Technoscience as Activism

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Plenary Speakers

Dr. Juan E. Gilbert is an IDEaS Professor and Chair of the Human-Centered Computing Division in the School of Computing at Clemson University where he leads the HCC Lab. He is also a Professor in the Automotive Engineering Department at Clemson University. Dr. Gilbert is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement Science (AAAS), an ACM Distinguished Scientist, National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies, an ACM Distinguished Speaker and a Senior Member of the IEEE Computer Society. In 2011, Dr. Gilbert was given a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring by President Barack Obama.


Sara Wylie, Shannon Dosemagen, and Mathew Lippincott are staff members of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS). The core PLOTS program is focused on “civic science”. PLOTS’ goal is to increase the ability of under-served communities to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns. PLOTS achieves this by providing online and offline training,education and support, and by focusing on locally-relevant outcomes that emphasize human capacity and understanding. Sara Wylie is Director of Toxics and Health Research and was the Co-Director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media ExtrAct Project. She received her PhD from MIT’s History Anthropology Science Technology and Society department, and serves as part-time faculty in the RISD Digital+Media Department. Her B.A. is from University of Chicago. Shannon Dosemagen is the Director of Community Engagement, Education and Outreach; Researcher and Ethnographer at Louisiana State University Anthropology and Geography Department; was the Oil Spill Response Coordinator for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade 2009-11 and a Grassroots Mapping Gulf Coast Coordinator. She received her M.S. in Anthropology in 2009. Matthew Lippincott is the Director of Production in Education, an artist and designer. He is also the co-founder of Cloacina; and a partner at Biluna Birotunda Design. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College.


Call For Papers

This conference seeks new approaches to interweaving social justice and science/technology. Some that are already known include DIY and “maker” communities, Open Source Science, “Technologies for Non-violent Social Change,” and other new hybrid forms of collaboration that put technoscience in the hands of non-experts, local communities, indigenous groups and the less powerful. Typical approaches to “ethics in science” treat ethics as a police officer that operates at the borders, slapping science on the wrist when it over-steps. How can we treat ethics instead as a pro-active force, integrated from the start? Social scientists studying scientific controversy may know very little about the particulars of the science, and the scientist embroiled within the controversy may not know very much about the dynamics of communities or the relations of power between experts and the public. This conference will highlight ways to provoke engineers, social scientists, and the educators of future thinkers into considering new and innovative methods of merging social and technical dimensions of science and engineering research, teaching and practice. It will contribute to the possibilities for a “two way bridge” across the lay/expert divide; one in which social justice is informed by technoscience and not just technoscience informed by social justice. To this end, we are looking for papers and proposed panels that can discuss transformative possibilities for every level of making science, scientists, technology, engineers, and knowledge. Existing categories in which pertinent (and important) discussions are taking place are, but is not limited to, K-12 STEM education, advanced pedagogy in the natural/physical/life sciences, ethics, public engagement/understanding of science, theoretical and social studies on information and communication technology, political sociology of science, Science and Technology Studies, appropriating technology, feminist studies, emerging nanotechnology, postcolonial studies, engineering education, urban studies, and experimental art.

Proceedings: We are happy to announce TAA has teamed up with the open-access journal Psychnology, to publish a selection of papers submitted to the conference. Full papers will be expected by September 1st.Notice of acceptance into the journal will be in December.

What: We are accepting 250-word abstracts for presentations made by individuals, to be placed into themed panels. We are also looking for hands-on workshop format presentations or activities to be done in groups by people with a variety of technical and social expertise. Workshop sessions can be submitted by individuals or groups. Limited travel reimbursement may be available. Childcare is available, for a fee, from the Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center.

Who: Hosted by RPI’s Triple Helix Program funded by the NSF GK-12 grant

Where: RPI Campus, Troy, New York

When: June 27-29, 2012

Contact info:

  • For general inquiries and presentation abstracts: David Banks-  Twitter: @da_banks
  • For workshop inquiries: Kirk Jalbert-
  • Logistics, scheduling, and registration: Vicki Brock-
  • Follow the Conference twitter account: @TAA2012

Field trip to RPI

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Photo Gallery

Twenty-four eighth grade students from North Albany Academy, a K-8 school in the Albany school district, visited Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They participated in four major themes, “What is college?”, “Smart Lighting”, “Turning Ideas into Reality,” and “Tour of campus.” 3Helix fellow, Chris Shing with help from teacher pair Kerry Welcome organized the outing. The goal of the day was to enhance student’s awareness about higher education opportunities through demonstrating examples of cutting-edge research impact and by identifying associated career paths . A student life panel consisting of four current RPI students spoke about their college experience and answered questions.

Student Agenda

Welcome to RPI, North Albany Academy!

Jobs Counts

Translating Ideas into Reality

How to make Bucky Balls (aka Hexastrip Weaving)
Additional Activities and Online Resources
Preparing for College

Feedback and comments on activities
Read more in fellow Chris Shing’s blog

At the end of the visit students were asked to fill out an exit survey (included in Appendix A).  Of the 24 students who came, 15 students responded to the survey.  Survey Responses from NAA visit.