Michigan State University

Rachel A. Ankeny

Spring 2019 Visiting Fellow
Rachel A. Ankeny is an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar whose areas of expertise cross several fields: history/philosophy of the biological and biomedical sciences, bioethics, science/health policy, public engagement in science, and food studies. She is a Professor in History and Philosophy and Associate Dean Research at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and an Honorary Visiting Professor in the College of Social Science and International Studies (Philosophy) at the University of Exeter (UK). Rachel is well recognised as a scholar who can translate academic findings in ways that are relevant for stakeholders in a range of sectors and the broader community. For more information, please see https://researchers.adelaide.edu.au/profile/rachel.ankeny

Nicole Motzer

Spring 2019 Visiting Fellow

As an interdisciplinary programs manager and researcher at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, Maryland, Nicole Motzer actively facilitates, empirically investigates, and builds capacities for scientists and scholars collaborating at the intersection of social and environmental systems. Nicole has worked directly with hundreds of graduate students and dozens of early to late career researchers from across disciplines and around the world through first-of-their-kind programs, workshops, and trainings she regularly designs and leads. Nicole particularly enjoys facilitating the collaborative development of research ideas, teaching leadership skills, and helping teams integrate qualitative data and unconventional perspectives into synthesis studies.

In addition to her extensive support for interdisciplinary research teams, Nicole is an active researcher and collaborator herself, partnering with individuals from disciplines as diverse as oceanography, sociology, and philosophy. During her time at Michigan State University’s Center for Integration, Nicole will be working closely with Bethany Laursen and Michael O’Rourke to continue amulti-institutional effort focused on evaluating integrative research products in a standardized, reproducible, and innovative way.She also currently co-leads a longitudinal, mixed-methods analysis aimed at better understanding the needs of and advancing outcomes for synthesis-oriented graduate education and research opportunities at institutional and national scales.

Nicole joined SESYNC in 2016 while completing a doctorate in Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. Nicole’s strongly interdisciplinary background ranges from assessing the effects of nature-based tourism on poverty and inequality in southern Africa, to investigating how food system regionalization and ender dynamics shape rural development processes in the Rocky Mountain West, to surveying trees on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and mapping water quality and invasive species in the Florida Everglades. 

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Thomas Reydon

Fall 2018 & Spring 2019 Visiting Fellow

Thomas Reydon is Professor of Philosophy of Biology in the Institute of Philosophy, and cross-appointed in the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS), at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. He received his PhD degree from Leiden University, the Netherlands, where he also obtained Master’s degrees in physics and in philosophy of science. He is Editor in Chief of the Journal for General Philosophy of Science as well as the Springer book series History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, and a founding member and Board Member of the German Society for Philosophy of Science (GWP). His research focuses on the metaphysics of biological classification; the clarification of core concepts in biology with an eye on the use of these concepts in public deliberation; and the epistemology and metaphysics of evolutionary explanations. He also has research interests in ELSI of the life sciences (currently with work on the ontology of chimeric and genetically engineered organisms, and on the integration of philosophy of science into ELSI research); responsibility in academia; and the integration of philosophy of biology and theoretical biology. While a visiting fellow at MSU’s Center for Interdisciplinarity, he will work on a research project that examines a case of interdisciplinarity in science, namely the use of evolutionary theory outside of biology, in particular in the social sciences and engineering disciplines. For further information, see his website at www.reydon.info.

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Zina Ward

Fall 2018 Visiting Fellow

I am a PhD student in the Department of History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the graduate training program at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. My dissertation deals with conceptual, methodological, and ethical issues surrounding individual differences in cognitive science. I am also currently developing projects on values in science and scientific pluralism. I look forward to working on all of these projects while visiting the C4I at MSU.

Jesse Engebretson

Fall 2018 Visiting Fellow

Jesse M. Engebretson is primarily interested in how natural resource management is performed at the ground level and how to improve it.  Specifically, Dr. Engebretson’s work explores how complex – and sometimes contradictory policies – are understood and carried out by the “street-level bureaucrats” and front-line workers responsible for their implementation.  Along these lines, he seeks to develop efforts to improve collaboration among natural resource workers who are often trained in different academic disciplines, speak different disciplinary languages, and hold different assumptions about the limits of their – and others’ – perspectives on land management.  Ultimately, Dr Engebretson’s hope is to creatively apply of the insights of philosophy and the humanities to improve inter- and transdisciplinarity in natural resource management contexts while using rigorous social science methods to assess such applications. 

Dr. Engebretson’s current research in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota focuses largely on policy ambiguity in yardcare ordinances and its potential impact on alternative futures for yards in urban macrosystems in the United States. This work contributes to a larger interdisciplinary and cross-institutional project on the ecological homogenization of urban America. 

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