The Elections Committee is pleased to present the candidates for the 2024 election. You will receive a link in your inbox to cast your virtual ballot (using SurveyMonkey). Please check your junk email or spam folder and if you have any trouble, please contact Voting will close on Wednesday, May 10th, at 11:59 PM (Pacific time).

Candidates for President

Wen-Hua Kuo

Bio: 4S has guided me throughout my academic journey, from being a physician trained in East Asia through to serving as editor of key STS journals. An active member of 4S since 2005, I have been fortunate to meet and talk with some of its founders in annual meetings and to witness the transformation of STS toward the more inclusive and transnational. My paper The Voice on the Bridge: Taiwan’s Regulatory Engagement with Global Pharmaceuticals won the 4S David Edge Prize, the first time this prize was given to a work on East Asia by an Asian author.
Thanks to my transnational, interdisciplinary training background and the rise of STS in East Asia, my research career has run alongside my academic service. From 2012 to 2015 I served 4S as a council member and was involved in its digital reform. One of the achievements it made during my term was the creation of Engaging Science, Technology & Society and Backchannels, both of them welcoming STS scholarship by and for new generations and serving as a bridge between 4S and other societies. From 2016 to 2022, I worked as editor in chief of East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal (EASTS). Winner of the 4S Infrastructure Award in 2018 and now a 4S-endorsed journal, EASTS provided me with an evolving viewpoint that reflects the changing landscape of STS toward a more inclusive platform where works on different geographical regions, and from various perspectives and scholarly traditions, can encounter one another and engage in conversation. My continuous participation at 4S — serving for example on prize committees and at writing workshops — has made me feel that 4S is changing toward being a perfect venue for accommodating global STS.

Statement: My aim as president of the society, then, would be to consolidate those visions set out by previous presidents — to further extend our networks beyond North America and Europe, to foster mutual understanding of local and regional STS traditions, to strengthen the institutional sponsorship of STS for students and early-career scholars, and to initiate ways to explore STS as a flexible means of social, cultural, ethical, and policy intervention. What I wish to pursue, ultimately, is a meaningful STS for the next generation of scholars, in particular those from non-Western regions. As president I would strive to lead the council in making all of this happen, so we can meet in Taiwan in 2027 to celebrate what we’ve achieved.

Ayo Wahlberg

Bio: Ayo Wahlberg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. He received an MSc in Social Sciences from Roskilde University (Denmark) and his PhD in Sociology is from the London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom) in 2007 where he was based at the BIOS Centre for the Social Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine and Biotechnology. His research has focused on chronic living (through a multi-country study entitled "The Vitality of Disease - Quality of Life in the Making"), the routinization of reproductive and genetic technologies (in China and Denmark), the modernization of traditional herbal medicine (in Vietnam and the United Kingdom) and the governmentalization of living. Ayo is the author of Good Quality – the Routinization of Sperm Banking in China (Univ. of California Press) and co-editor of among others, The Handbook of the Anthropology of Technology (Palgrave) and Viral Loads: Anthropologies of Urgency in the Time of COVID-19 (UCL Press). He has published widely in journals such as East Asian Science Technology & Society, Annual Review of Anthropology and Science, Technology & Society, and has guest edited four special issues on topics including the social construction of randomized controlled trials and the global health complex. Ayo is an editor of the interdisciplinary journal BioSocieties.

Statement: From the very beginnings of my academic career, I have always felt at home in the 4S, a community of scholars who I continue to experience as amongst the most welcoming and supportive whether in Tokyo, New Orleans, Buenos Aires or indeed here in Copenhagen! As a scholar who has had the amazing fortune to work with and learn from people in Denmark, Vietnam, China and the United Kingdom, and who has nomadically traversed disciplines, there could not be a better space to share work-in-progress, get feedback and suggestions from peers and hear about exciting new work.

