Ph.D., ​University of Cambridge, 2013Postdoctoral Fellow, ​Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2013MPhil, ​University of Cambridge, 2009A.B., ​University of Chicago, 2008

"I study how scientists, engineers, technicians, and students make specimens, images, data, and knowledge in research laboratories."

Caitlin Donahue Wylie, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society

I've researched how science and society interact at the universities of Chicago and Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and now at UVA. I focus on the unwritten work and workers in research communities, such as technicians whose names and work are missing from publications and students whose contributions to laboratory work are often overlooked. This topic includes who works in laboratories and what they do, how people learn to conduct research, and how workers define skill, expertise, and social status. I use qualitative social research methods, including interviews and participant observation.

Since 2010 I've taught undergraduates majoring in science and engineering about the social and ethical importance of research, design, and technology. In my courses, students gain new insights into their majors and future careers. They become more well-rounded and socially-aware scientists and engineers, with enormous potential to improve society by applying their expertise to social problems.


  • Donchian-Casteen Teaching Fellowship, UVA Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, UVA 2018
  • Pavilion Seminar Course Development Award, UVA 2018
  • Commitment to Students Award, Student Society of P.R.I., UVA 2018
  • SEAS Research Innovation Award, UVA 2017-2018
  • Raymond and Edith Williamson Studentship, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge 2009-2012
  • Clare Hall Bursary, Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge 2009-2012
  • Viola K. Bower Merit Scholarship, University of Chicago 2004-2008

Research Interests

  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Laboratory Studies
  • Engineering Education

Selected Publications

  • Overcoming the underdetermination of specimens. Biology & Philosophy, 34:24. ABS Wylie, C.D. (2019).
  • The plurality of assumptions about fossils and time. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 41:21. ABS Wylie, C.D. (2019).
  • In search of integration: Mapping conceptual efforts to apply STS to engineering education. American Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Neeley, K.A., Wylie, C.D., and B. Seabrook. (2019).
  • Graduate/undergraduate partnerships (GradUP): How graduate and undergraduate students learn research skills together. American Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Wylie, C.D., Kim, F., Linville, I., and A. Campo. (2019).
  • "I just love research": Beliefs about what makes researchers successful. Social Epistemology, 32(4), 262-271. ABS Wylie, C.D. (2018).
  • Trust in technicians in paleontology laboratories. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 43(2), 324-348. ABS Wylie, C. D. (2018).
  • Learning in Laboratories: How Undergraduates Participate in Engineering Research. American Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Wylie, C. D., and M. E. Gorman. (2018).
  • Dimensions of Diversity in Engineering: What We Can Learn from STS. American Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Odumosu, T.B., Ferguson, S., Foley, R., Neeley, K.A., Wylie, C.D., Ku, T., and R.W. Berne. (2018).
  • The whole as the sum of more than the parts: Developing qualitative assessment tools to track the contribution of the humanities and social sciences to an engineering curriculum. American Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Wylie, C. D., Neeley, K. A., and T. B. Odumosu (2017).
  • Invisibility as a mechanism of social ordering: defining groups among laboratory workers. In J. Bangham and J. Kaplan (Eds.), Invisibility and Labour in the Human Sciences. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Preprint 484 ABS Wylie, C. D. (2016).
  • Learning out loud (LOL): How comics can develop the communication and critical thinking abilities of engineering students. American Society of Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. ABS Wylie, C. D., and K. A. Neeley (2016).
  • “The artist’s piece is already in the stone”: Constructing creativity in paleontology laboratories. Social Studies of Science, 45 (1), 31-55. ABS Wylie, C. D. (2015).
  • Teaching nature study on the blackboard in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century England. Archives of Natural History, 39 (1), 59-76. ABS Wylie, C. D. (2012).
  • Teaching manuals and the blackboard: Accessing historical classroom practices. History of Education, 41 (2), 257-272. ABS Wylie, C. D. (2012).
  • Setting a standard for a “silent” disease: Defining osteoporosis in the 1980s and 1990s. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 41, 376-385. ABS Wylie, C. D. (2010).
  • Preparation in action: Paleontological skill and the role of the fossil preparator. In M. A. Brown, J. F. Kane, and W. G. Parker (Eds.), Methods in Fossil Preparation: Proceedings of the First Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections ABS Wylie, C. D. (2009).

Courses Taught

  • STS 2500: Laboratory life: social research methods for studying science and engineering
  • STS 4500: STS and engineering practice
  • STS 4600: The engineer, ethics, and professional responsibility
  • PAVS 4500: What is Knowledge?

Featured Grants & Projects