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Graduate Students

Blacksburg Students

Tarryn Abrahams

Ranald Adams

Second year Ph.D. student focusing on Stasi Operational Decomposition, Psychological Warfare, and the Internet of Things. While studying History and Philosophy at SUNY New Paltz, a professor claimed that Jewish theologian Maimonides was the last person to know everything; he hopes to prove his professor wrong.

Sehrish Atlaf

Second year Master's student and a Fulbright Scholar interested in Philosophy of technology, AI and Internet-based cultures and economization of digital currencies.

Venus Azamnia

Dhritiman Barman

I am a third-year PhD student at the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. I am studying the unfolding and making of the legal cannabis market in Southwest Virginia. When not doing STS, I like to read conservative, far-right, and fascist philosophers. I am currently reading Italian traditionalist Philosopher and thinker Julius Evola. 

Panita Chatikavanij

Ralisa Dawkins

Ralisa Dawkins is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (STS). The skills and experience acquired throughout her academic life shaped her research interests. Such interest surrounds exploring:

  • the relationship between persons living with a Disability and Artificial Intelligent (AI) systems, devices, and tools.
  • how situating people with disabilities within the field of AI from a point of influence and expertise may shape the relationship between technology and society.
  • capturing the controversies surrounding AI systems and people with disabilities in the context of the global north and south divide.

The different academic skills, professional and first-hand experiences obtained over the years forms the basis for the need to often explain the significance of disability inclusion in the creation of a fair and just society.

Danielle DuChesne

Lyndon Frommer

Lyndon is a 3rd year Ph.D. student. His research lands in the intersection of trans studies, medical studies, and economics. However, do not ask him to do any economic forecasting (number crunching) for gender affirmative medicine because he does not do that kind of work. Prior to coming to VT, he did his undergraduate and master's in STS and Integrated Social Sciences, respectively, at Arizona State University (yes, I am far from home). In his spare time, he likes to go on hikes and runs with his dog Scout, goes rock climbing (it's a new hobby), plays D&D, and spends time with friends (new slots are always open). 

Kendall Giles

Kendall is a PhD student in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society and a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests include epistemic practices and risk in sociotechnical systems, unintended consequences in technology designs, and engineering translation."

Hannah Herdegen

Hanna Herdegen is a PhD student in the department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. She holds an MS from Georgia Tech in the History and Sociology of Science and Technology and an MS from Virginia Tech in Science, Technology, and Society. Her interests include the social history of medicine, the history of diagnostic technology, and the rhetoric of science and technology.

Hesam Hosseinpour

Ke Hu

Ke Hu is a dedicated 6th-year PhD candidate with a research focus on innovation studies, food studies, and critical app literatures. Her work delves into the transformative impact of technology on our food consumption habits, both present and future. Prior to joining the program, she had a career as a freelance journalist.

Pratyusha Kiran

Theo Lazzari

Theo is a first-year PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Society department as well as an author. Theo did his undergraduate work in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Russian and Eurasian Studies, and German at Colgate University. He just released his first poetry book, Ele-Mental through Spinning Monkey Press. In his spare time, he likes to go on walks with his dog Bex, read, write, and spend time with friends.

Jack Leff

I’m Jack R Leff (he/him), my dissertation is on the spatial and epistemic biopolitics of tear gas. I have a background in continental philosophy and applied ethics (M.S.) and cellular/molecular biology (B.S.), which form the backdrop for my interdisciplinary work. I’m an active political organizer interested in prison abolition and carceral technologies. Please feel free to shoot me an email ( to get in touch, I am always excited to meet other people interested in social movement engaged scholarship.

Taylor Loy

Taylor Loy brings a diverse academic/professional background to the problems of nonproliferation. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Science, Technology, & Society (STS) at Virginia Tech. His dissertation research focuses on tritium, a unique and ephemeral radioactive isotope that readily transgresses established boundaries between civilian/military and natural/technological domains. He has presented tritium-related research at the Society for History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Conference (co-authored with Sonja Schmid) and The Future of Disarmament Workshop (University of Glasgow). After competitive application processes, he has also attended two prominent workshops: the Public Policy and Nuclear Threats (PPNT) Bootcamp 2022 and the New Era Workshop (NEW) 2023 with Bridging the Gap. Most recently, he published a policy brief as part of the Nuclear Futures Working Group with New America, “Speculating on Tritium Futures: Why Defense Material Should Fuel Fusion Innovation,” which considers opportunities for harmonizing global decarbonization and nonproliferation goals along the material axis of tritium.

