faculty image

Dr. Kathryn de Ridder-Vignone

Faculty Senate Chair and English Instructor , Accelerate Division

843-383-3901 x 3936

Educational Background

  • 2013 Ph.D. Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University
    Dissertation: Democratizing Nanotechnology: The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network and the Meaning of Civic Education
  • 2008 M.A. Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University
    Concentrations: Science Communication, Museums Studies, Images and Visualizations in Science, Users in 19th and 20th century History of Technology, Emerging Technologies
  • 2005 Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae, South Carolina Honors College, University of South Carolina


Dr. Kathryn de Ridder-Vignone moved to Greer, SC, in second grade. After graduating from Riverside High School, she attended the Honors College at the University of South Carolina where she completed the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae, focusing on early 20th century American literature, art history and history and interdisciplinary sciences, specifically nanotechnology. Dr. de Ridder-Vignone subsequently received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University. While at Cornell she was trained to teach writing and composition in the John S. Knight Writing Institute. After Cornell, she moved to Tempe, AZ, where she worked as a post-doctoral research analyst in the Center for Nanotechnology in Society in the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes, a science policy think tank, at Arizona State University. Following her time at ASU, she became an assistant professor of social context in the department of Integrated Science & Technology at James Madison University, after which she spent two years as the Director of GSSM Foundation’s Startsville Innovation Center, in Hartsville, SC, while also teaching residential students in the Economics and Finance Institute, as well as students in the PULSE program at GSSM. This past summer she co-led a summer research experience at GSSM, Engineering a Better Society, which examined the social and economic impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on our future societies. In her free time, Dr. de Ridder-Vignone can be found riding bicycles with her family, speaking French, and traveling (preferably all at once). She is proud to be part of the GSSM community and happy to be given the opportunity to give back to the state that raised her.

How long have you worked in academia?

That depends on the definition of the word work. I began doing research as part of a National Science Foundation grant in 2003, in undergrad. Last year was the first year the National Science Foundation did not fund some part of my life. I've served as an assistant professor at James Madison University in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology. I also worked as a post doctoral research analyst for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society in the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. Before that I conducted research and taught at Cornell University in the department of Science & Technology studies. My primary teaching and research interests have focused on the role of nonscientists in shaping science and technology. The subjects include the history and sociology of health and medicine in the U.S., intersections of race and transportation, environmental ethics, medical ethics, food ethics and practices, socio-environmental issues, political economy of science & technology, science and technology policy, and user-design experiences in engineering.

My research expertise is broad ranging as well and includes the following: Social and ethical issues of emerging technologies; public understanding of and engagement with emerging technologies; civic education and learning in the governance of emerging technologies; materiality in science communication; visual studies and visualizations in science policy and communication; issues of sustainability in shaping urban spaces; qualitative research methods, including visual studies; institutions such as nonprofits and city governments role in shaping long-term economic development objectives.

My most recent publication finally came out in 2016 in the journal, Public Understanding of Science: C. Selin, Rawlings, K., de Ridder-Vignone, K.,Sadowski, J., Altamirano, C., Gano, G., Davies, S., and David Guston. “Experiments in Engagement: Designing PEST for Capacity-Building.” (January 2016) 

Tell us what you love about working at GSSM.    

The people.

Are you a member of any professional organizations?    

  • Society for the Social Study of Science
  • International Business Innovation Association

Please list and describe any personal information you would like to share.    

I'm married to the French instructor. I like to ride my bike with my kids. I speak some French. I like to people watch. And eat good food. And travel. And ride bikes with my family in foreign countries while people watching, interspersed with good food.

What would your students be surprised to learn about you?    

I was player of the year for the state of South Carolina in soccer in 2000.

What is your perfect pizza?    

White pizza with meatballs. And pineapple. And tomato sauce in which to dip the crust.

What's the best thing about Hartsville?    

The trees. And the reflection of the trees on the water in Prestwood lake.

Who would be invited to your fantasy dinner party (living or deceased) and why?    

My mom. So I could introduce her to my children.

What's your favorite quote?    

I always have trouble with this question. Who can pick just one? This is mine for today: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is to high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

Anything else you'd like to tell us?    

I like it here. I hope I get to stay awhile.