Welcome to Introduction to STS. I look forward to working with each of you. My name is Jim Collier. The more or less "official" details of background reside on my department web page. In looking at the page, if you have any interest in the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, please let me know. I am very excited to be co-teaching our course with Sonja. On the more personal front, my partner, Monique Dufour just defended her dissertation and will be teaching for STS and History this year. We dearly love, and have dedicated songs to, our cat—Spenser (and you have to post a cat picture on the interwebs, no?):


I am a great fan of progressive bluegrass music, or new acoustic music, in particular the band New Grass Revival. Ah, 1980's bluegrass … Enjoy! And, again, welcome to the class.

Hi everyone, I am Jim's co-instructor, Sonja Schmid. I am thrilled to teach this class again, in an improved, exciting new incarnation!

You can find my departmental website here, and for those of you in Northern Virginia (and anyone else interested really), I recommend visiting the STS-in-NoVA website — ours until the new website goes live — for, er, mostly up-to-date information on courses, mentoring sessions, and other noteworthy announcements.

I am currently serving as director of the Northern Virginia STS Program (Janet Abbate will take over January 1), a result of having managed to put a few big hurdles behind me in recent months (my book, and tenure, mostly). My new research project on globalizing nuclear emergency response (funded by NSF) will soon get much-needed support by a postdoctoral fellow, and I welcome you all to join one or more of the associated seminars (SIREN) this Fall. The first event will take place on October 13, and I'll update you once the rest of the schedule firms up.

Welcome! Here is to a great semester.

Hello, my name is Elijah C. Salters, III.

I am a Software/Systems Engineer at MITRE Corporation. MITRE Corporation is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center. As an employee of MITRE, I support a variety of Federal Agencies in the design and development of their Information Technology (IT) systems. I am an advisor/consultant to the government with a mission of protecting the interest of the government and our taxpayers.

I am also a retired Army Signal Core Reservist. As a reservist, my 27 years of service included serving as an enlisted soldier as well as an Army Signal Officer. I am a war veteran for both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As a Civilian
My civilian experience includes over 20 years as a Software/Systems Engineer for several commercial entities that includes Xerox and Eastman Kodak Corporations.
My hobbies are:

  1. Cars
  2. Fishing
  3. Photography
  4. Videography

Personal Life
My wife and I will celebrate our 23rd anniversary this coming September. We are also the proud parents of a son who currently attends Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Master of Science in Software Development and Project Management from Rochester Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from South Carolina State University.

Hi, I am Jonathan Banda, a first-year PhD student in STS. I recently completed an MA in Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. My primary areas of interest within STS are biopolitics, the history of medicine and public health, social medicine, and critical race, gender and sexuality studies. My current work looks at the social implications of new HIV/AIDS prevention technologies in the US, such as the HIV rapid self-test and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and how they are involved in shaping citizen practices and moral systems. My CV and academic profile can be accessed here.

Besides graduate school, I try to spend time with my cat Jude (pictured below). He was named after Judith Butler, one of my favorite social theorists. I also collect vinyl records (mostly 60's-70's soul) and dabble in the arts, mostly linocut prints.


Hey, I'm Rich Hilberer.

I'm a PhD student and I'm coming up on three years in the program and will be completing my course work this semester. I came to this class via 21 years in the Marine Corps working primarily in Air Command and Control and Intelligence and a BA in Foreign Service and International Politics, MA in Military Studies, MA in Airpower Arts and Science, MS in Information Systems and Services.

I currently work as a consultant for several DoD agencies on a variety of S&T projects.

I have several hobbies that I don't have time for but I do have a collection of cool stuff in my garage that never gets used (mountain bikes, kayaks, hiking gear). I am the Crew Adviser for Venture Crew 43 so I do get to do some interesting things there. It also gives me an excuse to spend some quality time with my kids.

I've been married almost 25 years (this next anniversary is going to cost me big time) and I have two daughters. My oldest just started at Penn State in Aerospace Engineering and my youngest is a rising junior with no clue what she wants to study after high school.

My work right now is focused on agency response to the insider threat as a form of digital activism supported by a global social movement.

Hi, I'm Anita Mbogoni, and I'm a first year masters student in STS. My interests in STS are mainly in bioethics, biomedical ethics, and social medicine. I haven't quite narrowed down a research topic yet, but I'll probably be looking at problems related to access to (affordable or otherwise) healthcare in developing countries. I come to Virginia Tech from Cornell University, where I earned by BS in Biology and Society, a concentration within the biology major that worked closely with the STS department there. I also did an STS minor, so I have a bit of a background in the field.

I don't have a cat to post cute pictures of, but I am considering adopting a puppy. I also have several hobbies, including musical performance - mainly on saxophone and clarinet, though I'm also learning the oboe and occasionally strum a ukulele - hiking, blogging, and reading up on British history and politics (both historical and current).

