• Data Should be Visualized.
  • Narrative Can be Quantified.
  • Everything Converges.

Study the Science of Art, Study the Art of Science.
Realize that everything connects to everything else.
- Leonardo Da Vinci


About Me

I'm an academic with a quantitative research background who also works as a designer, event producer, and independent filmmaker. My projects are typically a fusion of these interests, combining my work as a communication scholar with my multimedia skills.


I research the role of emotion in the creation and consumption of narrative media. Recently, I've been examining how emotional education can be used to improve the narratives of texting-and-driving and safe sex public service announcements. My research has won three Top Paper Awards from the National Communication Association.


I've taught over 50 college courses across 15 different subjects in communication, media studies, public relations, and film studies. I like to challenge my students with unusual projects that push them to innovate with technology.

Design & Production

I do work in graphic design, print layout, and web design. Often, my design work is directly tied to my research. I've also produced numerous live events, including a week-long music and arts festival, and the launch event for a school of communication and media.


I've written, produced, and directed three feature-length independent films - the most recent of which incorporated actors from California, New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. My work as a filmmaker has been directly involved in my research on emotion and narrative.

CV in Brief


Doctor of Philosophy, Communication. Emotional Communication & Media.  2011.
University of Connecticut, Storrs CT
Dissertation: “Make Belief: Examining the Interaction of Reason and Emotion in Film Communication”

Master of Arts, Communication. 2008.
University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Minor, Film Media Studies. 2006.
University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI


• The influence of emotion in narrative media.

• Emotional education in health PSAs.

• Social media and mobile communication as tools for enhancing higher-education learning.

• Quantifiable measures of mediated communication between filmmakers and audiences.

• Visualization, Presentation, and Representation of quantitative data for diverse audiences.

• New media technologies and their effects on social interaction and relationship formation.


Visiting Assistant Professor: University of Connecticut, Department of Communication
August, 2014 – Present
• Instructor of record for three courses, including large lectures in Research Methods and Persuasion.
• Co-supervisor of department’s basic course, serving approximately 800 students.
• Leading revisions to department’s vast research participant pool system.
• Supervising and coordinating graduate teaching assistants.

Lecturer of Media Studies: University of Rhode Island, Department of Communication Studies
January, 2012 – May, 2014
• Instructor of record for eight courses in media effects, social media, media programming, public relations, film, and research methods.
• Served on planning committees and led faculty retreats to develop university’s new School of Communication and Media.
• Conceptualized and Produced multimedia launch event to kick off new school of communication and media.

Past: Graduate Teaching Assistant
University of Connecticut, Department of Communication Sciences
• Instructor of record for five courses including quantitative research methods, nonverbal communication, and advanced nonverbal communication.
• President, Communication Graduate Student Association

Recent Papers

Stifano, S.C. (2014). Watching Audiences Chart the Drama: A Segmentation Approach to Film Communication.  Presentation at the 100th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. November 20-23, 2014 (forthcoming).

Stifano, S.C. (2013). Make Belief: Examining Rational and Affective Dimensions of Communication Among Creators of Narrative Film Media.  Presentation at the 99th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, Washington, D.C. November 21-24, 2013.

Stifano, S.C. (2013). Measuring Sender-Receiver Film Communication Across Variable Movie Scenes: Implications for Evaluations and Character Identification.  Presentation at the 99th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, Washington, D.C. November 21-24, 2013.

Forbus, R. G., Snyder, J.L., & Stifano, S.C. (2013). Foreign Accents in U.S. Television Advertising: Challenging Traditional Thoughts on Accents’ Impact.  Presentation at the 2013 American Marketing Association Winter Marketing Educator’s Conference, Las Vegas, NV. February 15-17, 2013.

Stifano, S.C. (2012). Rational and Emotional Communication between Directors and Audiences in a Narrative Feature Film: A Developmental-Interactionist Theory of Film Communication.  Presentation at the 98th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, Orlando, FL. November 17, 2012.

Recent Invited Lectures

Something for Everyone:  The role of high-speed presentations in connecting diverse educational audiences
100th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association.  November 23, 2014. (forthcoming)

From Viral Video to Social Movement:  Real-life Media Education in Students’ “Make It Pink!” Campaign
2013 Northeast Media Literacy Conference.  April 19, 2013.

Survey Design: A General Primer
University of Rhode Island.  April 16, 2012.

Replacing Media Literacy:  The Future of Mass Communication in a Digital Native Society
University of Connecticut.  October 21, 2011.

Everyone’s Famous:  The Effects of Digital Culture on Media Creation and the Public Persona
University of Connecticut.  October 14, 2011.

Recent Awards

Top Paper in Film, Theatre, and New Multimedia    2014
Sole Author; National Communication Association’s 100th Annual Convention

Ignite Award for Creative Excellence    2013
Awarded for Creative work in the design and Launch of the Harrington School of Communication and Media – University of Rhode Island

Top Paper in Film, Theatre, and New Multimedia     2013
Sole Author; National Communication Association’s 99th Annual Convention

Top Paper in Mass Communication     2012
Sole Author; National Communication Association’s 98th Annual Convention

Gerald R. Miller Disseration Award Nominee     2012
Nomination for Outstanding New Communication Scholar – National Communication Association

Michael J. Hogan Summer Research Fellowship    2011
Funding Provided for Outstanding Doctoral-Level Research – University of Connecticut


(All numbers approximate...)

Research Projects

Days in the Classroom

Students Taught

Cups of Coffee Ordered

Keep in Touch

If anything here interests you, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line.

337 Mansfield Rd., Unit 1259, Storrs CT 06269