Meet the Science and Disability team and advisory committee.
David Caruso is the director of the Science History Institute’s Center for Oral History. In this position he oversees all of the Institute’s oral history projects, especially those that focus on scientists with disabilities, minorities in science, women in science, and the history of modern biomedicine. His current work explores the relationship between government and private funding and the development trajectories of biomedical research in the United States from the end of the 20th century through today. Caruso received his doctoral degree in science and technology studies from Cornell University (2008) for his thesis on the history of the theory and practice of American military medicine before, during, and after World War I. His bachelor’s degree is in the history of science, medicine, and technology from Johns Hopkins University (2001). In addition to his work at the Institute, he is also the book review editor for The Oral History Review and president of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and he serves as a consultant for numerous other oral history projects.
Lee Berry is the curator of oral histories at the Institute. She holds a bachelor of arts in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame. Before joining the Institute, Berry spent 10 years as a historian with a historical services firm in Maryland, where she authored histories of Navistar and Bausch & Lomb, wrote exhibit text for several museum projects, and conducted oral histories for the Optical Society of America and Eastern State Penitentiary. Berry oversees the processing of ongoing oral histories, leads the effort to provide high-quality indexes for each oral history transcript, helps identify prospective interviewees, and works to improve the discoverability, accessibility, and preservation of the entire oral history collection.
Karl S. Booksh
Karl Booksh is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Delaware. He serves as a member of the American Chemistry Society’s Chemists with Disabilities Committee and was also a 2015 member of the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE/NSF). As a person with a disability and as a scientist, Booksh has devoted a large portion of his work to mentoring young science students with disabilities. He runs an National Science Foundation–funded research program aimed at improving rates of participation in the sciences by students with disabilities.
Stephanie Kerschbaum is an associate professor of English at the University of Delaware. Her current research focuses on the ways that disabled faculty members tell stories about themselves in a wide range of written and oral contexts. She has also collaborated with Margaret Price to conduct more than 30 interviews with disabled faculty members. Kerschbaum has published widely on disability and higher education, including an award-winning book, Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference, and numerous journal articles and book chapters.
Beth Linker is an associate professor and graduate chair in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching interests include the history of medicine, American health policy, and disability. She is the author of two books, War’s Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Civil Disabilities: Citizenship, Membership, and Belonging (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Her award-winning scholarship has also appeared in the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, and the American Journal of Public Health. Her future book projects include Slouch: The Rise and Fall of American Posture Sciences and Making the Cut: Surplus Surgery in America.
Amy E. Slaton
Amy Slaton is a professor of history at Drexel University. She holds a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania, and her research focuses on the history of technical expertise and work, seen through the lens of historical ideas of human difference. Her most recent book, Race, Rigor and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line (Harvard University Press, 2010), follows racial ideologies in engineering higher education since the 1940s. Her current book project, All Good People: Diversity, Difference and Opportunity in High-Tech America, describes the limits of American commitments to equity around race, gender, LGBTQ, and disabilities as those are expressed in the training of the nation’s industrial workforce. She is coeditor of the journal History and Technology.
Barbara W. Sommer
Barbara Sommer has over 35 years of experience in the oral-history field. She has been principal investigator or director of a number of community oral-history projects, has taught oral history, and has led many community workshops. Sommer is a longtime member of the Oral History Association and is the author and coauthor of several key publications in the field, including The Oral History Manual (2nd ed., 2009; 3rd ed. forthcoming in 2018), The American Indian Oral History Manual (2008), The Community Oral History Toolkit (2013), Practicing Oral History in Historical Organizations (2015), and Doing Veterans Oral History (2015). She was the consultant on the Minnesota Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans oral-visual history project. Sommer holds degrees from Carleton College and the University of Minnesota.
Alice Wong is a sociologist, research consultant, and disability activist based in San Francisco. Her areas of interest are accessible health care for people with disabilities, Medicaid policies and programs, advocacy-based storytelling, and social media. Currently, she is the founder and project coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps, and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. Along with Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan, Wong is a copartner of an online campaign called #CripTheVote encouraging conversations about disability issues during the 2016 presidential election. You can find her on Twitter: @SFdirewolf.