Graduate Student Affiliates

The Holtz Center brings together an interdisciplinary community of students from departments and programs across campus. Current graduate student affiliates come from the programs listed below. Click on a link to jump to a a list of students from that program, or click here to jump to a list of recent graduates and past affiliates.

College of Letters & Sciences:
English | Geography | History | Information | Journalism
Philosophy | Political Science | Sociology | Urban & Regional Planning

Other Colleges and Programs:
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences | College of Engineering
School of Medicine and Public Health | Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies



Amy Gaeta

Amy Gaeta is a PhD candidate in English and takes a transdisciplinary approach to studying the relationship between technology, emotions, and transnational U.S. politics and culture. Her dissertation examines the global spread of drone technology through feminist approaches to disability and technology. Amy is interested in how technologies mediate the circulation of emotions and determine the value of human and nonhuman bodies. [Department profile]

Caroline Hensley

Caroline Hensley is a PhD candidate in the English department. Her work evaluates how contemporary anglophone literatures by multiethnic American and transnational authors contextualize experiences of disability, illness, and healthcare within broader global power structures. She served as a Mellon Morgridge Fellow for UW’s “Health and Inequality” Constellation, lectures for the “Health and the Humanities” certificate, and writes for the digital medical humanities journal, Synapsis. [Department profile]



Po-Tao Chang

My ongoing research focuses on the Akha people and their agricultural entrepreneurship (mainly coffee and tea) in Thailand with hybrid approaches, including political ecology, commodity chain analyses, STS, etc. My aim is to highlight how Indigenous entrepreneurs mobilize and empower their culture, social relations/networks, and economic development by building agricultural businesses.

Laura Lawler

I am a people-environment geography PhD candidate. In my dissertation research on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), I use political ecology and STS frameworks to examine global conceptualizations and governance strategies of CSA, supported with a detailed case study in Zambia. [LinkedIn]

Zhe Yu Lee

Zhe Yu is writing a dissertation on the intellectual history of Indonesian agrarian thought and land use expertise, considering the role played by Midwestern land grant universities including UW-Madison from the 1950s to 1980s.

Siddarth Menon

Siddarth Menon’s research examines the growing use of concrete for house construction in India and the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the same. He is conducting an ethnography of concrete as a construction material in Kerala, following concrete (and its components) through the construction process of a house in suburban Kochi. This will highlight the myriad connections between people, things, and landscapes that are facilitated through concrete’s expanding mesh. [Website]

Sahil Sasidharan

Sahil is a Geography Ph.D. student researching contemporary land-to-property transformations under changing planning and techno-scientific regimes in Delhi’s marginal geographies. At UW-Madison, he has taught as Teaching Assistant on courses in International Studies, Urban Studies and Regional Geography/Area Studies.

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Bennett McIntosh (History of Science, Medicine & Technology)

Bennett is a historian of science and technology, interested broadly in the politics and practices of scientific data sharing in the 21st century. He is writing a dissertation on genomic data and data infrastructures in the social sciences in the U.S. and Europe after the Human Genome Project. [Department profile]

Keely Mruk (History of Science, Medicine & Technology)

Keely studies the history of science and technology during the Cold War. Her work considers relationships between humans and animals, scientific research and public trust, and laboratory practices and devices.

Samm Newton (History of Science, Medicine & Technology)

My work takes a historical approach to understanding how expertise and policy shape the open ocean. I also focus on how these processes contributed to conceptions of environmental value, marine territory, sovereignty, and governance.

Nicolás Felipe Rueda Rey (History)

I’m interested in the history of industrial capitalism from a broader perspective that includes environmental, economical, social, and cultural dimensions, through the case of tobacco commodity. I’m working on the Colombian case and its connections with the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Prince Vincent-Anene (History)

I am studying the History of automobile in colonial Nigeria. I am exploring the role of the ‘ordinary’ people from Nigeria to the development of global car culture.

Yu-Hsuan Wang (History of Science, Medicine & Technology)

I am interested in the contemporary history of the scientific instrument in East Asia. My research focuses on how mass spectrometry travels across borders, shaping the ideas of environmental governance in the Cold War period Taiwan.

