Jarita Holbrook

University of Edinburgh

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow

My career path is unusual in that after completing my doctorate in astrophysics (UC Santa Cruz), I used postdoc fellowships strategically to transition into science & technology studies (STS). Since then, I have held academic positions in applied anthropology (University of Arizona), women & gender studies (UCLA), physics (University of Western Cape), and now back in STS (University of Edinburgh). I actively mentor graduate students and postdocs in astrophysics because we cannot change the demographics if we do not retain our talent. 

My research on the enormous Rubin Observatory LSST collaborative project seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How are minoritized scientists joining the Rubin LSST ecosystem?
  2. Has the Rubin LSST ecosystem adjusted to accommodate the special needs of minoritized scientists, and have these been successful?  
  3. Are minoritized scientists well integrated into this ecosystem, and do they have a strong sense of belonging?
  4. What do minoritized scientists say about their participation in this ecosystem? 

My primary data collection method is ethnographic interviews, which in the age of COVID are mainly conducted remotely. However, another intellectual thread is examining workspaces as forms of personal and professional expression, as well as a public presentation of history and status. This thread is lost when working remotely, but perhaps can be rekindled as the pandemic subsides. 

My academic home is the Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. 

Contact Jarita Holbrook