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UB’s Stephens named fellow of national TRELIS program in geospatial sciences


Published June 27, 2019

headshot of Monica Stephens.

Monica Stephens

UB geographer Monica Stephens has been selected as a fellow of TRELIS, a national program devoted to cultivating the next generation of female leaders in geographic information science (GIScience).

TRELIS (Training and Retaining Leaders in STEM-Geospatial Sciences) provides professional development for women in the geospatial sciences in higher education. The goal is to build leadership capacity and skills to address career development, communication, conflict resolution and work-life integration.

TRELIS is managed by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and the University of Maine, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Stephens is an assistant professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences. Among other topics, her research analyzes social media to understand trends in society, including in politics. She is particularly interested in incivility in social media, as well as the role of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms in spreading misinformation, such as “fake news.”

Stephens has also studied digital divides — disparities in gender and other characteristics of contributors to online forums such as Wikipedia and Flickr.

As a TRELIS fellow, Stephens attended the program’s workshop in June, meeting with other women from across the country who are also early career GIScience professors. The three-day event was designed to target topics and concerns of early-career individuals, with a focus on envisioning and crafting leadership pathways.

“The workshop was helpful for giving me the tips and tools to build a network of support and push my career in GIScience forward,” Stephens says. “The most valuable component was the other women who are also developing their careers in this arena and pushing the frontiers of science and geographic knowledge. I plan to collaborate with several of these women to apply for a small grant to further distribute the skills we learned at the TRELIS workshop.”

The TRELIS leadership team includes experts from around the country. For more information, visit the TRELIS website.