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Naomi Mine

Naomi is interested in communities and social movements that form around epistemic orientations, particularly as those relate to computer-mediated technologies. She explores the varied social and political roles of domain expertise and (un)certainty within these communities, especially at points of intersection with technology governance, labor, and public discourse. [Website]

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Aman Abhishek

Aman Abhishek is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication with minors in history and political science. He has an M.A. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.Sc-M.Sc. in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. [Department profile]

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Paul J. Kelly

Paul is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His primary areas of philosophical interest are the philosophy of science (especially the philosophy of cognitive science and biology) and ethics (especially technology, biomedical, and business ethics). His dissertation concerns how scientific models represent and explain phenomena. [Website]

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David Greenwood-Sanchez

David researches the politics of genetically modified crops in Latin America, using Mexico and Peru as case studies. In his dissertation research, he adopts a state-oriented perspective, particularly the ways in which states mediate conflicting pressures from interest groups and civil society, while attempting to secure strategic positions within global agricultural markets. His work utilizes interviews, legislative debates, newspapers and other secondary sources, and original survey data. [Department profile]

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Wendy K. Lee

Wendy is a PhD student in Sociology with research interests in race and technology. Her work broadly examines the conceptualization of race and racial categories in machine learning systems.

Kelsey Reichenbach (Sociology; Community and Environmental Sociology)

Kelsey is interested in the 3-way intersection of 1) cultures of engineering and technology development, 2) agricultural food systems, and 3) ecosystem and community revitalization. While in the Sociology PhD program, she plans to study how technology is being developed in regenerative agriculture spaces, and the ways in which regenerative agriculture could be used to reverse climate change and create justice-centered social systems. She will explore communities that are building ecological resilience, manifesting progressive politics, and/or resisting and subverting exploitative economic systems within the sphere of agriculture. She is also interested in exploring if/how progressive and liberative cultures in engineering are connected to building technology that supports the communities described above. [LinkedIn]

James Rosenberg

James is a sociology PhD student broadly interested in questions concerning economic and political sociology. Specifically, he is interested in technologies of algorithmic governance, and how the adoption of digital technologies as tools of statecraft affects relations between states, markets, and citizens. When not thinking about such things, he can be found enjoying English beer, German philosophy, and American music, sometimes simultaneously.

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Catie DeMets

Catie DeMets works to understand and advance the transformative power of community and regional food systems to create more equitable and sustainable places for people and the environment.

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Kase Wheatley (Community and Environmental Sociology; Agroecology)

Kase Wheatley is pursuing his master’s degree in Agroecology. He is very interested in supporting farmers to transition to agroecological cropping systems like agroforestry and Integrated Crop-Livestock systems. Kase is eager to hear farmers tell their own stories and to understand the social dynamics that affect adaption to these agroecological systems. Kase attended UC Davis for his undergraduate studies, where he studied alternative agriculture and anthropology and then farmed for a few years before coming to Madison. Kase is passionate about science & speculative fiction, cooperatives, and meaningful relationships. [Department profile]

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Ari Smith (Industrial & Systems Engineering)

Ari Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial and Systems Engineering, focusing in the realms of algorithm design, machine learning, and recommender systems, informed by feminist philosophies of technology and care. Current research projects involve: algorithmic methods for quantifying congressional gerrymandering and understanding the relationship between competing political metrics that enact/embody different democratic values; applied inverse optimization and its relationship to preference elicitation; and the development of recommender systems for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s Disease to help with care training and task management, while being critically aware of the non-universality of ways of organizing and knowing care. [Website]

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Nithin Charlly (Pediatrics)

Nithin is a medical student within the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Pediatrics. He is currently working with Professor Megan Moreno, investigating how social media, technology and medicine interact to influence adolescent health.  Nithin is interested by the intersection of technology and medicine and was a 2019 recipient of a Shapiro Summer Research Award.

Simarjeet Puri (Pediatrics)

Simarjeet is a medial student within the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is a member of Professor Elizabeth Petty’s research group, specializing in Genetics and Metabolism. Simar was awarded a Shapiro Summer Research Award in 2019.

Ajay Singh (Pediatrics)

MD/PhD student, Ajay Singh, is currently working with Professor Megan Moreno on several projects that intersect science, new technologies, and society. The projects include understanding the impact of COVID19 on the usage and acceptance of telemedicine, determining the relationship between alcohol addiction and internet addiction in the young adult population, and establishing the relationship between the age of acquisition of a smart phone and mental health outcomes in the adolescent population.