Before returning to graduate school to pursue a PhD, he worked in the nuclear power industry for over six years in operations and training. During that time, he started out as an assistant unit operator trainee and progressed to a senior reactor operator certified instructor for initial license training. Taylor holds graduate degrees (MA/MS) in English and STS from Virginia Tech. In 2021, he completed a cross-disciplinary graduate certificate in Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy (NSTP).

Brian Lutgens

Savannah Mandel

Savannah is a fourth year PhD Candidate and author. Her background is in anthropology with a focus on anthropological studies of technological systems. Much of her work has been on the politics of outer space and futurism. In her spare time, Savannah writes for popular outlets and publishes trade non-fiction.

Constance McCormack

James McGrath

CAPT Jamie McGrath, USN(ret), retired from the US Navy after 29 years as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer. He is now the Director of the Major General W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development at Virginia Tech, an adjunct professor for the US Naval War College, and a first year PhD student in STS. Passionate about using history to inform today, his area of focus is US naval history, 1919 to 1945, with emphasis on the inter-war period, and he is currently exploring the impact of technology on naval fleet design and construction.  He holds a Bachelor's in History from Virginia Tech, a Master's in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, and a Master's in Military History from Norwich University.

Mary McGuire

Micheal Meindl

Michael J. Meindl is a PhD candidate with a focus on the intersection of animation/screen media and the history of technology. His dissertation work centers on Disney's multiplane camera. He has an MFA in Dramatic Media and a MA and BA in Theatre Studies. He is an Associate Professor of Media Production at Radford University, where he also acts as Director of the Cinema and Screen Studies Program. He has worked on a number of non-fiction media projects, has published essays and articles in a variety of sources, and has presented at regional, national, and international conferences. He serves on the governing board for the Society for Animation Studies, where he also acts as the chair for the Science, Technology, and Animation special interest group.

Morgan Moore

My name is Morgan Moore and I am a first-year PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Society department here at Virginia Tech. I am a career Hokie thus far, having graduated with a BS in Microbiology in Spring 2023. During my undergraduate degree, I developed a passion for studying matters at the intersection of biology and sociology through my (STS) Medicine and Society minor. I plan to continue along this trajectory in our program by focusing on social determinants of health. 

Margaret Morris

Hello, my name is Maggie Morris and I am a first-year PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Society department at Virginia Tech. This past spring I graduated from Virginia Tech with a major in International Trade and Development and a minor in Science, Technology, and Society. I am looking forward to joining this department and pursuing my passions through academia!

Ariyan Nazemi

Ariyan is a Ph.D. student in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Holding master's degrees in Computer Science from Stockholm University and IT Engineering with a concentration in E-commerce, Ariyan's academic journey began with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction before transitioning to the STS community. Currently, his research interests encompass a broad spectrum, including AI Ethics and its societal implications, Governing Innovation and Advanced Technology, Human Life Technology, and epistemic practices in computer simulation. Ariyan's scholarly pursuits also extend to various subjects within STS, ranging from Epistemology to the History of Technology and Innovations. With a passion for interdisciplinary exploration, Ariyan is interested to advancing knowledge and understanding in the intersection of technology and society.

Lois Xuan-Huong Nguyen

Lois Nguyen is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society. Her research focuses on multispecies ethics, nature-based solutions and technologies, and theories of displacement. She is interested in ecofeminist approaches to thinking ecologically about spatial and technical arrangements. She has served as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies and as an instructor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Prior to doctoral studies, she worked in landscape architecture and urban design firms and public gardens as a designer and horticulturist. Lois earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture with a Distinction in Research from Cornell University. In addition to the PhD in STS, she is pursuing a graduate certificate in Bioethics. 

Foster Oduro Kissi

I am Foster Oduro Kissi, a graduate of the University of Ghana with a Bachelor's in Geography, Resource Development, and Political Science. 
For four years, I worked with Ghana's National Youth Authority and Nation Builders Corps to advance youth and national development. 
I am interested in exploring the nexus between technology and youth ingenuity in the promotion of sustainable development in Africa

Roan Parrish

Andrew Rosenthal

I graduated from Drexel University in 2021 with a bachelor's in political science. From 2020 to 2023, I worked with Professor Alison Kenner as a team member on the Energy Rights Project where we studied energy vulnerability in Philadelphia. My research interests include energy justice, energy vulnerability, and grassroots governance. 

Oliver Shuey

Oliver (he/him) is a 2nd year PhD student. He studies how engineering knowledge establishes and reinforces systemic inequities within the field. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY with a minor in STS. Oliver’s undergraduate work focused on the array of engineering student experiences, specifically during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Prior to grad school he worked as a Mechanical Engineer in the construction industry, specializing in HVAC systems design. His current research incorporates ideas from engineering studies, philosophy of technology, and queer and feminist theories to argue for a Queer Feminist Engineering Studies.

