Kate Tyrol

Kate is a graduate student in the Science and Technology Studies department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York researching 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 expertise, and the social institution of medicine. Outside of school, Kate enjoys swimming, camping, gaming, fiber arts, and two often vexing cats named Cowgirl and Rosie.


The Fat Subject in Transition - For my PhD research, I am looking at the migration of fat bodies from a private concern to a public one, the use and effects of the concepts of will, self-control, and knowledge in the discourse on the subject, what can and cannot be said about fatness in various contexts, and the effects of the marginalization of fat people on other marginalized groups. More specifically, I am engaged in conversations with people who have had weight loss surgery. This allows 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.

Below Stairs Below Stairs Logo - With my background in computer science, I have also 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.

Digital Blackfriars Logo of the Digital Blackfriars project - Working again with RPI's Communication and Media Department as well as Fordham University's Department of English, I was the web developer for a cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional project that presents both scholars and a general audience with tools for understanding a selection of plays created for the Blackfriars theatre as works of site-specific theatre.

An Empirical Investigation of Factors that Contribute to Perceptions of Fatness - For my Master's research, I attempted to determine what factors an individual takes into account 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.