Hi, I'm Michael Martin, and I am taking this class as a Commonwealth Student. I am currently a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research at the Department of Energy. I took this position after giving faculty life a try, and deciding I was more interested in getting to see a different picture. (I'm not sure how to break it to my former PhD students that I'm taking classes!) I am interested in STS for the science policy perspective. I don't have a specific set of interests right now- I'm just trying to take everything in during the class. I have a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, an MA in Asian Studies, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (all from Michigan), and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida.

My hobbies include hiking, scuba, and travel. I'll work on getting a cat picture just to fit in…

Russ Rochte here. I am in my second (and final) semester of Commonwealth Campus student status at NCR, and will be applying to the real program in time for the Spring semester. My intent is to persevere to Ph.D.; my as-yet poorly defined STS interests probably lie at the intersection of communications technology and religious expression, although I'm not settled on that. I have an A.B. (History) from Univ of Michigan, an MS (Management) from Troy Univ (Alabama), and a much more recent MA (American History) from George Mason Univ. I've also done post-graduate work in information security (since I am also a CISSP) and systematic theology (since I was for several years a Certified Speaker for the United Methodist Church). I retired from the US Army after 25+ years of active commissioned service. I now work for the National Intelligence University, where I am teaching faculty in the School of Science & Technology Intelligence. My course portfolio includes both graduate and undergraduate offerings in information power & national security; propaganda analysis; political warfare; globalization, S&T Intelligence; thesis advising; and sundry others. I am married to a woman who is much more intelligent than I am (28 years and counting) and have five children ranging in age from 25 down to my post-deployment blessing who is now 12. Accordingly, I haven't the time or the money to have hobbies, but if I did, I would still golf, hunt & fish, play fast pitch softball, and pretend I was once a musician (violin, viola, tenor voice, and choral and orchestral conducting).


Hi, I my name is Ariel Ludwig and I am a first-year transfer student here at Virginia Tech. I earned a bachelor degree in English Literature from Kenyon College. After completing Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, I earned a Masters in Public Health at Yale University where I was able to engage in the study of documentary film. I created a documentary film thesis on the challenges faced by those leaving prisons and jails. I have worked in correctional health and reentry for several years and am particularly interested in the intersections of health, the criminal justice system, and surveillance. I have a wonderful dog named Lilly who is a pit-bull/ Chihuahua/ beagle mix. That's right apparently these things are possible. I will work on uploading a photo of her.

Hi All, I am Amanda Phillips, a first year Ph.D. Student. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech I earned my bachelor degree in Music History from Bennington College and a MA from NYU where I studied Digital Media and Popular Culture. My thesis looked at internet communities that were developed around the collection of photos and videos taken backstage at Disney World. It explored the how boundaries of public and private space shift when brought into the digital realm.

I am here at Virginia Tech to explore the technological culture of the US interstate system. I'm tentatively calling this project an ethnography of infrastructure because I want to understand how national ideology, technical innovations, and policy decisions have created a larger culture of technological infrastructure. I hope to continue on threads of ideas discussed in MA thesis of how space, design shape how people can use specific spaces.

In my free time I am a trapeze performer. I had been teaching when living in New Jersey, but alas Blacksburg is devoid of an aerials specific studio. As for now I have a rig in my backyard I try to get on in between classes.

Hello All,

My name is Katelyn Kuhl. I'm originally from Michigan and went to undergrad at Wheaton College (IL). I studied international relations and history. I've lived in Washington, D.C. for 6 years and have worked at NASA Headquarters for 5. I work in the Office of International and Interagency Relations. I'm basically like a desk officer with a portfolio of countries and programs. The bulk of my work is the International Space Station.

This is my first semester officially in the VT STS masters program, though this is my 6th course overall. I'm taking one class every semester and slowly, but enjoyably, working through my masters.

I don't have any pets to share photos of (I live in a tiny studio apartment), but I appreciate your photos! I'm still trying to figure out how to post a photo here.


Hi all! my name is Pratama Yudha Pradheksa and I am a first year master student in STS with the Fulbright scholarship. I have trained in Sociology at the University of Brawijaya Indonesia, where I work as an assistant lecturer. My interests in STS are religion and technology, disaster studies, energy transition, nuclear technology, politics identity and Southeast Asian studies. My prospective research thesis is the intersection of the sociology of religion and scientific controversy in Indonesia’s nuclear power controversy after the fatwa haram.

In my free time, I am going to rock and metal music concerts, taking photos, traveling to remote areas.

Hi everyone — I'm Lisa Shaler-Clark. I'm midway through my STS studies, and particularly interested in the role of users and democratizing innovation. The concept of users shaping technology as technology shapes users resonates with me. My first master's degree was at MIT in the Management of Technology, and my second master's was in national security. My current work involves Big Data IT project implementation. An earlier job that I really enjoyed was doing technology transfer for the MIT Institute of Soldier Nanotechnologies. When not in DC, I enjoy traveling in the American West and in Europe, including Poland and the Czech Republic. My travels to Japan and China raised my interest in learning more about those ancient and modern cultures. I'm interested in getting to know all of you.
P.S. We have a new puppy which makes our older dog happy — plenty of puppy stories to share!
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