PROVIDENCE, RI — The Information Futures Lab (IFL) at Brown University’s School of Public Health is pleased to introduce its 2024 Visiting Fellows cohort. Leaders in community-based journalism, equitable tech entrepreneurship, culturally competent communication and infodemics research have joined the Lab to drive a set of innovative projects and pilots that are responding to urgent information challenges in real time.

“We are thrilled to be able to invest in these changemakers who are addressing real-world aspects of the information crisis with creative ideas, deep expertise and highly relevant experiences in their fields and communities”, said IFL co-director Stefanie Friedhoff, Professor of the Practice at the Brown School of Public Health. 

The 2024 Visiting Fellows are focusing on a diverse set of challenges and solutions. Projects range from utilizing platforms like WhatsApp for trust-building to developing AI enabled tools that allow journalists to discover underrepresented experts to mitigating the impact of targeted election-year disinformation on Spanish-speaking diaspora communities. 

The 2024 Visiting Fellows are: 

  • Alicia Stewart: A journalist and media entrepreneur, Stewart will build on the award-winning work of SourceScout, an AI-enabled tool allowing journalists and others to discover underrepresented experts. She will use her fellowship to explore data sources, expertise, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, she will engage with other leaders in data science, technology governance, equity, and related fields. 
  • Evelyn Pérez-Verdía: The founder of We Are Más, Pérez-Verdía specializes in culturally competent, multilingual strategic communications, community building and engagement. Building on her work with the Lab in South Florida at the end of last year, her focus will be on how people and organizations can better address the information needs of Spanish-speaking diaspora communities, with a focus on mitigating the impact of targeted, sophisticated disinformation in an election year.
  • Federico Germani: A postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich, Germani is the director of Culturico, a nonprofit that fosters critical thinking and promotes an engaged society. He will leverage his expertise in infodemic management and the ethics of social listening to provide actionable insights for non-profits, health departments and community groups.
  • Nicolás Ríos: A journalist and the Director of Audience & Community at Documented, a non-profit news site focused on New York City’s immigrants and the policies that affect their lives, Ríos is a leader in community engagement research, product development and content creation. His project will focus on how to turn effective community journalism techniques, such as engaging people via WhatsApp and Nextdoor, into accessible tools for other organizations seeking to more deeply engage with and inform their communities. 

Alicia Stewart led an impactful “Build your Public Voice” workshop for Brown faculty in March, and will return to campus on May 6 for a public talk on “Authentic intelligence in an age of Gen AI.”   

Evelyn Pérez-Verdía visited campus in early April to engage with students and faculty and share her perspectives as part of a panel discussion about tackling misleading information that is impacting conversations about health, climate and the upcoming election. 

While welcoming these four Visiting Fellows to Brown University this year, the IFL is actively seeking funding to support its larger fellowship program. “There is no silver bullet to fixing disinformation and the current information crisis”, said IFL co-director Claire Wardle. “To make progress, we need to invest in right-sized projects that can move us forward, one pilot at a time.”  

The Information Futures Lab debuted the IFL Fellowship last year. The 2023 IFL fellow’s cohort piloted eight community-driven, innovative solutions that had tangible impact, such as connecting more than 40 communities across Nigeria with culturally competent health information; increasing social media literacy among aspiring school-age content creators in Great Britain; and supporting the Black community in East Oakland, Calif., to better manage diabetes. 

2023 IFL fellow and entrepreneur Adrienne Ammerman recently received follow-up funding for her prototype, Arclet, a platform that will allow local communicators to quickly produce and strategically share engaging and culturally competent health information that is evidence-based and locally relevant. 

2023 IFL fellow and infodemics expert Elisabeth Wilhelm recently launched her fellowship project, the Community Stories Guide that guides public health professionals, civil society organizations, community members, students and researchers through a new methodology for  understanding community information needs through stories. You can find a webinar featuring the guide here.  

2023 IFL fellow and Politico chief technology correspondent Mark Scott recently published findings from his fellowship project surveying more than 50 regulators, public health authorities, tech executives, civil society groups and academics about how they access data in their efforts to untangle what happens on social media. The project represents one of the largest qualitative surveys of those with real-world experience on how social media data access works — and you can read why this wide variety of actors wants to boost transparency and accountability for social media platforms in his piece in Tech Policy Press.

About the IFL

The Information Futures Lab aims to strengthen information ecosystems and empower communities by facilitating access to vital information crucial to their well-being. Through collaborative research and partnerships with communities, leaders and organizations, the IFL identifies and accelerates community-driven solutions to the challenges posed by the information crisis.

For more information about the Information Futures Lab and its initiatives, please visit

Media Contact:
Media contact: Ruth Crane