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About Dr. Sarah Beth Hopton

As a communication professional, Dr. Sarah Beth Hopton has more than 15 years experience in journalism, technology, design, government and business. Her driving passion is to improve the lives of the marginalized and disenfranchised through networked communication strategy. She has worked with a variety of organizations to provide instruction and training in how to tell their stories through technology to connect and influence key publics and drive social and environmental change.

As an interdisciplinary researcher, she explores how rhetoric constructs reality and applies “big data” methodologies and risk communication models to help solve environmental issues. Her dissertation, for example, investigated the rhetorical frames employed in the debate over the scientific legitimacy of Agent Orange use during the Vietnam war. A common thread in her collaborative work is using technology to make community engagement efforts more effective, increasingly as related to regional environmental and agricultural efforts.

Areas of Expertise
Rhetoric and the communication of science and the environment
Agent Orange and environmental rhetoric
“Big data” methodologies and critical technology studies
Social change marketing strategies
Environmental, sustainable, agricultural practices in Appalachia


Present Faculty Member, Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences
Present Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University Department of English

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Honors and Awards

  • University Research Council Grant, Appalachian State University, to study stakeholder engagement practices of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange
  • Provost’s 21st Century Teaching and Learning award, University of South Florida, 2011


  • 2015 Master's Thesis Defense by Cheryl Laws entitled, "Reintegration Strategies to Mitigate Child Abuse and Neglect by Substance Abusers in West Virginia Communities
  • 2016 Honors Thesis by Jessica Burch entitled, "Digital Disruption in the Publishing Industry"


2012 - 2015 Ph.D., University of South Florida ‐ English
2012 M.A., Mercy College ‐ Literature
2001 M.A., Lancaster University ‐ Creative Writing
2000 B.A., Florida Southern College ‐ Journalism

Contact Information

In the News (3)

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Research Works (8)