Keynote Speakers

Abby Kinchy (PhD, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an associate professor in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she currently serves as director of the STS graduate program. She is the author of Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops (MIT, 2012) and numerous articles on science, technology, the environment, and social protest. Her current research, the Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project, looks at civil society organizations that are attempting to monitor the impacts of shale gas development on surface water quality, and how these efforts are transforming what is known and unknown about this controversial new form of energy production.

Shobita Parthasarathy is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Chicago, and MA and PhD degrees in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University. Her research focuses on the intersection of science and democracy in comparative perspective (primarily in the US, Europe, and more recently, India). She is the author of numerous articles and a book, Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press). This book, which influenced the 2013 Supreme Court on the patentability of human genes, demonstrated how national context shaped the development of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer in the United States and Britain. Her second book, Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and Morality in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press), demonstrates how and why, despite over 100 years of international technical and legal harmonization, the United States and Europe think quite differently about patents and their governance. Her new project focuses on efforts to foster grassroots and rural innovation in India, and particularly their implications for women and lower caste individuals.

Panel Detail

Friday, April 8
9:20-10:50 AM

Panel A: The Politics of Big Science
Discussant: Sonja Schmid, PhD, Virginia Tech

By the mid-twentieth century, many scientific projects of the U.S. government included large-scale coordination and spending geared toward achieving grandiose visions. This panel reassesses the design logics and social values of “big science” in an effort to point the way forward.

Derek ParrottDrexel University – “Fusion Fantasy: The United States’ Enduring Commitment to Uncertain Energy Research”

Mel EulauVirginia Tech – “Sociotechnical Imaginaries and a Fusion Energy Ecosystem”

Nathan BollGeorge Washington University – “NASA Narratives: The Past and Future of Space Exploration”

Stephen MortonVirginia Tech – “Removing the Invisible Weight of Status Quo Privileging Instead a New Blended Social Conception Using Metaphor”



Panel B: Creating “Risky” Populations

Discussant: Mahmud Farooque, PhD, Arizona State University

As new technoscientific practices emerge, they often bring with them new configurations of risk at multiple societal levels. These papers seek to understand novel ways our technologies are creating and affecting our relationships and notions of safety.


Tarryn AbrahamsVirginia Tech – “Vaccine Hesitancy as a Manifestation of Risk Societies”

Richard HilbererVirginia Tech – “Cybersecurity and Normal Accidents:  Risk and Vulnerability in Cybersecurity”

Ariel LudwigVirginia Tech – “Mapping Risk: The Case of Predictive Policing”

Ronna PopkinColumbia University – “Variants of Significance? Constructions of Genetic Risk


11 a.m.-12:30 PM

Panel C: Mediated Identities and the Body

Discussant: Janet Abbate, PhD, Virginia Tech

Technoscientific artifacts often reflect our experiences with ourselves and communities while helping us to construct new identities. In this panel, the possibilities and constraints emerging from real and imagined technologies are investigated.


Devin ProctorGeorge Washington University – “Cybernetic Animism”

Kendall DarflerDrexel University – “Gamer identity and gender in video game communities”

Molly CrainGeorgetown University – “The Digital Gatekeeper:  How Personalized News Affects Political Perspectives and Civic Engagement”

Joshua EarleVirginia Tech – “Disappearing Bodies: Shared goals and shifting speech between Eugenics and Transhumanism”



Panel D: Values and Power in Technological Design

Discussant: Meg Leta Jones, PhD, Georgetown University

Never sited solely in scientists’ laboratories, technoscientific design processes incorporate the values of heterogenous social groups in inconspicuous and sometimes unpredictable ways. Whose values become incorporated, and how they are accepted or contested, need to be called to account.


Michael DickardDrexel University – “The Role of Values in Designing Algorithms around Health Data”

Lisa-Maria Nicola NeudertGeorgetown University – “The Internet as a Hegemonic Locus of Power On the Case of Facebook – A Theoretical Literature Synopsis and Systematical Case Study Evaluation”

  1. Alison KraemerJohns Hopkins University – “In Vitro Insubordination: Harvard Stem Cell Science and Government Control during the Bush-Obama Era”

Christopher MillerGeorgetown University – “Like a Language: Technology, Metaphor, and Law”


3:30-5 PM

Panel E: Knowledge Production and Participatory Design

Discussant: Abby Kinchy, PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The public’s capacity for active engagement in moments of technoscientific design and dispute is a recurrent theme in STS and STP scholarship. In this panel, the formation of emergent roles are examined.


Matthew SullivanUniversity of Michigan – “Imagining all the People: Public Engagement in Nanotechnology as a Unique Opportunity for Democratizing Science”

Ji Eun ParkKorea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – “Public Participation and Transparency in the Health Technology Assessment System of South Korea”

Amanda PhillipsVirginia Tech – “Good Mourning Baltimore: Activism, Governance, and the Interstate Highway Project”

Hined Rafeh and Liz OwensDrexel University – “Responsible Innovation and Stakeholder Evaluation of Smart Textiles”



Panel F: Image Creation and Perceptions of Reality

Discussant: Kelly Joyce, PhD, Drexel University

Visual representations have increasingly been afforded cultural primacy for their assumed power to “objectively” reveal truths about nature. For this reason, the ways in which images are contingent on sociocultural values and motives are of paramount importance.


