Preparing for General Exams:
James Burnes has traveled from Mayan ball courts in Belize and the fossil filled deserts of Utah to the TEDxOU stage absorbing and sharing the knowledge of field expeditions and collecting. Passionate about community outreach, he maintains his own traveling fossil exhibition called the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Museum which he takes to school classrooms, homeschools, libraries, universities, and even city parks in order to engage people who may not have the opportunity to visit a museum. By combining the history of science with the history of objects as well as personal experience in archaeology and paleontology, the exhibits reveal a dynamic relationship between the sciences and the humanities and have allowed him to live up to his museum’s tagline: “Have Bones Will Travel.” Museum updates, paleo news, and PhD progress can be followed at PaleoPorch.com. He also tweets about cartoons more than he should @Lifethrutime. Currently, James is the exhibits technician and docent manager for the History of Science Collections where he oversees the galleries and provides unique exhibit experience for the public and visiting researchers. His responsibilities include preparing displays and training exhibit docents to facilitate individual or group/class tours, beginning with the current Galileo's World exhibit (https://galileo.ou.edu). On the content and interpretive side of the exhibits, James served as co-curator for the exhibits at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
Nathan Kapoor completed a B.S. in History and secondary education licensure at Tennessee Technological University and completed his M. A. in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. In addition to history, Nathan has studied jazz and was the first-chair percussionist in the school's jazz ensemble for three years, and he has continued with the University of Oklahoma Chamber Jazz Ensemble. He has done some museum internships and worked on history of science exhibits, such as assisting the chairman of the André Michaux International Society with the development of an exhibit. His master’s thesis critiqued the historiography of electrical generation technologies and argued for a greater inclusion of wind power in the history of early electrification. Currently, Nathan is preparing for his field exams in: energy and electricity, technology and empire, and engineering and ethics. He is also set to complete a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies for his final field. Early dissertation work is focused on the electrification of New Zealand, specifically the relationship between the colonial administration and electrical technologies.
Read more about Nathan's research at elecectricalgeneration.com.
Younes Mahdavi completed his BS in Mathematics at Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran) and then earned his MA in the History of Science at the University of Tehran. His MA research focused on mathematics and astronomy in medieval Islam. In his master’s thesis he explored the application of spherical trigonometry in astronomy from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, with a focus on new techniques developed by Islamic and Iranian mathematicians that replaced the techniques of Ptolemy’s Almagest. In spring 2015, Younes, enrolled in the University of Oklahoma’s PhD program in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. He is interested in the cross-cultural transmission of science between the Islamic world and the Latin West during the middle ages and early modern period. For his dissertation project, he is working on the intellectual history of Safavid Iran, which dates back to the early modern period (16th and 17th centuries), focusing on astronomy and mathematical sciences.
Ashley Nicole McCray is Oglala & Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma [Mekoche & Kispoko division - Big Jim Band - Horse (Deer) clan]. She is a mother, land defender, and a PhD student at the University of Oklahoma, where she is one of the first in her program to specialize in indigenous knowledge in the history of science, technology and medicine program. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2010, an MA in History from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2012, and an MA in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine from the University of Oklahoma in 2014.
She founded the group Indigenize OU, which was responsible for successfully petitioning the University of Oklahoma to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day in fall 2015, working with the Vice President of Diversity Jabar Shumate to develop and implement a Bias Incident Reporting system for OU, and educating the community about the true history behind the “Sooner” name and the effects of colonization.
Ashley was part of Idle No More Central OK, a member of #ipdOKC, the group who fought to bring Indigenous Peoples Day to OKC, a founding member and leader in the group Live Indigenous OK, a part of the group fighting to end the 89er Day Parade in Norman, a founding member of Unsettling Oklahoma, and a founder of #NoPlainsPipeline, which is currently fighting to stop the Plains All American Pipeline from completing their Red River II Project, which will cut through sacred tribal lands. She is currently working with fellow #NoPlainsPipeline founder and Absentee Shawnee tribal member Alecia Onzahwah and their tribe to educate their community about environmental racism, fracking, pipelines, water and land rights, and sovereignty.
