Maria Elena Villar, Ph.D.

CARTA Faculty Equity Advisor/AWED Faculty Fellow

Associate Professor, Communication; Co-Director, Steven Cruz Institute for Media, Science Technology

Phone: 305-348-7644



María Elena Villar, PhD is an associate professor of the Department of Communication and Co-Director of SCI at FIU, and teaches courses in communication theory, research methods, multicultural communication, and advanced seminars in strategic communications. Her research focuses on culturally competent communication for social and behavioral change, and on strategic communication for diverse audiences.

In her career as a researcher, Dr. Villar has focused on diverse topics that range from culture and communication, evaluation of program outcomes, and communication for social change. Her current research includes how people communicate on social media about issues such as wildlife conservation, vaccine hesitancy and illicit drugs.  Many of her projects are based on community-based participatory research and use edu-entertainment and serious games.