquifer: The Florida Review Online, and book reviews co-editor (for U.S. and Canada) for Visual Anthropology Review.

Dr. Pamela Wisniewski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Central Florida. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Ph.D. in Computing and Information Systems. She was recently a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Wisniewski has over 6 years of industry experience as a systems developer/business analyst in the IT industry. Her research interests are situated at the juxtaposition of HCI, Social Computing, and Privacy. Her goal is to frame privacy as a means to not only protect end users, but more importantly, to enrich online social interactions that individuals share with others. She is particularly interested in the interplay between social media, privacy, and online safety for adolescents. Dr. Wisniewski’s work has won best papers (top 1%) and best paper honorable mentions (top 5%) at premier conferences in her field, as well as being featured onNPRForbesGizmodo, U.S. News and World Report, and Science Daily.