J. Stephanie Rose is not your traditional Information Science student. A Communications major in undergrad while serving in the New York Air National Guard, Rose later earned her master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University while working full time at Air Force Headquarters. Her work for the Air Force — as well as a graduate class on information and communications technology policy that discussed electromagnetic spectrum — inspired her thesis research on spectrum and her later pursuit of her doctorate in Information Science.
“I ended up being fascinated, because it seemed to be the intersection of communications and technology,” Rose says. “That intersection is what I was interested in.”
The supportive environment of the School of Computing and Information has allowed Rose to succeed in her own right. Now a fifth-year PhD candidate in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications, Rose is working on her dissertation “Telecommunications Policy, Regulation and Enforcement: A 20 Year Retrospective of FCC Adjudication.” She’ll present a portion of her work at the upcoming Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC48) — an annual cross-disciplinary conference on communications, information and internet policy.
Her research has allowed her to build a vast knowledge of telecommunications violations that fall under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Rose began building this knowledge base while working on an NSF grant regarding Automated Wireless Enforcement with her adviser, Dr. Martin Weiss.
Throughout her time in the program, Rose has received several awards and recognitions. She was named a Pacific Telecommunications Council Young Scholar Awardee in 2019, and she was invited to be a guest scholar at the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Spectrum Policy the same year, along with winning first prize at Pitt’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition this year. Her focus on the intersection of telecommunications, society and policy provides an innovative contribution to the field.
When she’s not working on research, Rose spends time engaging with members of the greater Pittsburgh community through SCI’s community outreach efforts. Over the past few years, she’s volunteered her time to teach digital literacy and STEM engagement. Her role with STEM engagement includes teaching courses on website basics leveraging GitHub, creating games using Scratch, and teaching coding concepts with Lego Mindstorms. For digital literacy, she assists teaching this course for the senior citizen population. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rose and other volunteers taught this over Zoom for the fall term.
“With the current climate during this pandemic, it’s a necessity to know how to navigate online spaces,” Rose says. “What privacy means, what security means and how to do a strong password, etc. are important to be a part of the ecosystem we find ourselves in today.”
Just as Rose has pursued a variety of opportunities during her time at SCI, she wants other potential students to know they can, too — when they commit to Pitt.
“If you’re interested in getting involved in the community (academic or local) and building your skills for your future,” Rose says, “I think we’re a great school for that — to get involved, dive in and try out different things.”