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Graduate Student Profile
Logan D. A. Williams
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Logan D. A. Williams

Hometown: Northern Virginia
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Department: Science and Technology Studies
Year of graduation: 2013

Background and Accomplishments:

  • Hired as tenure-track faculty at Michigan State University in the Lyman Briggs College (History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science faculty) and the department of Sociology.

  • Chairing a 2 day Gordon Research Seminar on Science and Technology Policy in August 2012.
    • As the 2 day seminar chair I have written a proposal for seed funding from Gordon and designed the program for the science sessions. I have worked with the seminar vice chair to select speakers and worked with the 5 day conference chair to ensure as much funding as possible goes to graduate students.
    • Please see, http://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?year=2012&program=grs_scipol

  • Externally-funded dissertation fieldwork in Kenya, Nepal and India for the 2011-2012 school year
    • As an STS PhD student, I designed a multi-sited research study to better understand the production and circulation of innovation (scientific, technological and organizational) occurring in the field of community ophthalmology by NGOs. I am spending 2.5 – 4.5 months at each site conducting interviews and observation.
    • Please see,  http://www.rpi.edu/about/inside/issue/v6n7/sts.html

  • Engineering intern at IBM and Chevron Phillips (as an undergraduate at Iowa State)
    • As an engineering intern at Chevron-Philips, I helped identify a small section of pipeline at the Borger plant that needed to be upgraded; and design the upgrade using CAD software. As an engineering co-op at IBM, I first worked in the microelectronics division in Minnesota on various small projects including a miniature wind tunnel for heat sink testing. Later I worked in the process engineering department at the server manufacturer site in Ireland on various small projects including a ‘how to guide’ for a small parts assembly.
    • Please see, http://www.eng.iastate.edu/intlprogs/profile.dawnw.asp

What made you decide to attend Rensselaer?

As a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at CU-Boulder, I was ready to leave with an MS and make a change to a new field. I applied to several PhD programs that would build on my strengths in bioengineering, and my interests in science and technology policy. I value civil engagement through scholarly research; it is very difficult to do but very worthwhile. I was blessed to find that the faculty in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer are performing award-winning research that also makes a difference in society.

Describe your project and its’ purpose?

The purpose of this scholarly research is to explain: (1) how community ophthalmology NGOs in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) have shifted away from appropriate technology models to instead create what I am calling a “socially responsible innovation system” in order to better deliver eye health care to rural low-income people; (2) how this new eye health care delivery model involves simultaneous movement of capital, doctors, management consultants, intraocular lenses and surgical sciences in what I am calling “multilateral circulation” of technoscience. My dissertation will help policy-makers understand alternative ways of implementing and supporting the growth of science and technology infrastructure in less economically developed countries. Please see my recent co-authored paper in Minerva: http://www.springerlink.com/content/463j6t4771ut1238/

What are your plans following graduation?

I plan to continue combining my interest in science and technology studies theory and policy analysis as a professor at a research-intensive university or, alternatively, by working in international development (for the federal government or in a non-governmental organization).

What are some benefits of being part of the Graduate Community at Rensselaer?

The graduate community at Rensselaer is small. You are always running into people you know on campus at the student union, the library, etc., which is nice for meeting people with shared interests within the community across department boundaries. The graduate community at Rensselaer also knows the best places to go in Troy and the surrounding small cities for good food and entertainment. I went to my first ‘drive-in’ movie near by!

What would you tell a prospective student about choosing Rensselaer?

Having grown up in suburbs across America, I must say that if you are from the suburbs or rural areas, you will have to make a cultural adjustment to Troy which is a small city recovering from long-term economic depression. That being said, I find it to be a great city: there are diverse mom-and-pop eateries to explore, a river to walk along, and beautiful architecture everywhere with affordable rents. Troy and every little town nearby has their own farmers’ market so you never have to go to the grocery store if you do not want to. Rensselaer has done a great job in recent years trying to meet the needs of graduate students by implementing more bus routes to grocery stores and department stores etc.

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