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Matilyn Bindl

Matilyn Bindl is pursuing her PhD in the Nelson Institute Environment and Resources program with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy. Advised by Dr. Morgan Edwards of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, Matilyn’s interdisciplinary research uses integrated assessment models to understand the scale-up potential, policy implications, and equity impacts of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. [LinkedIn]

Jules Reynolds (Geography; Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

Jules Reynolds is a joint PhD student in the Department of Geography and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Her research examines the politics and practices of climate change in Malawi, particularly how climate change knowledge politics affect local agricultural adaptation strategies. Jules applies political ecology, STS, and feminist theory frameworks to address these questions. [Department profile]

Ned Molder

Ned is a PhD student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. His research concerns how environmental sensing technologies and the social, political, and economic contexts in which they are deployed co-produce particular assemblages of environmental governance. He’s especially interested in sites that are inaccessible or intangible (e.g. the deep seabed or the Great Lakes as a whole) and the role that techno-scientific apparatus play in producing (authoritative) knowledge about them. [Website]

Aaron Suiter

Aaron is in the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources program using the theoretical frameworks of feminist/postcolonial geography, STS, and urban political ecology to study the practice of urban forestry in North America. Aaron is critically examining the metrics used by urban tree-planting and carbon-crediting programs: how they are constructed, and how they mediate planners’, foresters’, and urban residents’ relationships with urban trees and their senses of environmental crises. His study is based on an examination of the software suite i-Tree, which is the product of the US Department of Forestry. This software package converts cities’ tree inventories into bundles of ecosystem services—especially carbon savings—and values these ecosystem services in dollars. While i-Tree typically presents trees as unquestionably good (a symptom of widespread arborocentrism), he argues that the technocratic consensus on the value of urban trees prevents honest discussions of their value to urban communities and the world at large. Arguments in favor of afforestation point to carbon and dollar savings, but he examines how estimates of these savings minimize and obscure the true costs of maintaining urban forests.

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Justyn Huckleberry  (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

Justyn’s interests revolve around the changing nature of access to fundamental resources. Justyn studies how people remember and experience displacement for conservation and mining. She uses science and technology studies to understand modernization and development within people’s everyday lives. [Twitter]

Alexandra Lakind (Curriculum & Instruction; Environment & Resources)

Alexandra is interested in cooperative environments that moderate pressures  from the market-driven society. She is currently focused on human/environmental futures, arts integration, qualitative methods, and educational pedagogy. Her aim is to recognize and support infrastructure to provide platforms to multiple voices across categories. Through implicit and explicit, academic and performative routes, she hopes to foster supportive communities prepared to process unanswerable dilemmas together.

Nick Lally (Geography)

Nick is a a geographer, artist, and computer programmer with research interests in software studies, social movements, visual epistemology, spatial theory, feminist thought, and contemporary philosophy. My work describes the role of software in constructing the world through its material entanglement with social, political, and economic systems. [Website]

Emma Lundberg (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

Emma is a PhD student in the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources program. Her dissertation research focuses on identifying and deconstructing settler logics that permeate through natural resource management. To do this, she uses social and ecological research methods to investigate the interactions among beaver and salmonid species and controversies over their management in Northeastern Wisconsin. [Lab website]

Robert Lundberg (Environment & Resources; Law)

Robert uses photography as an artistic research method to investigate sites of interaction between human structures–such as roads and dams–and natural landscapes. In addition to the aesthetic interaction that the photos mediate, he uses the images to consider the legal and sociocultural infrastructure which is physically manifest in the built infrastructure.  He is interested in how these structures enshrine our understanding of and relationship to the natural spaces they inhabit.

Eric Nost (Geography)

Eric’s research draws on political ecology and STS to investigate how data technologies inform environmental governance. He is a member of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), which brings people together to critique and experiment with public sources of socio-environmental data. [Faculty profile]

Amanda Rose Pratt (English)

Amanda received her PhD in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric. Her dissertation project examined the rhetorical and ethical landscape of psychedelic substances across culture, biomedicine, and industry. She continues this work as an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric of Science in the Department of English at Kennesaw State University, and as a consultant at the nonprofit online psychedelic prior art library Porta Sophia. [Faculty profile]

Chloe Wardropper (Environmental Studies)

Chloe studies how data collection and use influence perceptions, functioning, and outcomes of environmental governance programs. Her dissertation is focused on the use of modeled and monitored water quality and precipitation data by agricultural conservation managers in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, in traditional and market-based programs. [Lab profile]

Kaitlin Stack Whitney (Entomology)

Kaitlin studies insect conservation and ecosystem services across managed landscapes. She’s interested in critical animal studies, phenomenology, risk assessment, and how valuing and studying insects affects policy. [Faculty profile]

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