Abel Gustafson // PhD Candidate // Strategic Communication of Science & Tech

Abel Gustafson




I am a Ph.D. candidate at UC-Santa Barbara. 

Short: I use scientific research methods to optimize strategic communications and gather consumer/user/audience insights.

Long: I have 6 years of experience conducting primary research in two fields:
A) Strategic Communication -- using diverse experimental designs to specify the optimal ways to present information. Think: A/B tests with some added complexity.
B) Audience Research -- using large data sets to extract key insights about consumer/user sentiment and behavior.

To solve problems, I use:
1) Quantitative and qualitative research methods in lab studies, large surveys, focus groups, and data mining.
2) Cognitive science / social psychology fundamentals.
3) Permanent-state curiosity.
4) Pens, not swords.

Some outputs:
- 6 years in project management roles, leading research teams.
- Developed new user insights and A/B tested new content strategies for NOVA (PBS)'s social channels.
- 11 peer-reviewed conference papers, including one national research award.
- 4 scientific publications in leading peer-reviewed journals.
- 2 more publications under journal review that quantify the influence of emotions in audience responses to strategic science communication.
- 1 dissertation that uses a large survey experiment to test alternative messaging strategies in science and emerging tech.

Some people who's work inspires me:
Sagan / McCluhan / Chouinard / Wilde / Satoshi / Kiyosaki / Carlin / Federer

Some people who's work does not inspire me:
Whoever named Kansas City, blueberries, and the orange.


I often write for fun, and I occasionally write for catharsis.
You can read some of my recent Scribbles here.


Past adventures include backpacking Europe, living in Hawaii, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, paddling to Canada, and competing in professional beach volleyball tournaments around the United States.

When not working, I am busy adding to this list of adventures.