The student section exists within 4S to build stronger networks among students and junior scholars who study the social aspects of science and technology, and to promote the interests of students within 4S as an organization.
The student section aims to make 4S more relevant for students through representation on the 4S council and by organizing specific activities for students and junior scholars. Since students make up over half of 4S members, an active student section directly contributes to the development of 4S as a whole.
The student section is committed to broadening and deepening the internationalism of its membership in terms of both representation and research. In addition, in order to respond to current changes in academia internationally, 6S is working to better assist those in non-traditional studentships, teaching positions, or research jobs within and outside of academia.
The student section achieves its mission through activities designed to facilitate interaction among students and junior scholars of social aspects of science and technology, as well as by facilitating contacts among these groups and more senior scholars.
Examples of current and prospective activities include:
• Maintaining the email (STSGRAD-L) listserv, a widely-used means of exchanging news on conferences, workshop, jobs, fellowships, and related information.
• Maintaining the Facebook group, which is open to all who are interested in 4S activities.
• Develop an online forum for the 6S section of the 4S website to facilitate 6s business planning as well as possible accommodation- and ride-sharing boards for the 4S annual meeting.
• Updating the student section website, which includes an archive of e-mails from the STSGRAD listserv, a link to other relevant STS discussion lists, contact details, and other relevant information, as well as a database of students' research interests.
• Organizing student interest panels at 4S conferences, including such topics as job searches and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
• Organizing social gatherings at 4S conferences to enable greater cohesion among student and junior scholar communities.
• Holding yearly regional or online student mini-conferences on breaking trends in research, usually 6-8 months before the annual meeting.
• Holding bi-yearly online video chat sessions with student members to help students discuss (or make contacts with those who can answer) questions on a variety of topics (including among others, 4S, careers, funding, and research practicalities) which are not covered by their advisers or university program officers.
• Conducting a mentoring program to help guide new students not only through the PhD but also through the career development process. The program links new students with more experienced scholars, particularly upper-level students and postdocs.
• When available, facilitating student access to 4S travel grants to attend the 4S annual conference.
• Helping to organize accommodation or ride sharing to lessen the costs of attending the 4S annual meeting. Seeking additional ways to help students defray the costs of participating in 4S and attending the annual meeting.
• Being open to answering additional questions or comments on a variety of issues related to the study of the social aspects of technology.
The 6S governing council is composed of four (4) student representatives who serve overlapping two year terms. Two of these student representatives are elected annually either by online ballot or at the student section meeting held during the 4S conference. Thus, in any given year there are two second-year representatives and two newly-elected first-year representatives on the student council.
One representative from each pair focuses more on content development as part of his/her duties, while the other focuses more on event management, as decided by the representatives themselves soon after being elected. Additionally, each second-year representative assists one first0year representative in learning the duties relevant to their respective focus (content developer or event management).
The overlapping terms thereby assure leadership continuity and sustainability within the organization. These four positions are also supported by external regional student ambassadors who help to organize local mini-conferences by providing contacts and institutional support in their region.
Second-year student representatives:
• Liaison between the board of 4S and the students, the supporting positions, student ambassadors and the 4S webmaster.
• Conceptualize, plan, organize and actualize the student activities during the 4S annual meetings, including the workshop and the voting section.
• When necessary, manage financial and treasury duties.
• Hold the bi-yearly online video chat sessions.
• Content developer focus: author and circulate regular announcements and updates on 6S activities via the Facebook group and listserv (see above).
• Event manager focus: organize, along with the student ambassadors, the local and/or online mini-conferences.
First year student representatives:
• Content developer focus: Moderate the online forum hosted on the 6S section of the 4S website, including possible accommodation- and ride-sharing boards for the 4S annual meeting.
• Content developer focus: Assist the second-year representative with event announcements and website updates.
• Event Manager focus: Organize the logistics of the 6S activities at the 4S annual meeting, including the student drinks, the student section meeting, and the voting section.
• Event Manager focus: Assist the second-year representative with organizing the local and/or online mini-conferences
The first-year representatives will work closely with one of the second-year representatives, whose position he/she will assume the following year.
Written nominations for the post of student representative must be received by either of the current representatives before the annual meeting; election platforms will be distributed via STSGRAD-L in advance of the annual meeting. Elections will be held by single transferable vote open to any student member of 4S.
This charter has been updated by Samuel Tettner and Jess Bier, the elected student representatives, and approved by the 4S council as of 2013. Future changes to the student section charter require the agreement of all four currently-elected student representatives as well as the approval of the 4S council.