Natalie Stepien Bernabe

Natalie N. Stepien-Bernabe, Ph.D.

Scientist
Human Factors
Phoenix

Dr. Stepien-Bernabe is a vision scientist and expert in human visual perception. She possesses a deep understanding of psychophysical methodology, experimental design, and several data analysis techniques. She has extensive knowledge of assessment tool design and has utilized advanced statistical procedures to develop tests that investigate different psychological processes. Additionally, Dr. Stepien-Bernabe has experience conducting user research across a variety of areas, including assistive technologies, High Dynamic Range displays, and virtual reality products. She is currently running several user experience research projects at the Phoenix User Research Center (PURC) as part of the Human Factors team.

Dr. Stepien-Bernabe received a Ph.D. in Vision Science from the University of California, Berkeley. She studied how presentation mode and technology impact reading comprehension among blind and sighted individuals. She also conducted research at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, where she used virtual reality headsets and eye tracking to explore how individuals with visual impairments interact with objects.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Vision Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2019
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Chicago, 2014
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014 – 2019

    Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Studies, 2014 – 2016

    Minnie and Roseanna Turner Fund for Impaired Vision Research, 2017 & 2018

    American Academy of Optometry Student Travel Fellowship, 2017 & 2018

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish
  • Catalan

Publications

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N., Lei, D., McKerracher, A., & Orel-Bixler, D. (2019). The impact of presentation mode and technology on reading comprehension among blind and sighted individuals. Optometry and Vision Science, 96(5), 354.

Lei, D., Stepien-Bernabe, N. N., Morash, V. S., & MacKeben, M. (2019). Effect of modulating braille dot height on reading regressions. PloS One, 14(4), e0214799.

Hoffman, D. M., Stepien, N. N., & Xiong, W. (2016). The importance of native panel contrast and local dimming density on perceived image quality of high dynamic range displays. Journal of the Society for Information Display, 24(4), 216-228.

Hoffman, D. M., Stepien, N. N., and Xiong, W. (2016). 59-2 Distinguished Paper: The role of local-dimming density, native panel contrast, and glare sources in the visual quality of HDR displays. SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers.

Stepien, N. N., & Shevell, S. K. (2015). The role of color in motion feature-binding errors. Journal of Vision, 15(13), 8-8.

Presentation

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N. The Impact of Technology and Presentation Mode on Reading Comprehension Among Blind and Sighted Individuals. Talk presented at the Vision Science Symposium, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2019.

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N. Exploring the Impact of Assistive Technology on Comprehension Among Braille Readers. Paper session presented at the Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2018.

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N. Braille Reading: Educational and Cognitive Implications. Talk presented during the MacFarland Seminar at the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Conference, Reno, NV, 2018.

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N. The impact of presentation mode on reading comprehension among sighted and blind individuals. Talk presented at the Brown Bag Seminar Series at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2018.

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N. Exploring the impact of technology and mode of presentation on comprehension in blind and sighted individuals. Talk presented at Oxyopia Seminar at the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2017.

Stepien-Bernabe, N. N., Lei, D., MacKeben, M., and Morash, V. S. Similarities between regressions in visual and braille reading. Paper session presented at the American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2017.

McKerracher, Amanda, Stepien-Bernabe, N. N., and Lei, D. Text vs. audio: what’s “best”? Talk presented at the California School for the blind, Fremont, CA, 2017.

Hoffman, D. M., Stepien, N. N., and Xiong, W. Implications of the number of local dimming zones and native LCD contrast on visual quality of HDR displays. Paper presented at International Display Week, Fukuoka, Japan, 2016. [Awarded best paper award]

Hoffman, D. M., Stepien, N. N., and Xiong, W., Implications of the number of local dimming zones and native LCD contrast on visual quality of HDR displays. Talk presented at Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., Milpitas, CA, 2015.

Stepien, N. N., and Shevell, S. K. Color-Motion Feature Misbinding Without Color. Talk presented at: Honors Day Colloquium, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2014.

Stepien, N. N., and Shevell, S. K. Color-Motion Feature Misbinding Without Color. Poster presented at: Vision Sciences Society (VSS) Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL; Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium, Chicago, IL, 2014.

Prior Experience

Project Lab Assistant, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2018 – 2019

Engineer Intern, Samsung Display America Lab, 2015

Academic Appointments

Teaching Assistant, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research: Regression Analysis II Linear Models, University of Michigan, 2018 – 2018

Guest Lecturer: Color Vision, University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, 2015 – 2017

Graduate Student Instructor: Visual Perception and Sensitivity, University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, 2014 – 2016

Professional Affiliations

American Academy of Optometry (AAO)

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Optometry and Vision Science Journal (OVS)

Journal of Exceptional People (JEP)

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Vision Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2019
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Chicago, 2014
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014 – 2019

    Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Studies, 2014 – 2016

    Minnie and Roseanna Turner Fund for Impaired Vision Research, 2017 & 2018

    American Academy of Optometry Student Travel Fellowship, 2017 & 2018

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish
  • Catalan