Home > News and Events > Center for Biology and Society PhD Graduate earns several awards and looks forward to his academic future
Kelle Dhein

Center for Biology and Society PhD Graduate earns several awards and looks forward to his academic future

April 25, 2021

Kelle Dhein

I have had a wonderful final semester with the Center for Biology and Society this spring. I was able to focus on finishing my doctoral research thanks to the support of a SOLS completion fellowship. I was also awarded the first annual SOLS JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Award for my service work, and I won the Heard Museum’s Eagle Spirit Award for my academic work and dedication to American Indian communities. Finally, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation in April.

Working remotely over the last year has been difficult. I miss having an office and desk in a place other than where I live. However, one of the perks of working remotely was that my family and friends were able to attend my dissertation defense on Zoom. With a title like “The Meaning of Meaning in Insect Navigation Research”, I knew the topic of my dissertation was somewhat mysterious to my family. I like to think watching my defense helped them gain some clarity on what my research actually is about. Of course, I was nervous about defending, but once the ritual was underway, I enjoyed fielding some of the best questions I have ever received about my work. My committee also gave me the much-appreciated compliment of “no revisions” on my dissertation.

Looking forward, I am excited to continue my work integrating historical and philosophical approaches to studying science at the University of Kentucky as a Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral fellow. My next research project is titled “Humans, Animals, and Machines: Behavior in the Information Age.” I will be examining how the post-World War Two “information revolution” in the sciences affected American and European traditions of animal behavior research. I’m especially excited to pursue this project as a Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow because the program has led me to mentors like philosopher of science Julia Bursten and theoretical biologist Jeremy Van Cleve whose work reflects the practice-based, interdisciplinary approach to science studies I aim to pursue.

More immediately, I plan on hiking around public lands in the American southwest and finishing a paper about the history of controversy surrounding the cognitive map hypothesis in animal navigation studies.

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