My field is called Science and Technology Studies, or STS. It's an interdisciplinary program that explores the how science and society shape one another; STS scholars study scientists, their practices, and technologies and are interested in different kinds of expertise, instruments, and processes of knowledge creation. Within STS, my work sits at the intersection of risk communication, cultural geography, and studies of risk and vulnerability. I'm primarily an ethnographer, which means I draw on participant observations, interviews and focus groups, and historical context to understand how people make sense of disasters and their role within them.

I study the following:

  • Weather warning processes and technologies, including remote sensing and social media
  • Drought dynamics and emergent community vulnerabilities and resilience among agriculture, municipalities, and water managers
  • Disaster theories that impact how researchers interact with communities impacted by weather hazards, including drought
  • Historical contexts and policy implications for the emergence of new technologies, initiatives, and practices in expert communities, like the National Weather Service

Detailed Description

As a social scientist, I've worked with National Weather Service forecasters who issue warnings for weather hazards in the United States. I've spent nearly three years in four offices across the country, watching them work and talking to them about their cares and concerns as they alert society to weather dangers. I also work with local communities affected by weather to understand the complex situations and structures that shape their experiences with threats like tornadoes, flash floods, and drought.

Currently, I work with stakeholders in Colorado and Utah across the water community (water managers, utilities, municipalities, and those in agriculture) to better understand their experiences and concerns with drought. Based on principles of co-production and usable science, this work aims to help these groups better understand the the spatiotemporal and sociopolitical dynamics of vulnerability that arise during drought planning.  My work has been published in journals relevant to both the meteorological community and my colleagues in STS. 

Refereed Articles

J. Henderson, M. Liboiron, in press. Compromise and Action: Tactics for Doing Ethical Research in Disaster Zones. In New Environmental Crisis: Hazard, Disaster, and the Challenges Ahead. Eds., J. Kendra, S. G. Knowles, T, Wachtendorf. New York: Springer.

J. Henderson. (July, 2018). Weather Ready Nation or Ready Weather Agency? Empathetic Accuracy and Sociotechnical Resilience in the National Weather Service. In Bouncing Back: Sociotechnical Resilience in Disasters. Ed., Sulfikar Amir. London: Palgrave McMillian.

R. Morss J. L. Demuth, H. Lazrus, L. Palen, C. M. Barton, C. A. Davis, C. Snyder, O. V. Wilhelmi, K. M. Anderson, D. A. Ahijevych, J. Anderson, M. Bica, K. R. Fossell, J. Henderson, M. Kogan, K. Stowe, J. Watts. (June 2017). Hazardous Weather Prediction and Communication in the Modern Information Environment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

A. Schroeder, J.J. Gourley, J. Hardy, J. Henderson, P. Parhi, V. Rahmani, K. A. Reed, R. S. Schumacher, B.K. Smith, M. Taraldsen. (2016). The Development of a Flash Flood Severity Index. Journal of Hydrology.

J. L. Demuth, R. E. Morss, L. Palen, K. M. Anderson, J. Anderson, M. Kogan, K. Stowe, M. Bica, H. Lazrus, O. V. Wilhelmi, J. Henderson. (June 2018). sometime da #beachlife ain't always da wave: Understanding People’s Evolving Risk Assessments and Responses During Hurricane Sandy Using Twitter. Weather, Climate, and Society.

A. Goldner, O. Shieh, and J. Henderson. (2013). Science Policy: Using Your Voice to Inform and Inspire.” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 94, 80-81.

Conference Proceedings

J. Anderson, M. Kogan, M. Bica, L. Palen, K. Anderson, R. Morss, J. Demuth, H. Lazrus, O.  Wilhelmi, J. Henderson, 2016. Social Media Studies. Far Far Away in Far Rockaway: Responses to Risks and Impacts during Hurricane Sandy through First-Person Social Media Narratives. Preprint: International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Management.

K. Droegemeier, L. P. Rothfusz, A. J. Knoedler, J. T. Ferree, J. Henderson, K. L. Nemunaitis-Monroe, D. Nagele, and K. E. Klockow, 2016. Living with Extreme Weather Workshop: Summary and Path Forward. Preprint: American Meteorological Society 96th Annual Conference, New Orleans.