The Program in Science, Technology and Society

September 30, 2019
Alumni Newsletter

A Message from the STS Director

Hello STS Alumni,
I’m excited to take over the directorship of the Program in Science, Technology & Society from Prof. John Willinsky. Above all, I want to thank him profoundly for his five years of service to the Program, which included showing me the ropes of STS 1, “The Public Life of Science and Technology,” when we co-taught the course last year.

My appointment as Director caps an entire career spent in science & technology studies — including a stint at Stanford in 1992-1998, when I worked in the STS Program under Prof. Robert McGinn, who retired last year. I returned to Stanford in 2017 after 19 years at the University of Michigan, where I founded and directed an STS Program. It’s a great pleasure to be back!

This September marks the start of the 48th academic year for STS/VTSS. 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 Dominique Topps as our Student Services Officer. She joined us in August, after Joo Ae Choo moved on to another opportunity. Dominique brings a wide variety of experience in student affairs at both high school and university levels. Since she also survived three years of teaching advanced English in the Maryland public schools, I’m confident she can handle anything.
On the international stage, STS Associate Director Kyoko Sato continues her collaboration with French researchers. Dr. Sato is currently co-editing a volume with Soraya Boudia from Université Paris Descartes and Bernadette Bensaude Vincent from Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne. Titled Living in a Nuclear World: From Fukushima to Hiroshima, the volume is an interdisciplinary post-Fukushima reflection on the postwar development of the global nuclear order. This fall, she is organizing workshops in Fukushima and Tokyo to discuss the book, a three-year project underwritten by the Partner University Fund of the French-American Cultural Exchange Foundation. Dr. Sato is also working with Fukushima-based researchers on another book project to examine the 2011 nuclear disaster’s implications for democratic politics, expertise, and planetary challenges.

Another emerging highlight: in June, the STS Executive Board approved a Graduate Certificate in STS. It will be available to Stanford masters and PhD students starting this academic year. The certificate is one outcome of a growing demand among Stanford graduate students for a focused community of interest and ways to make their STS background apparent to prospective employers. With Assoc. Director Sato’s support and encouragement, this graduate student community has begun to take on a life of its own, spearheaded by Anthropology PhD students Misha Bykowski and Aaron Hopes, as well as Modern Thought and Learning PhD student David Stentiford, whom recent alums may remember for his years of yeoman service as lead TA in STS 1. They’ve secured a small grant from the Vice Provost’s office to support a series of workshops this year. Look forward to more announcements about the grad program soon!

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. There’s a special web page for alumni.

Paul N. Edwards

Director, Program in Science, Technology, and Society

William J. Perry Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation

Professor of Information and History (Emeritus), University of Michigan

Faculty & Staff Updates

Adam Banks
Adam Banks, 2019-2020 STS Faculty Fellow
Adam Banks, Professor of Education, is the program's newest Faculty Fellow.
"Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I come to Stanford from the University of Kentucky, where I served on the faculty of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies and prior to that, from Syracuse University, as a member of the faculty of the Writing Program. In addition to these appointments I served as the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor of English at the University of Kansas and, jointly with Andrea Lunsford, as the Rocky Gooch Visiting Professor for the Bread Loaf School of English.
My scholarship lies at the intersections of writing, rhetoric and technology issues; my specialized interests include African American rhetoric, community literacy, digital rhetorics and digital humanities. My most recent book is titled Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age, and my current digital/book project is titled Technologizing Funk/Funkin Technology: Critical Digital Literacies and the Trope of the Talking Book. "
Dominique Topps

Welcome, Dominique Topps

Dominique joined the STS team in July 2019 as the Student Services Officer. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Africana Studies from San Diego State University and her Master of Arts in Teaching from American University. After graduate school, she stayed in the DC area and taught 7th, 9th, and 12th grade Honors English in Silver Spring, Maryland. Dominique has worked one on one with students for nearly a decade and is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion when it comes to education. She has mentored  students as young as 12 and mature as 60 and believes her students have taught her just as much about life and the world as she has taught them. In her spare time, Dominique enjoys reading, brunch, anything Disney, and traveling to new places to further her appreciation of different cultures and customs.


Sophie Hamilton Brochocka
Michelle Bach
Elle Billman

Robert McGinn Award Winner - Sophie Hamilton Brochocka

Sophie received this award in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement towards a B.A. degree in the STS Program. She completed her degree in Innovation and Organization and is currently writing a book while working as program director for an executive facilitation training in Europe.

Walter Vincenti Award Winner - Michelle Bach

Michelle received this award in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement towards a B.S. degree in the STS Program. She completed her degree with a concentration in Life Sciences and Health. Michelle is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Epidemiology at Stanford School of Medicine. She also published an honors thesis titled, "Self-Defense in Microbiology: The Interplay Between Vaccines and Antimicrobial Resistance", advised by Dr. Sandra S. Lee.

Firestone Medal Award Winner - Elle Billman

Elle, who received her B.S. in Life Sciences and Health, won a Firestone medal for her honors thesis titled “More than Medical Records: Uncovering how Childhood Cancer Survivors learn about and interact with their Cancer Histories” . Elle was advised by Dr. Lochlann S. Jain.

Athletic Achievements

  • Jake Bailey drafted to New England Patriots (NFL)
  • Alijah Holder drafted to the Denver Broncos (NFL)
  • Tristan Beck drafted with the San Francisco Giants (MLB)
  • Erik Miller drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
  • Andrew Daschbach drafted by the Baltimore Orioles 
  • Stephanie Grauer represented Canada at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships
  • Brandon Kier named runner-up in Pac 12 Championships title for wrestling
  • Andrea Lee receives McCormack Medal after standout season with Stanford women’s golf
  • Isaiah Salinda and Henry Shimp bring home the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship
  • Kyla Bryant was one of the strongest contributors to the 2019 women's gymnastics season. She opened her season with first place finishes in every event at the NorCal classic.
  • Ali Biocco with the Stanford lacrosse team earn All-American honorable mention
  • Julia Cornacchia and Abby Tarquinio capture bronze with the women’s rowing team at the Pac-12 Championships
  • Peyton Chang, Meghan McClure and Kate Formico contribute to a perfect 20 wins in the Pac-12 conference for women’s volleyball
  • Stanford women win their 20th NCAA tennis title with the help of Janice Shin
  • Louis Stenmark broke Stanford and meet records in the 600 meters at the UW Indoor Preview

Alumni Events

Photos from Robert McGinn's Farewell Reception

Thank you to all of those who attended longtime director and faculty member, Robert McGinn's, Farewell Reception in December. You can find photos from the event here.

STS/VTSS Program Reunion

This event is free and open to all STS/VTSS alumni and their guests. Enjoy food and drinks, meet new friends and colleagues, and re-connect with classmates and program faculty at the STS/VTSS Program Reunion! This event is held during Stanford's Homecoming Weekend.
Friday, October 25, 2018 | 5:00PM-7:00PM | Building 200, Room 015

Fall Alumni Panel

The Alumni Panel events are a great chance to give back to the STS community by sharing your experience as an alumnus 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 Dominique Topps (, if you would like to participate in the Alumni Panel to help the future generation of Science, Technology and Society!
A special thanks to last years' panel participants for sharing your wisdom!
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | 6:00PM-8:00PM | 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.
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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