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Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff Directory


Department Faculty

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    Janet Abbate

    Janet Abbate's work focuses on the history, culture, and policy issues of the internet and computing. Her book Inventing the Internet has become the standard reference on the history of the Internet. Recoding Gender: Women’s Changing Participation in Computing explores how gender has shaped computing and suggests how the experiences of female pioneers can inform current efforts to broaden participation in science and technology.

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    John Aggrey

    John K. Aggrey studies risk and infectious diseases, focusing on rural and urban populations in Africa. He has studied Ebola and COVID-19, most recently focusing on how communities construct a sense of risk and how social and political contexts shape emerging infectious diseases. John also investigates the vital role of human relationships in epidemic preparedness, challenging conventional models that overly rely on technological and logistical solutions.

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    Barbara L. Allen

    Barbara Allen’s research focuses on environmental justice, namely, participatory projects that engage the public in shaping environmental health science. She works with local communities in heavily polluted industrial regions in France and the U.S. to produce rigorous environmental health data that can assist residents in their advocacy for policy and regulatory change. In 2022, Professor Allen completed a decade-long public health project in France’s largest industrial region near the port of Marseille.

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    Daniel Breslau

    Daniel Breslau works at the intersection of Economic Sociology and Science and Technology Studies, with a focus on the sociology and politics of electricity markets. He is interested in the ways that the politics of climate and energy transition interact with the politics and science of market institutions. His has published widely on the history and sociology of the social sciences, particularly on their role in the formation of modern institutions.

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    James Collier

    Lane Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061,

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    Matthew R. Goodrum

    Matthew Goodrum's research focuses on the history of paleoanthropology and theories of human origins. He investigate the relationships between the natural sciences, such as geology and biology, and human sciences such as anthropology and archaeology.

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    Monamie Bhadra Haines

    Monamie Bhadra Haines’s internationally comparative work examines technopolitics, activism and how they might illuminate the workings of nonliberal democracy in the areas of energy transitions and pandemic management in the so-called Global South. She also pursues comparative research on pedagogical practices in European engineering education.

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    Saul Halfon

    Saul Halfon works in the political sociology of science and technology, with a focus on the technical and sense-making practices of policy institutions, conceptions and mechanisms of public engagement, and practices of interdisciplinarity. His primary research emphasizes controversial science and technology issues, and the relations between authoritative and silenced voices in such disputes, leading to projects on international population policy, international GM food controversies, controversies over depleted uranium, and discursive practices in security and development policies. His current project focuses on the regulation of food risk and danger at the USDA.

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    Rebecca J. Hester

    Rebecca Hester's research examines the social, political, and scientific implications of preempting, preventing, and eradicating "biological danger." She is currently working on a book project that asks what and who constitutes biological danger in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The answer she comes up with has less to do with commonly identified threats-viruses, laboratory leaks, and spillover events- and more to do with the "pathogenic entanglements" between our scientific understandings of infectious disease, inflammatory environments, and long-standing social inequities.

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    Cora Olson

    Cora Olson's research has two key strands: the intertwined construction of biomedical knowledge and morality and critical STS pedagogical practices. She is currently in the process of transitioning out of COVID related research back into sports related research within the first strand. In the second strand, she is working on projects related to how critical STS is practiced at Virginia Tech.

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    Christine Labuski

    Christine Labuski's research and teaching are organized around two primary areas of inquiry: sexualities and how sexualities become medicalized, and; gender and climate/environmental justice, with an emphasis on feminist energy systems, queer ecologies, and the gender politics of fossil fuel boomtowns.

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    Philip R. Olson

    Philip Olsen's work engages with bioethics and body studies, death studies, women’s and gender studies, and social epistemology. He is currently working on writing projects related to public deathcare policy and the environment. He has worked with graduate students on a variety of topics, including death studies and material culture, cultural studies of diamonds, technology and religion, electronic medical records, cultural and political theory, healthcare ethics, epistemology, and several other topics.

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    Fabian Prieto-Nañez

    Fabian Prieto-Nañez's research and teaching focuses on the history of technologies in the Global South, particularly through the lens of media devices and infrastructures. His dissertation focused on ideas of piracy, informality and illegality in the use of early satellite dishes in the Caribbean, particularly in Colombia. He also had worked on histories of computing in Latin America.

