Meet the Cat

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Dr Stephanie Hendrick Dean
Assistant Professor, Interactive Media
Middle Tennessee State University

My Mission

I am the co-director of the Immersive Storytelling Lab at Middle Tennessee State University. As a researcher, storyteller, and academic activist, I am interested in how people use digital technologies and immersive media to align with or against the discourses that form our identities, policies, and understandings of culture(s). I am insatiably curious, a passionate researcher…and can be found to occasionally race reindeer.

participatory media, immersive media, academic activism, game theory, VR, AR

“The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.”

                                                                                                                         — Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Read more of the blog here

Other Stuff I do/have done


  • PhD in Computer Mediated Communication.
  • Developed programs and taught courses in digital culture and CMC on the undergrad and grad level since 2004 at HUMlab, Umeå Sweden.
  • Won Wahlgrenska Research Grant in Media Studies in 2008 and 2013.
  • Published about social media, identity hacking, digital youth culture, gaming, and ed tech.


  • Vlogged and blogged the past 11 years.
  • Live blogged/vlogged events such as the Jokkmokk winter market and various academic conferences.
  • Taught middle school students to edit video and make machinima.
  • Taught 6-9 year olds how to code computer games.
  • Created huge cupcake scapes in retro gameboard themes.


  • Eschenfelder, Christine, Jennifer Woodard, and Stephanie Dean. ‘Immersive empathy: Utilizing virtual reality for diversity training in the multimedia journalism classroom’. Forthcoming.
  • Dean, Stephanie, Christine Eschenfelder, Jennifer Woodard, and Tori Enlow. ‘Teaching on the Holodeck: Gender and Social Scripts Among the Crew of the Virtual Start Trek Enterprise,’ Journal of Media Education, 9 (2018), 5-12.
  • Hendrick, Stephanie, Beyond the Blog. (Dissertation) Umeå University. 2012.
  • Hendrick, Stephanie Fayth, ‘A Mediated Discourse Analysis of Pseudonymous Blogging’, Tracking Discourses: Politics, Identity and Social Change, 2011, 225.
  • Hendrick, S Fayth, and Simon Lindgren, ‘YouTube as a Performative Arena: How Swedish Youth Are Negotiating Space’, Youth Culture and Net Culture: Online Social Practices, 2010, 153.
  • Hendrick, Stephanie, ‘Following Conversational Traces: Part 1: Creating a Corpus with the ICWSM Dataset.’, Paper presented at The International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. 2007.–Hendrick.pdf.
  • Efimova, Lilia, and Stephanie Hendrick, ‘In Search for a Virtual Settlement: An Exploration of Weblog Community Boundaries’, Communities & Technologies, 5 (2005).
  • Efimova, Lilia, Stephanie Hendrick, and Anjo Anjewierden, ‘Finding’ the Life Between Buildings’: An Approach for Defining a Weblog Community’, Internet research, 6 (2005), 1–15.
  • Hendrick, Stephanie, Therese Örnberg, and TN Burg, ‘The Weblog as an Immersive Space: Moblogging Jokkmokk 2004’, BlogTalks2, 2004, 201–236.

Funded Research Projects

  • 2017: Immersive Story Telling Lab, Middle Tennessee State University.
    Seed funding to establish a cross disciplinary lab for virtual and augmented reality. This included course release time for development, a directorship of the lab, and funds for project development and equipment purchases.
  • 2013-2014: Understandings of Online Victimization, HUMlab, Umea University
    Researcher in a one-year research project funded by the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.
  • 2013-2015: Media Places
    Researcher in a three-part research project in collaboration with Stanford University and the Wallenberg Network Initiative.
  • 2010-2013: The Role of the Internet as a Surrogate Social Network in Situations of Domestic Violence in Swedish Context.
    Researcher and grant writer in a three-year, three-part research project funded by the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority. (Sole Author)
  • 2004-2006: YouTube as a Performative Arena.
    Researcher in a three-year, three-part research project funded by the Swedish Knowledge Foundation. Principle Researcher for first and final part of project.