Samantha FriedVirginia Tech – “Picking a Peck of Pickled Pixels: Negotiating Validity in Remotely Sensed Imagery”

Jen HendersonVirginia Tech – “The Forecaster of the Future and the Ethic of Accuracy: How Warning Technologies in the Late 20th Century Produced a “Prepared Public”

HeeWon KimSeoul National University – “Thyroid cancer and Ultrasound: The case of Korean Thyroid Cancer”

Joshua PenrodVirginia Tech – “Technological Knowledge: Issues of Epistemology in Neuromarketing

Saturday, April 9
9-10:30 AM

Panel G: Data, Design, and Technoscientific Governance
Discussant: Kevin Finneran, PhD, NAS

The proper role of government in organizing, administering, and policing our technologies is often subject to contentious debate. As rule maker and enforcer, how is the state affecting the actions of industry, shaping the contours of infrastructure, and using the data so many of our latest technologies depend on?

Donna ArtusyGeorgetown University – “Secret Evidence and its Legalities in an Evolving World of Intelligence and Cybersecurity”

Vishnupriya DasUniversity of Michigan – “Tracing the Development of India and China’s Big Data Governance Infrastructures”

Stephanie RoseGeorgetown University – “Communication Efficiencies: Utlizing Electromagnetic Spectrum for Wireless Broadband Services”

Patrick SullivanVirginia Tech – “The Volkswagen Emissions Cheating Scandal: “Normal Accident” of Result of “Practical Drift”?”


Panel H: New Movements in Art Technologies

Discussant: TBA

New and old technologies are being reimagined, reconfigured, and recombined in ways that alter our interactions with the world and each other. How does the interface between art and technoscientific artifacts enabling new constructions of the self, the built environment, and the ways we navigate the two?


Amanda ModellUniversity of California, Davis – “A Musical Taxonomy: Sorting Musics in Pandora’s Music Genome Project”

Laura WerthmannGeorgetown University – “Network Communities: An Art Technology”

Jerome HendricksUniversity of Illinois at Chicago – “Notions of Identity: Brokerage Technologies as Facilitators of Contemporary Authenticity”

Xiang ZhangGeorgetown University – “Retrieve and Analyze Spatial Data on Instagram: The Case of 2015 Paris Terror Attacks”

Yirong MaoGeorgetown University – “Illusion on the Timing of a Technological Revolution: Case Study of Movable-type Printing in China”

1:15-2:30 PM

Professional Development Panel

Nicholas Vonortas, The George Washington University

Tiffany Moore, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Ximena Hartsock, Phone2Action

David Alan GrierThe George Washington University


2:30-3:45 PM

Panel I: Regulating Environmental Relationships

Discussant: Barbara Allen, PhD, Virginia Tech

As the political will to institute effective environmental policies seems to alternately wax and wane, consensus on which plans and technological fixes will yield real results is difficult to achieve. Scholarly evaluations of policy effectiveness and efforts to reframe ethical logics are timely.


Gianna FernandezGeorge Washington University – “The Adoption of Renewable Energy Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation”

Natasha S.K.Syracuse University – “Keepers of the Future?: Women and Agricultural Technologies in the Himalayas”

Julia PuaschunderThe New School – “Intergenerational Climate Change Burden Sharing: The Economics of Climate Stability”


Panel J: Transnational Science and Policy

Discussant: Shobita Parthasarathy, PhD, University of Michigan

The “triple helix” of government, industry, and academia are increasingly interfacing with their international counterparts. Attempts to situate and examine the new and unintended outcomes positively inform our understandings of technoscientific design processes and policy considerations.


Zhuqing DingGeorgetown University – “The Telecommunications Privatization Reforms in Mexico and Brazil and Chinese FDI – A case study on Huawei’s foreign investment and its impact on Latin American market”

Sooa LeeGeorgia Institute of Technology – “A Multi-dimensional Approach to (South) Korean International Research Collaboration”

Cheer, Qinyuan ZhangUniversity College London – “The Decision-making Process of Nixon Administration’s Policy and Biological Weapons Convention”

King Yan Elizabeth TseGeorgetown University – “Mobile Payment Services: A Comparative Analysis of Security in the United States and the People’s Republic of China”


3:45-5 PM

Panel K: Institutional Logics of Knowledge Production

Discussant: Nicholas Vonortas, PhD, George Washington University

Local contexts unavoidably shape knowledge. At the institutional level, the normative patterns of research organization and reward systems have effects in need of on-going interrogation.


ElHassan ElSabry,  National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan – “Guiding Policy Making related to Open Access Issues”

Rafael Burgos-MirabalUniversity of Massachusetts – Amherst – “Agents of change in (inter-)discipline formation: the local institutionalization of polymer science at the University of Massachusetts”

Abdul AhmedVirginia Tech – “The Role of Economic Knowledge Production in Reform and Institutional Change”

Timothy “Mark” MillerVirginia Tech – “Building, Maintaining and Penetrating Boundaries: The Case of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM) in the 21st Century 2000-2015”


Panel L: Educational Environments and Policies

Discussant: TBA

The pursuit of effective education policy is a perennial hot-button issue. These works examine the ways educational processes and outcomes are being reimagined in domestic and international contexts.


Jilanne DoomGeorgetown University – “Robotics After Recess: A Call for Enhanced Human-Robot Interaction Focus in Early Education”

Merideth GarciaUniversity of Michigan – “Their Own Devices: Tracing Power Relations Through Classroom Technologies”

Katie CurielArizona State University – “Education Abroad as a Catalyst for Impactful Global Development: The Global Impact of the Missing Focus on the Re-entry Phase”

Marina YalonGeorgetown University – “Engaging with Edutainment: Household Surveys of Ubongo Kids Viewers in Tanzania”