If there is one trajectory that I would want to continue supporting in the coming years, building on the foundational work of past presidents, it is the continued global situating of 4S as an academic community. Journals like Science, Technology & Society, East Asian Science, Technology & Society, Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology & Society and Engaging Science, Technology, & Society have been so important in this regard, as has the globally travelling hosting of 4S conferences. But, there is more to be done. The 4S should continue to nourish, support and encourage STS networks and academic communities in all parts of the world, perhaps (re)thinking how we conference by alternating between hybrid and multi-site online events bringing such communities as the Korean Association of STS, the Network for Science and Technologies Studies in Africa, the Danish Association for Science and Technology Studies and so many more together. Such nourishing of STS communities around the world should emphasize mentoring and support for colleagues who would like to contribute to the STS field. In the face of chronically entrenched discrimination, inequality and polarization, a globally situated 4S must always strive to be an inclusive and welcoming academic community that helps members make a difference.

Candidate for Secretary

Noela Invernizzi

Bio: My name is Noela Invernizzi. I am a Full Professor at the Education School and the Public Policy Program of the Federal University of Parana, in Curitiba, Brazil. I earned my bachelor's degree in Anthropology, in Uruguay, my home country, and my Masters’ and PhD in Science and Technology Policy at the University of Campinas, Brazil. My connection with STS came through labor studies when I addressed the changes in labor use, skills, and unionization in the context of the Brazilian industrial restructuring in the nineties. For a long time, I researched on nanotechnologies, examining labor safety and employment, science policy, societal concerns, and regulation of this emerging technology within Latin America. Currently, I am researching on scientific assessment policies and how they affect scientific agendas, taking the STS field in Latin America as a case study.

Statement: Throughout my career, I had many academic opportunities abroad, such as doing a post-doc at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO), then at Columbia University; being a professor at Zacatecas Autonomous University, Mexico; a visiting scholar at CSPO-Arizona State University; a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, USA; and a visiting researcher at INGENIO, Technical University of Valencia, Spain. All these wonderful experiences allowed me to know not only many scholars but also different academic traditions.
I have been very active in Scientific Societies, being part of the Directive Committee, and then the President (2018-2020) of the Latin American Association for Social Studies of Science and Technology (ESOCITE). I also composed the boards of ESOCITE Brazil, and the Society for the Studies of New and Emerging Technologies (SNET). I was elected to the 4S Council for the period 2018-2020, coinciding with my Presidency of ESOCITE, which constituted a very fruitful interaction and learning experience. After my term, I kept working in the 4S Publications, Finance, and Travel Grants Committees. I am also involved as Associate Editor of the Society’s journal Engaging Science, Technology, & Society.
I am running for the position of Secretary to continue my work in 4S, which has been oriented by a commitment to enlarge the participation of scholars from Latin America, the Global South more broadly, and other less represented regions. I see transnationalization as a way to enrich and strengthen STS, by recognizing the diverse configurations of the field in different regions and the rich (and often invisibilized) conceptual contributions and empirical work done in such places. In addition to usual secretarial work, I plan to assist the President and the Council in the transnationalization endeavor, helping to create more organic relationships with national and regional STS societies around the world, and by continuing to foster relationships among the society-affiliated publications in ways that favor the visibility of global STS (such as translations, multilingualism, writing workshops, and collaborations with national and regional journals). In addition, I will continue the wonderful work done on policies such as Ethics and Code of Conduct and will be attentive to the community's demands to the Society.

Candidates for Council
Vote for up to four candidates

Cathy Herbrand

Cathy Herbrand is a Professor of Medical and Family Sociology and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Reproduction Research at De Montfort University (UK). She is also a member of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics since 2014, an Associate Editor for the journal Reproduction and Fertility and a member of the editorial board of Sociology, the flagship journal of the British Sociological Association. She convened the Human Reproduction Study Group of the British Sociological Association between 2016 and 2023.

