Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn

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I am an anthropologically-oriented STS scholar working at the intersection of community engagement, design research and pedagogy, and environmental justice.

My scholarly work on the contexts that enable effective collaboration, communication, and engagement is rooted in interdisciplinary research that centers both STS and non-academic perspectives.

For the past decade, building on my early ethnographic research on how environmental scientists at the EPA are approaching communication as a task of “context production,” I have designed and developed contexts for collaborative data analysis (the Platform for Collaborative Experimental Ethnography), public data sharing (the Jefferson Project Data Dashboard), and community-engaged pedagogy (Volunteer Troy and Vasudha Living & Learning).

My most recent research, while rooted in local community-engaged methods, aims to impact national policy and practices around nuclear waste, leading to more just and equitable processes and outcomes.

Education & Training

Permaculture Design Certificate, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, New York, June 2016

Ph.D., Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, August 2012   

B.S., Science, Technology, and Society, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, May 2006


My research and writing are situated within a wide variety of contexts, from innovations in “science communication as context production” in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to my current work enabling community-led redesign of nuclear waste policy. What’s common in all of these projects is a fascination with how STS can build on its long-standing success in helping people see the “bigger picture” (i.e. understanding context) by working with diverse stakeholders to build concepts, methods, and strategies that animate collective capacity to transform the contexts of their work. 

Primary Research Focus
Community engagement, design research & pedagogy, & environmental justice


My teaching focuses on the intersection of social, ecological, and media literacy, bringing community engagement together with design thinking and creative research methods. For over a decade, I have had the pleasure of working with diverse students pursuing a wide range of majors and career paths, from social science and humanities, to engineering and computer science. My classes provide tools to understand how a matrix of factors (political, economic, cultural, historical, informational, legal, etc.) weave together to make social and ecological problems challenging and intriguing. Students gain a sense of diversity as a celebrated asset and experience systems thinking as a way of illuminating points of collaboration and intervention. 

Current Courses

Sustainability and STS Careers

Design, Innovation, & Society Studio A: Regenerative and Context-Centered Design

Advising & Mentoring

I regularly mentor students in connection with my research, offer independent studies, mentor STS graduate students, serve on PhD committees and graduate exam committees, serve as thesis advisor for Sustainability Studies majors, contribute pedagogically focused initiatives to performance planning, advise multiple student clubs, and serve as faculty advisor on student-led proposals and grants.


Awards & Honors

2023 Rensselaer Trustees Outstanding Teacher Award, $17,050, institute-wide “teacher of the year” award 

2023 Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Award for Exceptional Service

2021 David M. Darrin ’40 Counseling Award, $12,350, to recognize a faculty member who has made an unusual/exceptional contribution to the counseling of undergraduate students

2019 Rensselaer School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Award for Exceptional Teaching, $500

Presentations & Appearances

“Contingent Hope for Better Relations: Grassroots Infrastructure for Sustainable Community Engagement,” with Jen Cardinal, Northeast Modern Language Association, Boston, MA (2024)

“Community-Centered Design of Structures of Engagement: STS Perspectives on Consent-Based Siting,” Quarterly Meeting of the Consent-Based Siting Consortia, U.S. Department of Energy, Cleveland, OH (2023) 

“Autoethnography, Collaborative Research, and Community Engaged Pedagogy in Troy, NY,” with Jen Cardinal, Guy Schaffer, and Abby Kinchy, the Sustainable Solutions Lab Transdisciplinary Climate Justice Research Workshop, Boston, MA (2023)

“Grassroots Infrastructure for Community Engaged Work,” with Jen Cardinal and Guy Schaffer, Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, Online (2022)

“Precarious Methods: Contingency, Research, and Burnout,” with Jen Cardinal, Guy Schaffer, Chris Tozzi, and Jarah Moesch DIY Methods, conference hosted by the Low-Carbon Research Group (2022)

“Context-Centered Design: From Ethnography of Design to the Design of Ethnography and Pedagogy,”   Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, Toronto and online (2021)

“Situated Experiences: Ethical Questions, Experiential Learning,” with Guy Schaffer and Jen Cardinal, Engage for Change Conference, hosted by the Community Campus Collaborative, Loudonville, NY (2021)

“The Eco Ed Research Program: Adapting Lessons for Ecuadorian Climate Change Education Policy,” Kaleidos Center for Interdisciplinary Ethnography at the University of Cuenca, Ecuador (2019)

“Experimental Education Infrastructures: Centering Climate Justice,” and panel organizer with Guy Schaffer, Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science, New Orleans, LA (September 2019)


The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn has 7 indexed publications in the subjects of Social Sciences, Computer Science, Medicine.

Aalok Khandekar, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Lindsay Poirier, Alli Morgan, Alison Kenner, Kim Fortun, Mike Fortun
Science and Technology Studies
, 34
, 2021
, pp.78-102
Lindsay Poirier, Kim Fortun, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Mike Fortun
Anthropological Data in the Digital Age: New Possibilities - New Challenges
, 2019
, pp.209-237
Lindsay Poirier, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn
Data Science Journal
, 18
, 2019
Kim Fortun, Lindsay Poirier, Alli Morgan, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Mike Fortun
Big Data and Society
, 3
, 2016
Mike Fortun, Kim Fortun, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Tahereh Saheb, Daniel Price, Alison Kenner, Jerome Crowder
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
, 795
, 2014
, pp.321-332
Kim Fortun, Mike Fortun, Erik Bigras, Tahereh Saheb, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, Jerome Crowder, Daniel Price, Alison Kenner
Cultural Studies
, 28
, 2014
, pp.632-642
Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn
New Genetics and Society
, 32
, 2013
, pp.451-454

View All Scopus Publications

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