Doctoral Candidate

Entered 2012

303 Claudia Cohen Hall
By appointment

Curriculum Vitæ



M.A., 2014, University of Pennsylvania
B.A., 2012, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



Kate’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Reliable Witnesses, Crackpot Science: The UFO in Cold War America, 1947-1977,” explores thirty years of United States Air Force investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena, known colloquially as UFOs.  Through this project, she examines contestations over authority, credibility, and legitimacy in science as they are articulated through the controversy surrounding UFO investigations and the UFO as scientific object.  Though this project is primarily a historical one, it is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from philosophy of science, sociology of science, and comparative literature and pop culture studies as well.  This project is undergirded by a desire to understand how scientists establish, understand, and push the boundaries of what counts as science, while also taking into account how the larger American public participate in and challenge those processes.  This project will also consider current issues in American anti-scientism as they present themselves today, including climate change denial and the anti-vaccination movement, while asking, “Is UFO belief and study truly anti-science?”  (Currently, she would say no!)

When not studying decades of flying saucer reports, photos, films, and other miscellany, Kate can be found trying to teach her rescue Sheltie new tricks, devouring sci-fi in all mediums, and/or knitting.  

Research Interests

History of science, history of technology, STS, history of astronomy, history of physics, aerospace history, philosophy of science, integrated history and philosophy of science, popular science, science and the public, science education, science literacy, science fiction/speculative fiction, scientific and technological users and consumers, pop culture, undergraduate education

Teaching Fields

History of science & technology, science fiction

Courses Taught

STSC 001 - Emergence of Modern Science

STSC 110 - Science and Literature

STSC 160 - The Information Age (grader, Spring 2016)

Faculty Bookshelf