Cathy has a strong international profile in the social study of medicine, genetics, biotechnologies, reproduction and gender. She has produced pioneering work and published empirical and theoretical papers on the social implications of reproductive and genetic healthcare technologies, with a focus on two main areas: 1) the interactions between scientific progress, policies and patients’ lives, including in the context of mitochondrial disorders and egg donation; 2) the transformations of family norms and regulations arising from the development of lesbian and gay parenting. Her publications in both English and French have appeared in well-respected journals such as Social Science & Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness, BioSocieties, Anthropology and Medicine, Bioethics, and Journal of Medical Law and Ethics.

Her new collaborative and interdisciplinary research project (funded by a UK ESRC Research Grant) focuses on the implications of new preconception reproductive genomic testing in the UK (Feb 2023 – Jan 2026). Informed by scholarship in medical sociology with insights from science and technology studies, bioethics and political economy, this project investigates the emergence and commercialisation of expanded carrier screening for preconception use amongst the general population. Cathy has developed a vast network of international experts through her involvement in several collaborative research projects, her role on research and policy committees and research visits at prestigious departments of sociology, including at New York University, Kings College London, London School of Economics and Ottawa University. Her interest in joining the Committee stems from her engagement with interdisciplinarity in matters of science and reproduction studies, both in public and academic debates. Cathy has always admired, enjoyed and benefitted from the high-quality meetings organised by the 4S and the unique international encounters and exchanges these meetings facilitate. As a member of 4S since 2014, she has attended 6 annual meetings and organised 2 well-attended 4S panels on egg donation bio-economies in 2019 and 2020. With the prospect of consolidating the focus on reproduction, gender and kinship issues, she would like to engage more fully in the planning, organisation and development of 4S events and programmes. She wishes to promote and develop initiatives supporting early career researchers internationally, e.g. via the mentoring programme or targeted workshops. She is also keen on developing panels addressing interdisciplinarity in social studies of science from an epistemological and methodological point of view and can achieve that through her experience in chairing and organising several interdisciplinary conferences and committees. Finally, she wants to support 4S in increasing global reach through her links with different cultural and linguistic research environments and networks.

Shiv Issar

I am currently an advanced PhD Candidate at the University of Oregon, and an incoming Assistant Professor of Sociology at Nazareth University (beginning August 2024) . A first generation college graduate, and a Sociologist from the Global South, I specialize in the study and teaching of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the intersections of gender, race, new media, labor, transnationalism, and the environment. My work has been published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Sociology Compass, the Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) TRAILS Library, Teaching Sociology, and Science, Technology & Society.

My association with 4S began in 2020 as a student member, and I participated in my first 4S conference in 2021. In 2022 and 2023, I had the privilege to serve the Society in roles that expanded in responsibility over time. As the Digital Projects Coordinator for 4S, my work has involved deep engagements with a diverse array of professionals across the world – from university faculty and graduate students to representatives of national research agencies, philanthropic organizations, academic publishers, and our service providers. My duties have ranged from technical aspects such as the end-to-end management of the 4S website, member database, conference systems, communications, and billing systems, to strategic tasks like assisting with change management processes and restructuring internal communication processes and workflows. Between 2023-24, I co-managed the Society's shift from a multi-vendor model to a single-vendor model for its entire digital infrastructure.

I have also been an Associate Editor for Backchannels, and have consulted for 4S’ Executive Committee on Digital Infrastructure and assisted with the internal auditing and reporting, offering a valuable balance of technological acumen and organizational understanding. Most crucially, my position has served the purpose of being a critical linkage between the day-to-day operations of 4S, and the operations of two of its annual conferences. In 2022, I worked with our Conference Chairs and Managing Director to host a trilingual, hybrid international conference with ESOCITE in Mexico, and I recently finished working on a similar hybrid setup for our conference in Hawai'i in 2023.

