Caitlin Wylie headshot

Caitlin Donahue Wylie

Assistant Professor
Unit: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department: Department of Engineering and Society
Office location and address
Thornton A231
351 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
A.B., ​University of Chicago, 2008
MPhil, ​University of Cambridge, 2009
Ph.D., ​University of Cambridge, 2013
Postdoctoral Fellow, ​Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2013

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 and volunteers, 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 history, philosophy, and social studies of science and engineering. These students gain new insights into their majors and future careers. They become more well-rounded and socially-aware researchers, with the potential to improve society by applying their work to social problems.

Learning in laboratories:  Investigating interactions - between engineering research
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate For Engineering
September 01, 2016 – August 31, 2018
STS 2500: Science and Technology in Social and Global Context
Credits: 3
This course invites students to explore the implications of STS core concepts within a specific topical or disciplinary area, drawing out the implications of STS 1500 in depth. The course explores the social and global context of engineering, science and technology. Although writing and speaking skills are emphasized, more attention is given to course content and the students' analytical abilities. Prerequisites: STS 1500 or an equivalent STS course.
APMA 2501: Special Topics in Applied Mathematics
Credits: 1–4
Special topics in applied mathematics
STS 4500: STS and Engineering Practice
Credits: 3
This course engages students with the idea that success in posing and solving engineering problems requires attention to the social dimensions of professional endeavors and practice. STS theories and methods are applied to student thesis projects. Students produce a prospectus for the senior thesis project. Students must be in residence to take this course. Students are not permitted to take STS 4500 and STS 4600 simultaneously. Prerequisites: STS 2000 or STS 3000 level course.
PAVS 4500: Pavilion Seminar
Credits: 3
The Pavilion Seminars are open, by instructor permission, to 3rd and 4th year students. They are 3-credit, multidisciplinary seminars, focused on big topics and limited to max. 15 students each. For detailed descriptions of current offerings, see
STS 4600: The Engineer, Ethics, and Professional Responsibility
Credits: 3
This course focuses on ethical issues in engineering. The key theme is that ethics is central to engineering practice. The professional responsibilities of engineers are examined. Students produce an STS Research paper linked to their technical thesis project and complete all of the requirements for the senior thesis. Students must be in residence to take this course. Students are not permitted to take STS 4500 and STS 4600 simultaneously. Prerequisites: STS 4500.
SYS 4995: Supervised Projects in Systems Engineering
Credits: 1–6
Independent study or project research under the guidance of a faculty member. Offered as required. Prerequisite: As specified for each offering.
DS 6002: Ethics of Big Data I
Credits: 1–2
This course examines the ethical issues arising around big data and provides frameworks, context, concepts, and theories to help students think through and deal with the issues as they encounter them in their professional lives.

SEAS Research Innovation Award 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