05 Oct

Equity in Practice: How Technicians, Students, and Communities Contribute to Scientific Research

October 5, 2021
12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Caitlin Wylie

Collaboration is a crucial part of science and comes in many forms. One might assume that research collaborations are primarily between scientists, but other members of research teams make key contributions that are often overlooked or taken for granted. For example, technicians, undergraduate students, and community members contribute wide-ranging knowledge, diverse perspectives, and refreshingly open-minded questions and ideas to research teams. Based on her sociological studies of technicians in paleontology, undergraduates in engineering, and a research team of Arctic residents and environmental scientists, Dr. Wylie demonstrates the critical importance of inclusive research teams. Paying attention to everyone who participates in research enriches how one thinks about collaboration, science, and what is worth knowing.

Caitlin Wylie is an assistant professor of Science, Technology, and Society in UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and an assistant professor at the School of Data Science. As a social scientist, she investigates how people create and interpret data, design research tools and techniques, and construct knowledge in science and engineering. She uses interviews and participant observation to study overlooked collaborators on research teams, such as technicians, students, and volunteers. She teaches engineering students how to assess the social and ethical dimensions of technology and professional work, so that they can design safe, equitable, and successful sociotechnical systems.