The impact of my work at 4S has borne substantial implications for its revenue, internal restructuring and stakeholder relations. As a 4S Council Member, I would be deeply committed towards working on initiatives for the growth of the Society's membership, continually enabling an ethos of professionalization and professional development, and most crucially - contributing to conversations on the directions that the field of STS is expected to take within the next few years (through different 4S committees). As an early career scholar, I would be particularly dedicated towards introducing undergraduate students to STS, and working with the 4S community on STS pedagogy in the near future.

Outside of 4S, I am an elected board member at the Society for the Study of Study of Social Problems (SSSP) and have accrued institution-building experience across multiple academic organizations, universities and contexts. I hope to remain an asset to the 4S community for many years to come.

Thao Phan

I am a passionate member of the Australian STS community with a background in feminist STS and critical studies of AI. I am the co-founder of the Australasian STS graduate network and served as the inaugural chair from 2017–2021. The network has since become the largest network of STS researchers in Australia and was in 2021 awarded the 4S STS Infrastructure Award. I am proud of my work growing the STS community in my region and am eager to continue this work as a member of the 4S council.

I have benefitted immensely from my involvement in the 4S community. In 2018, I was the co-secretary for 4S Sydney, working on the ground with co-chairs Prof Emma Kowal and Prof Matt Kearnes to host over 1200+ STS scholars from around the world at the Sydney Convention Centre. That same year, I co-lead the 6S pre-conference workshop, bringing together 50+ Australian and international junior scholars for a full day event of activities reflecting on the conference theme of TRANSnational STS. In 2019 at 4S New Orleans, I was also honoured to receive the 4S Nicholas C. Mullins prize — an award that acknowledges exemplary graduate student scholarship in STS — for my research on the gendered and racialised aesthetics of AI technologies.

I am proud to be an active member of the international STS community. I have had the privilege of hosting STS scholars from around the world in Australia and have equally benefitted from travelling internationally to share my research and practice. I have been recognised as a leader in my field and currently serve as an Editorial Board member on two celebrated STS journals: Science, Technology & Human Values and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. I hope to continue this work of building connections across regions and am extremely grateful to be considered for this position as a member of the 4S council.

Yichen Rao

I am Yichen Rao, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Utrecht University. My research integrates anthropological knowledge, psychoanalysis, and a semiotic approach to explore the social impacts of science and technologies, particularly in mental health, finance, and digital technologies. I delve into the various modalities of digital techno-fetishism and its impact on individuals' self-perception and their broader worldview. Publications stemming from this research cover diverse topics, including the effects of digital games and internet addiction treatment camps on Chinese adolescents, the transformation of innovative financial technologies into digital Ponzi schemes, and the emergence of bitcoin mines disguised as "data centers" amid China's aspirations for "New Infrastructure." Employing ethnographic cases, my research illuminates ideological conflicts and social issues, facilitating a critical examination of STS concepts and theories. During my postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I designed innovative and interdisciplinary courses such as "Games and Culture" and "Money as Media: Global Cultures of Financial Technologies."

As one of the few STS scholars graduated from Hong Kong, my dedication over the past decade has been towards advancing science and technology studies globally, with a particular focus on Asia. Serving as a council member for Sci-Tech Asia, an international network centered on science and technology studies in Asia, I have organized and chaired webinars and roundtables and managed social media activities. Notably, the network engages scholars who are underrepresented in the field, strengthening visibilities of female and young scholars from the global south. Furthermore, my involvement in organizing panels and collaborative initiatives at 4S conferences has contributed to the enrichment of the academic community and the promotion of diverse voices within the field. My commitment to fostering an inclusive environment aligns with 4S's values, making me a suitable candidate to contribute to the society's mission of promoting critical and responsible engagement with science and technology.