  • March 20, 2019. ‘Elements of Immersive Storytelling’.
    Invited Keynote Speaker. VR Night. Makerspace. Middle Tennessee State University. 
  • March 7, 2019. ‘“Immersive empathy: Utilizing virtual reality for diversity training in the multimedia journalism classroom’.
    AEJMC’s 44th annual Southeast Colloquium. University of South Carolina.
  • Feb 15, 2018. Immersive Journalism Workshop.
    Southeast Journalism Conference. Middle Tennessee State University. 
  • Feb 5, 2018. ‘VR as an Empathy Engine?’.
    Workshop presented to the Critical Care Response Team of OWA. Middle Tennessee State University. 
  • Sept 16, 2017. ‘Social Media as a Transformative Practice for Victims of Domestic Violence’.
    Kentucky Gender and Women’s Studies Conference.
  • April 8, 2017. ‘Holding up half the virtual sky’.
    Presented at Craft Content, Nashville.
  • October 14, 2016. ‘Playing Reality? Representation and Discourse of Domestic Violence in VR’.
    MTSU Walker Library Digital Humanities Seminar Series.
  • Sept 10, 2016.  ‘Ingress Play and the (re)construction of social identity.
    Tennessee Communication Association Annual Conference.
  • April 21, 2016.  ‘When ‘wifey’ is on the front line: Legitimizing practices in female gamer tags in augmented reality environments’.
    Presentation at WGST Seminar Series.
  • March 22, 2016. Voiceover for keynote lecture ‘Intellectual Middleware’,
    Academy of Finland, Turku, Finland.
  • Oct. 17, 2015  ‘Cute cats, Twitter bots, and Fuzzy Faces: How to use social media to ‘hacktivate’ your cause’. Presented at BarCamp, Nashville.
  • March 2014: ”From Survivor to Superhero: Social media and the changing face of domestic violence.”
    UAB Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • March 2013: “Domestic Violence and the Transformative Practice of Social Media.”
    Umeå University, FeministForum 2013.
  • November 2012: ”Social Media Usage as a Transformative Practice for Victims of Domestic Violence”. Brottsoffermyndighetens viktimologiska forskarkonferens, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • December 2011: ”YouTube as a Performative Arena”
    The Internet of Things Symposium, HUMlab, Umeå University. Sweden.
  • November 2011: ”The Use of Facebook in Swedish Women’s Shelters”.
    Brottsoffermyndighetens viktimologiska forskarkonferens, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • October 2010: ”Youth on Youtube. How Swedish youth negotiate video space”.
    Linköping University.
  • 2009: ”Negotiating blended spaces: How Swedish youth are using video sharing sites as a performative arena”.
    The Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference.
  • November 2009: ”The Role of the Internet as a surrogate social network in situations of domestic violence in Swedish context (DVIS)”.
    Brottsoffermyndighetens viktimologiska forskarkonferens, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • December 2007: “YouTubing the American Presidential Debate“.
    HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden.
  • June 2006: “False Identity: The interplay between ‘the other’ and the network in academic weblog communities of practice.“
  • 2006: “Following Conversational Traces: Part 1: Creating a corpus with the ICWSM dataset.“
    International Conference of Weblogs and Social Media.
  • 2005: “In search for a virtual settlement: An exploration of weblog community boundaries.”.
    The Association of Internet Researchers.
  • May 2005: “Process och Publicering: Pratiskt om Blogger I språkundervisning”
    (Process and Publication: Practical blogging in language education). Workshop at the language education and ICT symposium in HUMlab. Umeå Unviersity, Sweden. Together with Therese Örnberg Berglund.
  • September 2004. ”Bloggar och kulturella perspektiv pp informationsteknik – rapporter från internationella konferenser”
    (”Blogs and cultural perspectives on information technology – reports from international conferences”). Report from the CATaC’04 conference presented at the HUMlab seminar. Umeå. Together with Therese Örnberg Berglund.
  • July 2004: “Blogging Jokkmokk”.
    BlogTalk 2.0, Vienna, Austria. 

Download my CV

See points of collaboration? Contact me!