Ashley was one of eleven women selected by the White House out of over 1000 nominations nationwide as a 2015 WHO Champion of Change for Young Women Empowering Their Communities. The same year, she was selected from among organizers nationwide to attend both years of the 2-year plot program for the Gloria Steinem & Wilma Mankiller School for Organizers. Ashley was the 2015 recipient of the Norman Human Rights Commission and Norman City Council's Human Rights Award for her work in indigenous, a CoreAlign Speaking Race to Power Fellow, a nominee for Oklahoma's ACLU board of directors, and archivist/historian for the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
This summer, Ashley attended the second convening of the Gloria & Wilma School for Organizers, visited her Shawnee homelands with tribal elders, and participated in the Protect Our Public Lands Act (POPLA) Tour caravan to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she and other indigenous land defenders participated in a documentary filmed by PaperRocket Productions. The documentary was based around the Clean Energy March leading up to the Democratic Convention. If passed, POPLA will ban fracking on all public lands nationwide. While in Philadelphia, Ashley spoke on the opening plenary of the Clean Energy Summit as well as a panel with the caravan.
Jackson Pope completed his BA in history at Montana State University. While there he worked as a volunteer with The Extreme History Project helping to transcribe oral histories of reservation life from Crow tribal elders as part of the Fort Parker Oral History Project. After graduation he decided to pursue his interests in the history of science and spent a year in independent research in preparation for graduate school. He is particularly interested in the history of amateur science and the relationships between scientists and amateurs. In his master’s thesis, Jackson examined the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology as a space where professional ornithologists and amateur bird watchers interacted as part of a larger community of bird watching. He used this analysis as a means to dismantle narratives of professionalization that separate scientists and the public. Jackson is currently researching recordings made from the 1930s-1960s by Arthur A. Allen, Albert R. Brand, and Peter Paul Kellogg of Cornell University. Their work, along with their interactions with a network of amateur bird song recorders in the 1950s-60s, created the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s famous Library of Natural Sounds, now the largest repository of animal recordings in the world. In conjunction with this research, he was awarded a 2016 George Miksch Sutton Scholarship from the OU Department of Biology to create a digital online archive of bird song records with assistance from the Fine Arts Library, the Digitization Laboratory, the Department of Biology, and the Digital Scholarship Lab. The archive will be available to researchers through ShareOK, and at other sites as it is developed. In his free time, Jackson states he is far too fond of Lovecraft, terrible sci-fi movies, photography, and carnivorous plants.
To learn more about Jackson's project, visit his blog Parliament of Owls, or check out his YouTube channel Jackson Pope.
Brent Purkaple completed a BA in Greek and Hebrew with a minor in History in 2007 from Oklahoma Baptist University, and then completed an MA at Wheaton College in Biblical Exegesis in 2009. In spring 2015 he completed his MA in the History of Science at OU. His master’s thesis, titled, “Making Sense of Mathematics: The Certitudine Mathematicarum Debate and its Relationship to Plato and Aristotle,” explored the ontology of mathematics in a sixteenth-century Italian debate. He plans to continue looking into the development of science within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for his dissertation. Brent works as a graduate research assistant in the History of Science Collections, and as such has been working to strengthen K-12 education outreach for the Collections as well as to help launch the exhibition, Galileo’s World. In his free time he enjoys running, exploring the outdoors, and fiddling with his violin.
Read more about Brent's research at brentpurkaple.com
Anna Reser has a BFA in studio art and an MA in history of science. She is currently pursuing a PhD and writing a dissertation about design culture and the built environment in the American space program. Her other writing and research interests include popular culture, critical and literary theory, art history, and women and gender studies. She is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker with a focus on the aesthetics of technology and information. She is the co-editor of the monthly magazine Lady Science [ladyscience.com].
Read more about Anna's interests at annareser.com.