The Program in Science, Technology and Society

September 28, 2018
Alumni Newsletter

A Note from the STS Director

Hello STS Alumni,

This September, the STS team is excited about getting things underway for the 47th academic year for the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University. We have new students, instructors, and courses; we have returning majors and a continuing program of great educational opportunities. Among our new staff for this year, we’re delighted to welcome Joo Ae Chu as our Student Services Officer. Joo Ae joined us in the spring, after Sierra Vallin, who served the program well in that post for a number of years, took a position at MIT.

The academic year is kicking off in a most engaging way with the premiere of a new play on questions of identity written by our resident STS Writing Specialist and Creative Director/Playwright, Kevin DiPirro. The work, entitled “who/where am I project : the underworld,” is a site-specific, immersive, durational, and participatory theater piece that will have performances at The Nitery in Old Union at 7:00 October 4-6, 2018, and 2:00 October 6, 2018. 

On the international stage, Dr. Kyoko Sato will be continuing her collaboration with Université Paris Descartes and Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne on the theme of “Nuclear Governance after Hiroshima: Atoms for War and Peace in Japan, France, and the United States 1945-1970.” For this third year, after meetings at Stanford and in Paris, the participants are considering Tokyo to bring it all together. The work is funded by the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Partner University Fund of FACE (French-American Cultural Exchange) Foundation.

Yet another highlight of the year is the celebration of Robert E. McGinn’s contributions to the STS program, which began with his leadership of it in 1971 when it was founded as Values, Technology and Society. All alumni, faculty and students are invited to the Red Lounge of the Stanford Faculty Club on October 25 from 5 to 7 for a cocktail reception to be held in Robert’s honor, in light of his achievements and, as has often been conveyed to me, his positive influence on so many students. I know that he is looking forward to reconnecting with many of you, and I encourage you to mark your calendar and RSVP to this special occasion.

We invite you to learn more about the current state of the program by visiting the STS website, expertly maintained by STS Program Associate Emily Van Poetsch. We do have a web page for alumni.

John Willinsky
Khosla Family Professor of Education
Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society

Faculty & Staff Updates

Michael Lepech
Michael Lepech, new STS Faculty Fellow
Michael Lepech is the program's newest Faculty Fellow. Professor Lepech's research focuses on the integration of sustainability indicators into engineering design, ranging from materials design, structural design, system design, to operations management. Such sustainability indicators include a comprehensive set of environmental, economic, and social costs. Recently his research has focused on the design of sustainable high performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCCs) and fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs), the impacts of sustainable materials on building and infrastructure design and operation, and the development of new life cycle assessment (LCA) applications for building systems, transportation systems, water systems, consumer products. Along with this he is studying the effects that slowly diffusing sustainable civil engineering innovations, and the social networks they diffuse through, can have on achieving long term sustainability goals.
Joo Ae Chu

Welcome, Joo Ae Chu

Joo Ae joined the STS team as Student Services Officer in May of 2018 and has been a student services professional since 2011, when she began her career working with student-athletes at UC Berkeley. From there she went to work at the University of San Francisco where she created programs to support student-athlete academic, personal and professional development. Joo Ae earned her Bachelors from Occidental College in Anthropology, and her Masters in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco. She enjoys working with students to help them develop an academic identity and find their passions.  In her free time she enjoys running, traveling, and cooking.


Maddie Bukaty
Elizabeth Trinh
Janna Zou Huang

Robert McGinn Award Winner - Maddie Bukaty

Maddie received this award in recognition of her outstanding academic acheivement towards a B.A. degree in the STS Program. She completed her degree in Communication and Media and moved to Los Angeles to work in digital marketing. 

Walter Vincenti Award Winner - Elizabeth Trinh

Elizabeth received this award in recognition of her outstanding academic acheivement towards a B.S. degree in the STS Program. She completed her degree with a concentration in Life Sciences and Health. Elizabeth is currently at Stanford pursuing her Master's degree before she applies to a PhD program in Organizational Behavior. She also published an honors thesis titled, "In the Air: Examining the Historical, Legal, and Social Dimensions of Drone Domestication"

Firestone Medal Award Winner - Janna Zou Huang

Janna won a Firestone medal for her honors thesis titled “A Break in the Cloud: Finding the Local in the Global Internet” . Janna was advised by Professor Paul N. Edwards.

Upcoming Alumni Events

Robert McGinn's Farewell Reception

STS is honoring its original and longtime director and faculty member, Robert E. McGinn, with a reception celebrating his contribution on October 25, 2018 from 5-7pm. Held in the Red Lounge of the Stanford Faculty Club, the reception welcomes the students, faculty, staff, family, and friends on whom Robert has had such an impact on during his 47-year affiliation with the program. We hope you can make it to this special and momentous occasion!

Please RSVP here

Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 5:00PM-7:00PM | Red Lounge, Stanford Faculty Club

STS/VTSS Program Reunion

This year's homecoming weekend is jam-packed with STS/VTSS excitement! Join us on Friday night at the STS/VTSS Program Reunion. Catch up with fellow alumni during Stanford's Homecoming Weekend while enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
Friday, October 26, 2018 | 5:00PM-6:30PM | Building 200, Room 015

Fall & Winter Alumni Panels

The Alumni Panel events are a great chance to give back to the STS comminuty by sharing your experience as an alumni with current STS students. The panel highlights alumni from different fields of work in different stages of their careers, and is followed by a Q&A session detailing your field of work, tips and tricks for seeking a job, career advice etc. Please contact Joo Ae Chu (, if you would like to participate in either one of the Alumni Panels, to help the future generation of Sciene, Technology and Society!
A special thanks to last years panel participants for sharing your wisdom!
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 | 6:30PM-8:15PM | Location to be announced
Thursday, February 21, 2019| 6:30PM-8:15PM | Location to be announced

Connect With Us

If you're not already a member of our LinkedIn group, please take a moment to visit our Stanford STS LinkedIn Group and request membership. Many of our majors use our group to find out what career paths our Alums have taken.

Connect with us on Facebook to find out about STS events and highlights throughout the year.
Do you have a job or internship opportunity you would like to share with STS majors? Please contact Emily Van Poetsch ( giving us a brief explanation of the opportunity and we will include it in our weekly STS Wire e-newsletter. 
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