Tsung-Yen Tsou

Tsung-Yen Tsou is a third-year Ph.D. student whose research focuses on the governance of marine plastic pollution, specifically microplastics. 

Kulash Zhumadilova

Kulyash’s primary research interest is the history and philosophy of molecular biology. She likes to read broadly and be outside exploring Nature around Blacksburg.   

Northern Virginia Students

Brandon Abley

Abdurahm Ahmed

Micheal Beach

Leo Campos

William Carroll

Jen Carter

Jennifer Carter is a Ph.D Candidate and author. Her background is in biological science with a focus on animal science and STS. Her current research interests are in the study of the canine microbiome and its relation to the immune system, the history of the dog food industry, nutritionism and the making of modern pet foods and the industry’s social influence on the culture of feeding dogs. She works full time as a certified canine nutritionist for a dog food company, competes with her dogs in the obedience ring, scent work, canine obstacle course races and canicross. She is also currently writing a book on the role of nutrition in the rehabilitation of dogs. 

Kyle Conley

Kathleen Danskin

Sarah Denton

Shiloh Dorgan

Laura Gazda

After 23 years in pre-K-12 education, as a teacher and Principal, I took the plunge to go back to a passion of mine: science and technology, by becoming the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, and to study STS as a Ph.D. student and triple Hokie (current student, employee, and alum).  I graduated in 2000 from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Philosophy, in 2002 from Marymount University, with a Masters in Secondary Education, concentration in English Language and Literature, and in 2017 with a graduate certificate from JMU in Pre-K-12 Supervision and Administration. To support my work at CCI, my research is centered around cybersecurity and 6G/Next Generation wireless, which explores the history, policy, ethics, infrastructures, and technological imaginaries surrounding the topic.  

Maria Gomez

Ryan Hauser

Ryan Hauser is pursuing an MS in STS through Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia campus. He is interested in the interdisciplinary study of risk, rationality, and social norms in emerging technology and science policy. He works as a writer and editor in Washington, DC.

Matthew Hurley

Retired U.S. Army Infantry & Special Operations officer currently living in Alexandria, VA and serving as a portfolio development professional for a mid-sized aerospace & defense company. Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2012 and earned an MBA from the Darden School of Business (University of Virginia) in May, 2022. Passionate about the development of cutting-edge technologies and the responsible fielding of mission-enhancing capabilities for federal end-users. Since separating from the military in 2020, spent the past three years oscillating between public-sector and private-sector entities within the national security innovation ecosystem. Long-term goal is to provide leadership to government and commercial enterprises that both benefit from and contribute to the conscientious advancement of S&T. Enjoying my journey as a member of the VT STS community, pursuing the M.S. before taking a pause from my studies, and set to earn my master's degree in May, 2024.

Linda Jantzen

I discovered STS through an Army buddy and got my masters in 2018 while on active duty.  Now working on a PhD, I'm very interested in data science and how data scientists operate "in the wild," specifically how scientific cultures intersect with military culture. When I'm not reading, writing, or teaching I enjoy cooking, camping, and paddle boarding.

Cheri Johnson

Jeremy Leader

Robert McGinnis

Kevin McPeak

Monica Mellini

Timothy Mark Miller

Roy Monfort

Stephan Morton

Michael Nicholson

Bunyakiat Petri

Renae Rohde

Renae is a first-year PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Society department at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia campus. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland (with applied mathematics and music minors) and a Master of Science in Data Analytics from University of Maryland Global Campus. Her research interests are in the area of AI Ethics, specifically in relation to automation algorithms and the way implicit bias and training data impact them.

Jonathan Rohmiller

Meredith Sattler

Tiffany Smith

Patrick Sullivan

Zia Tompkins

Brian Vagts

Brian Vagts is a graduate student in the Science and Technology Studies program at Virginia Tech. Prior to his current work in STS he obtained a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. in Education, both from George Mason University. His research interests are in the history of computer networking and the development of networked culture and behavior.

Nu Wang

Nyu (Nu) Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in the STS program at Virginia Tech, specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and policy. She is also a researcher in the STS program at MIT. Nyu Wang has published works on topics such as AI, robot judges, and social justice, collaborating with esteemed publishers including Palgrave Macmillan, IEEE, and the NYU AI Now Institute. In addition to her academic pursuits, Nyu has served at the World Bank Group and the United Nations. Her recent publications on AI justice, robot judges, and digital courts are available:

“Black Box Justice”: Robot Judges and AI-based Judgment Processes in China’s Court System

‘Intelligent Justice’: AI Implementations in China’s Legal Systems

“Intelligent Justice”: human-centered considerations in China’s legal AI transformation

Clifford Wilke