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    Fernanda R. Rosa

    Fernanda R. Rosa is currently working on her second book project whose narrative builds a bridge between technical debates on internet interconnection infrastructure and social justice to examine internet governance and design from the standpoint of the global South. Using an original method defined as code ethnography, and a transdisciplinary lens founded on science and technologies studies, decolonial and feminist studies, the book sheds light on the information circulation infrastructure of the internet with a design justice and policy approach. It situates the reader in indigenous and Latin American contexts to problematize the inequalities in the access to internet infrastructure and the values embedded in information circulation infrastructure of the internet. Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Tseltal and Zapoteco sovereign territories are the fieldwork sites of this study.

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    Sonja D. Schmid

    Sonja Schmid's research includes examining the interface of national energy policies, technological choices, and nonproliferation concerns. Her most recent NSF-supported research project examined the challenges of globalizing nuclear emergency response. She teaches courses in social studies of technology, science and technology policy, socio-cultural studies of risk, energy policy, and nuclear nonproliferation.

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    Ashley Shew

    Ashley Shew participates in the STS PhD program, the Medicine & Society minor, the Disability Studies minor, the Bioethics graduate certificate, and Integrative Graduate Education Program on Regenerative Medicine as an associate professor. Her main areas of interest are philosophy of technology, emerging technologies, animal studies, bioethics and disability studies.

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    Lee Vinsel

    Lee Vinsel studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His current work focuses on the production of Peoples & Things, a podcast featuring interviews with the world’s leading figures in the empirical study of technology and society, and his book project, A Good History of $#%@ Jobs, which examines why so many households in the United States can barely make ends meet.

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    Matthew Wisnioski

    Matthew Wisnioski studies the interplay between expertise and imagination in science, technology, and innovation. Through historical and ethnographic research, his work has explored the relationship between engineering activism in the 1960s and broad transformations in the meaning of technology; how scientists, engineers, and designers collaborate; and how “innovation” came to shape American life over the 20th and 21st centuries. An advocate for transdisciplinary critical participation, he has collaborated in a multiyear initiative to reimagine and remake engineering education at Virginia Tech and developed innovative STS courses that aim to cultivate reflective practitioners. He is currently exploring the role of multimedia in the rise of “STEM” education via a history of The Magic School Bus.

Contributing Faculty

Name Position Office Phone Email
Mark Barrow Professor, History 431 Major Williams Hall             
Monique Dufour Collegiate Assistant Professor, History
403 Major Williams Hall 540-231-8307
Richard Hirsh Professor, History
423 Major Williams Hall
Timothy Luke University Distinguished Professor, Political Science
539 Major Williams Hall 540-231-6633
David Tomblin Program Director, Science, Technology, and Society, U Maryland, College Park
Name Position Office Phone Email
Nick Copeland Associate Professor, History 428 Major Williams Hall 540-231-8839
Cara Daggett Associate Professor, Political Science Major Williams Hall
Maaz Gardezi Assistant Professor, Sociology 518 McBryde Hall 540-231-2765
Liora Goldensher Assistant Professor, Sociology 668 McBryde Hall
Mark L. Hineline Independent Scholar Flagstaff, Arizona 928-856-4641

Sylvester Johnson 

Professor and Director of the Center for the Humanities

315 Lane Hall 


Melanie Kiechle Associate Professor, History
417 Major Williams Hall
Yanna Lambrinidou Independent Scholar
Lisa McNair Professor, Engineering Education 371 Goodwin Hall 540-231-1144
Patrick Roberts Associate Professor   202-599-0562
Lydia Patton Professor, Philosophy
231 Major Williams Hall
Kelly Pender Professor and Department Chair, English 306 Shanks Hall
Thomas Staley Associate Professor
445 Old Turner Street 540-231-7522
Robert P. Stephens Associate Professor 439 Major Williams Hall 
Daniel Sui VP for Research and Innovation 340 Burruss Hall 540-231-6077
Tyechia Thompson Assistant Professor, English 212 Shanks Hall
Paroma Wagle Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning 201 Architecture Annex
Anna Zeide Associate Professor, History 429 Major Williams Hall
Qin Zhu Associate Professor, Engineering Education 354 Goodwin Hall


Name Position Office Phone Email
Ann La Berge
Associate Professor Emerita
Richard Burian Professor Emeritus
Eileen Crist Associate Professor Emerita
Gary Downey Alumni Distinguished Professor
Ellsworth Fuhrman Professor
Joseph Pitt Professor, Philosophy
237 Major Williams 
Doris Zallen Professor


Name Position Office Phone Email
Cynthia Peecher Budget Manager 123 Lane Hall           
Carol Sue Slusser Graduate/Undergraduate Coodinator 121 Lane Hall 540-231-0719
Ashley Snider Office Manager
122 Lane Hall
Blake Smith IT Manager 323 Lane Hall