Beyond my academic pursuits, I am a publicly engaged scholar. In 2021, I was invited to deliver a Yixi Talk, China's equivalent to TED talks, focusing on addiction in the digital age. During the talk, I shared insights from my ethnographic studies, urging the audience to view addiction not merely as a neurological disorder but as a consequence of our increasingly short-circuited connections with others and the world, influenced by digital entertainments and app designs. Furthering my public commitment, my talk on the social dimensions of games as technologies was published on the bilibili platform, a Chinese youth-oriented video website, under the auspices of the China Academy of Science. The talk gained significant traction online, accumulating over 16,000 views within a week. These engagements showcase my dedication to translating academic research into accessible narratives, fostering a deeper understanding of the societal implications of digital technologies. Utilizing my role as a licensed psychological counselor, I conducted training workshops for counselors dealing with adolescent issues in the digital age. Additionally, I provided interpretation services for US-China training programs in psychoanalytic counseling, facilitating cross-cultural dialogues on psychological well-being.

Paolo Parra Saiani

As a scholar who works in and across diverse fields, I bring my experience serving on multiple international associations (ASA, ESA, ISA). I believe STS scholarship is best served when we can strengthen our ties to other fields and associations. Through greater outreach to new and underrepresented scholars, I hope we can grow STS presence while fostering better public understanding of our scholarship.

I have served as a panel organizer for various ASA Meetings and the 4S Meeting in Cholula, and served in the Robert K. Merton Book Award Committee (2021-22) and in the Star-Nelkin Paper Award Committee (2022–23), and in the 2023–2024 ASA Committee for the Annual Conference SKAT Session Organizing. It would be an honor to serve the 4S as a Council Member. If elected, I will work closely with other Council members to support the strategic plans of our Society: enhancing the diversity and breadth of our association, increasing our visibility, and strengthening relationships with other associations.

Federico Vasen

Federico Vasen is currently a tenured researcher in STS and STI policy at the University of Buenos Aires and the Argentine National Research Council CONICET. He holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires and a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the National University of Quilmes. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a visiting scholar at Arizona State University, the Autonomous Metropolitan University - Xochimilco, and the University of Liège. His research focuses on science and technology policy and research evaluation. He is currently studying incentive and academic career systems in Latin America and how they shape research agendas, publication strategies, and professional values. His research has been published in Minerva, Research Evaluation, Higher Education Policy, and other journals, and he was awarded the Marcel Roche Prize for young STS Latin American scholars in 2018. He has been involved in ESOCITE, the Latin American STS association, as a council member in 2019 and 2020.

His collaboration with 4S began in 2014, when he participated as a student volunteer in the Buenos Aires meeting. More recently, he has joined the editorial collective of the 4S-edited journal Engaging Science, Technology, & Society as an assistant editor, where he communicates with authors and helps manage the peer review process.

If elected as a member of the 4S Council, he expects to support the transnationalization process of the Society and to facilitate the participation of young scholars from the Global South in the global STS conversation. However, he also recognizes the importance of a gradual approach to transnationalization, one that respects the traditions that have been integral to the society for decades while also embracing diverse voices that challenge existing legacies from various STS traditions worldwide.

Candidates for 6S Representative
Vote for up to two candidates

Upali Bhattacharya

As a third-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech, I am deeply passionate about fostering dialogue and advocating for the needs of graduate students and junior scholars within the field of STS and Sociology. My diverse academic background and teaching experience have equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of sociological theory and methodology, with a particular focus on education technology, algorithmic bias, social inequality, and gender.

Throughout my academic journey, I have had the privilege of teaching introductory sociology, women’s and gender studies, and sociological theory courses, where I have nurtured a commitment to creating inclusive and engaging learning environments. My research endeavors have centered around exploring the intersection of education technology and social inequality, with a specific focus on its implementation in India. Currently, I am concluding my dissertation fieldwork, which delves into the complexities of Ed-Tech adoption and its impact on students and teachers.

Having earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi in 2018, I bring a global perspective and a deep appreciation for interdisciplinary collaboration to the table. As a candidate for the position of Elected Representative for 6S, I am eager to leverage my academic background and leadership skills to serve as a voice for graduate students and junior scholars within the 4S community.

