Bio

Kate Tyrol

Kate is a lecturer in STS and Psychology for the Department of Humanities at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey. She is a recent graduate of the Science and Technology Studies PhD program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she wrote her dissertation on the sociocultural effects of weight loss surgery. She earned her Master's of Science in 2014 from RPI and her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2010 from the University of Southern Maine. Her research interests include fat studies, biopolitics, language, identity formation, health and nutrition expertise, and the social institution of medicine. Outside of school, Kate enjoys swimming, camping, gaming, fiber arts, and her frequently vexing cat, Cowgirl.

Projects

Reworkings of Health and Well-being - I am currently in the planning stages of a project which will investigate a variety of groups that share a common, non-conventional understanding of health practices leading them to engage in particular ways with dominant systems of expertise and knowledge. I posit that, though understandings between these groups are often in conflict, there will be some common underlying system to their sense-making.



The Fat Subject in Transition Below Stairs Logo - For my PhD research, I studied the use and effects of the concepts of will, self-control, choice, and knowledge in the discourse on weight loss surgery (WLS), allowing me to study a very particular technoscientific framing of the "problem" of fatness, one that often implicates women and current or potential mothers as especially in need of biomedical intervention. Through ethnographic interviews, I revealed that concerns about will and particularly about the possibility of post-surgical alcoholism are present among most WLS recipients, despite a perceived void in physician response to these risks.



Below Stairs Below Stairs Logo - Because of my background in computer science, I collaborated with a variety of faculty at RPI on developing web based projects. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Communication and Media Department and Rensselaer County Historical Society have an ongoing collaboration, which has produced among other things an augmented reality experience for visitors to explore the daily life of servants approximately 150 years ago in its Hart-Cluett House. I served as the principal technical developer through two different implementations of the app and worked alongside RPI C&M faculty and students and RCHS staff to design and script the experience.



An Empirical Investigation of Factors that Contribute to Perceptions of Fatness Master's Research Images - For my Master's research, I attempted to determine what perceptions an individual utilizes when classifying a person as fat or not fat. The answer to this question provides an important tool for use towards investigating the psychosocial implications of fatness and how fat subjects are perceived/constructed.