Michigan State University

Visualization Community Seminar Series

Amanda Tickner

The Visualization Community Seminar Series is a place for anyone interested in visualization/data visualization to learn about emerging ideas, research and methods. Faculty, students, and community members are invited to attend sessions where an invited visualization practitioner(s) will share their research and methods. The goal of this seminar series is to build a community of practice around visualization that crosses disciplinary boundaries and techniques. Anyone with an interest in the topic of visualization is welcome and encouraged to attend! Feel free to bring your lunch.
Seminars will be taking place on 9/22 (in Library 3 West Real Classroom), 10/20 (in Library 3 West Real Classroom), and 11/17 (in Library 3 West Beal Classroom) all at 12:00.
Our kickoff speaker will be Karl Gude on 9/22, "How to engage your audience with visual storytelling":

Karl Gude is the Director of the Media Sandbox in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, a program that mixes students from different majors and abilities and gets them collaborating on real-world experiences, like helping non-profits. Gude is the former Director of Information Graphics at Newsweek magazine and The Associated Press. Gude teaches a large, Media Sandbox class on creative thinking and problem solving.

In 2017, Gude was recognized by the Alumni Association for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and was also featured in the President’s Report about teaching creativity. In 2013, Gude was recognized with the Faculty Impact Award by his college. Gude has presented at TEDx Detroit, Lansing and Midland and has spoken twice at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology conference on the “Power of Visual Storytelling." Gude recently gave a talk at the "Political Analytics Conference" at Harvard University and is just wrapping up a National Science Foundation grant where he collaborated with several universities on an evolutionary biology project. Gude is an avid sketch artist, cartoonist and painter who also writes a column for the Huffington Post.

How to engage your audience with visual storytelling

In the comic strip Dilbert, Dogbert says, "Information is gushing toward your brain like a fire hose aimed at a teacup!" Nowadays, all of us are drowning in a sea of data. This means that there is a lot of competition for eyeballs. People trying to communicate their messages are doing all they can to find fresh, effective ways to engage and inform inundated audiences. Infographics are powerful tools that, through a careful combination of words and images, grab people's attention and make your message stand out. Infographics are uniquely effective at clarifying and summarizing complex information in all industries—from medicine and science to business and technology—and for all audiences—from policy makers to teenagers. Karl Gude is not only an expert at infographics, he's a passionate and fun teacher.

You will learn:

  • Why making information visual is better than words alone to get your message across

  • Some important steps to consider when planning a visual project

  • Types of data that are best visualized

  • The Dos and Don'ts of visual storytelling

On 10/20 Raechel White will be joining us with her talk "Making Sense of the Aerial Photograph: Visualization and Understanding Our Environment"

Dr. Raechel White is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. Her research intersects human and computational methods of information extraction from remotely sensed images. Her work is motivated by an interest in improving human sense-making with imagery for a variety of information extraction tasks and the use of human sense-making to improve expert-driven methods of image analysis, such as Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis.

Making Sense of the Aerial Photograph: Visualization and Understanding Our Environment

The aerial photograph is the precursor of modern satellite imagery. These images have not only captured the imaginations of the public, they now serve as a common gateway to sense-making about current physical and social events. In this discussion, we approach these remotely sensed images as visualization tools, and discuss some of the ways in which images have been used to facilitate spatial thinking.

And on 11/17 members of the Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition (DHLC) Lab (Melissa Klamer, Salvatore Antonucci, Karah Smith) will present their talk: "Science and Sonnets: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Visualizing Readers' Aesthetic Pleasure"


Science and Sonnets: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Visualizing Readers' Aesthetic Pleasure

This talk will focus on the theory, praxis, and challenges associated with visualizing data in interdisciplinary research. Drawing on an ongoing study of the aesthetic experiences associated with poetry reading conducted by the Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition (DHLC) Lab, we will discuss the numerous ways we have visualized qualitative and quantitative data. More specifically, we will discuss the challenges associated with interdisciplinary work and tailoring visualizations to meet the needs and expectations of audiences in both the sciences and the humanities.

Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition (DHLC) Lab

The Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab (DHLC) is an interdisciplinary research lab located in the College of Arts and Letters’ English Department. At its core, the DHLC exists as a space that allows researchers to enrich their humanistic investigations through interdisciplinary collaboration. The lab’s current projects are drawing on methodologies found in Literary Studies, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and DH to make ground-breaking advances in the research of novel reading, history of mind, the neuroaesthetics of poetry, and narrative responses to music. For more information about the DHLC and its projects, please visit dhlc.cal.msu.edu.

Melissa Klamer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English specializing in digital humanities and the posthumography of Victorian women authors, emphasizing diaries and letters. Her digital dissertation project will create a scholarly digital edition of an 1835 manuscript diary, and explores the intersections of motherhood, life writing, and literary professionalism in the Victorian period. Melissa also serves as an Editor on the Digital Mitford Project, transcribing and encoding Mary Russell Mitford's correspondence in TEI-XML. She has worked as a graduate research assistant at MATRIX: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and currently in the Digital Humanities Literary Cognition Lab at MSU.



Salvatore Antonucci is the Undergraduate Lead of the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab. While his academic interests are vast, he mainly studies Literature and is also pursuing minors in Philosophy and Digital Humanities. During his sophomore and junior years, Sal worked predominantly within the DHLC’s Neuroaesthetics group on their experiment concerning poetry and aesthetic pleasure. During those years, he has presented original, award winning research at MSU’s undergraduate research conference, UURAF. As the Lead of the Neuroaesthetics Group, he led investigations that borrowed methodologies from Literary Studies, Linguistics, Digital Humanities, and Statistics in the to explore how certain poetic elements affect readers’ aesthetic judgments. In addition to this, Sal is now collaborating with a team of faculty to prepare the experimental design of the fMRI-phase of the poetry study.



Karah Smith serves as the Lab Manager for the Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition Lab. Here, her role is to engage in and facilitate interdisciplinary research, participate in grant writing and administration, expand DH initiatives, and mentor graduate and undergraduate researchers in work that encompasses a wide range of fields including English, psychology, education, music, neuroscience, and more. Karah is an MSU alumna with degrees in English and Psychology and a minor in Digital Humanities. As a student, Karah’s work in the DHLC involved: analyzing data from a previous fMRI study on attention and the neuroscience of reading; collaborating with students and faculty to develop a behavioral study that measured aesthetic pleasure responses to poetry; and leading the development of pilot study that examined the stories and narratives people imagine when listening to orchestral music. Her personal research interests include literary cognition, Theory of Mind, 19th-century Literature, psychoanalysis, the neuroscience of reading and language acquisition, and digital humanities.


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