If elected, I am committed to maintaining open communication channels with my peers, advocating for their interests and concerns within the 4S Council. I recognize the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive academic community, where all members feel valued and represented. I am enthusiastic about the prospect of serving as an Elected Representative for 6S and am dedicated to working collaboratively with fellow representatives and the broader 4S community to advance the collective goals and aspirations of graduate students and junior scholars.

Clay Davis

I am a fifth year PhD candidate in Sociology and Mellon Cluster Fellow in Science Studies at Northwestern University. I study the way that lay publics and credentialed experts collaborate, learn from one another, and—from time to time—clash. My first research project followed HIV/AIDS activists as they worked to reform clinical trials of the novel HIV prevention drug PrEP. More recently, I studied the way a group of patients with type 1 diabetes engineered an open-source artificial pancreas and "routinized" their lay expertise in durable partnerships with endocrinologists and regulators. And my ongoing dissertation concerns the way that policy makers interpret ambiguous statistical evidence. I have presented each of these projects at 4S, of which I have been a member since 2019 when I was a recent undergraduate alumnus of Cornell's STS department.

My goal as 6S representative will be to promote relationships between student members of 4S and journal editors. I have been fortunate to see my research in print at Social Studies of Science (3S) twice and to have contributed to the forthcoming Handbook of Knowledge Politics. As coordinator of Northwestern's Science in Human Culture Program's Doctoral Colloquium, I hosted the editor of 3S to speak with graduate students about publishing in STS journals; this is the type of event that I imagine organizing for 6S members. I would also be pleased to see 6S develop a workshop to expand on its mentorship program at which members can circulate writing among each other for feedback before formal peer review.

Outside of academics, I advise Chronic Illness Alliance, an undergraduate student organization at Northwestern. In that role I have learned the importance of making academic spaces accessible to people with invisible disabilities. I intend to bring this mission to 6S as I familiarize myself with the organization and its activities.

Adrian Wilson

I am a Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology at Berkeley, and a student in the Designated Emphasis in Science & Technology Studies. I have been a student member of 4S since 2019. I also hold an M.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I presented at the 4S annual meeting in 2023 ("Engaging With Sylvia Wynter's History of Science: A Primer," on the panel "IYKYK: STS in Dialogue with Black Studies") and in 2021 ("Randomized Field Experiments and The Uncertain Power of Evidence,— with Fiona Gedeon Achi). My doctoral research is a multi-sited ethnographic and historiographic study of the field-experimental research work of development economists in Kenya. In this study, I draw on scholarship from Black studies, critical theory, history of science, critical medical anthropology, and the history and anthropology of East Africa, and examine the interplay between racial capitalism, coloniality, and scientific knowledge-production in development-economic research in Kenya. Prior to my academic work, I was a campaigner and organizer with Rainforest Action Network, and a research at the activist-oriented climate research group Global Energy Monitor. I have a long background as an activist for climate justice and racial justice, and against war and police brutality. I want to become involved in 6S in order to deepen my connection with 4S and with the STS research community more generally. I am committed to a more politicized STS that engages more seriously with Black studies and decolonial scholarship. I would be interested in conversations around forming and encouraging panels and fora on topics of social and racial justice at the 4S annual meeting. I believe strongly in student solidarity and community, and I would particularly be committed to facilitating the involvement of students from marginalized backgrounds, from more marginal universities, and from the Global South in participating more fully in 4S. I would be very happy to work on building up opportunities for 6S members to engage with one another via social gatherings at 4S, video chats on specific topics, trainings, and social media. To give one concrete example: as a post-fieldwork student, I would be excited to organize hands-on, informal 6S skillshares on ethnographic research, to help demystify this method and provide advice and support to junior students in designing their own ethnographic studies. More generally, as a senior Ph.D. student, I would hope that I could use my position as a 6S representative to provide support to junior students — especially those from more academically marginal universities — in building their careers as scholars of science and technology studies.