We believe that science and technology can empower communities—but need to be guided by deep insight into communities’ issues, goals, and strategies. We build that insight using empirical research and social theory.

The Fair Tech Collective trains students from Drexel University to take a critical and constructive approach to science and technology. They learn to collaborate and translate across diverse viewpoints.

Gwen Ottinger.jpg

Gwen Ottinger

lab founder


Associate Professor
Department of Politics
Center for Science, Technology, and Society
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Faculty profile
Download CV

For media inquiries, email Emily Storz at Drexel University or call 215.895.2705 (office) or 609.351.3592 (cell) 


"I began learning from Gwen sixteen years ago. She taught me the fundamentals about citizen science, about sampling, about engaging and informing communities so that they can be their own advocates."

—Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade

“The Fair Tech Collective gave me the rare opportunity to critically evaluate which features of technology support democratic values, and which suppress them.”

—Amy Gottsegen, Computer Science major, Drexel University


"Dr. Ottinger has provided the space and leadership for community members to collaborate on significant refinery monitoring issues."

—Constance M. Beutel, EdD, Good Neighbor Steering Committee, Benicia, California

"Working with the Fair Tech Collective showed—rather than told—me the importance of technology that is sensitive to the lives of those it affects."

—Derek Parrott, M.S., Science, Technology, and Society, Drexel University, 2016

Recent Activities

on the page


A chapter, authored by Gwen Ottinger, was published in The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice (2018)

in the press


Gwen Ottinger's research included in the article, "New Blood: The Promise of Environmental Health Citizen Science Projects" (Nov. 2017)

on the web


Translation published of, "Lessons Learned from an Experiment in Infrastructuring" in Toxic News authored by Gwen Ottinger (Nov. 2017)


on the ground


Gwen Ottinger gave an invited presentation on Fenceline Monitoring at the League of Women Voters’ “Shale and Public Health” conference in Pittsburgh, PA (Nov. 2017)

on the page


Gwen Ottinger authored "Crowdsourcing Undone Science" published in Engaging Science, Technology, and Society (Nov. 2017)

on the page


Gwen Ottinger published "Making sense of citizen science: Stories as a hermeneutic resource" in Energy Research & Social Science (Nov. 2017)


On the ground


Gwen Ottinger gave a lecture entitled, “From Sensing to Sense-Making: The Next Frontier of Citizen Science” at the 2017 Dr. Bruce J. Nelson ’74 Distinguished Speaker Series (Oct. 2017)

on the web 


Summer of Maps intern, Sarah Gates, published a blog on her work with flaring incidents and census data (Sept. 2017)

On the web


Research and Outreach Associate Cheryl Holzmeyer authored Investigating STEM: Health Equity as Touchstone for the Future published online on Boom California (Sept. 2017)



in the press

On the ground


in the press

Gwen Ottinger is quoted in the article "Shell agrees to install fenceline air monitors at Beaver County ethane cracker plant" published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Aug. 2017)

Research and Outreach Associate Cheryl Holzmeyer (L) tables for AirWatchBayArea.org at the Benicia Farmer’s Market with community partners Kathy Kerridge (R), and other community partners (Aug. 2017)


Air Watch Bay Area is featured in news articles printed in the Benicia Herald and the Times Herald (Aug. 2017)


On the ground 

In the press


on the ground


Launched the Air Watch Bay Area app and website. These are digital tools used to reveal and act on air pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area (Aug. 2017)

Gwen Ottinger is quoted in the article "Naphtha cracker cancer risk studies halted: expert" published in the Taipei Times after a forum on air pollution (May 2017)  

Gwen Ottinger presents "Dilemmas of Environmental Regulators" to Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency staff (May 2017)


on the page

on the ground

Authored, "Reconstructing or Reproducing? Scientific Authority & Models of Change in Two Traditions of Citizen Science" in The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science (May 2017)

Amy Gottsegen presented "Meaning from Monitoring: Visualizing Heterogeneous Data to Empower Environmental Justice Communities" at Drexel University's Week of Undergraduate Excellence (May 2017) 



on the ground 

on the page

 on the page

Gwen Ottinger presented Meaning from Monitoring project to residents and elected officials in Benicia, CA (Apr. 2017) Watch the presentation

Amy Gottsegen, Fair Tech Collective student and Drexel Computer Science major, presented at EPA Region 2 Forum on Citizen Science (Jan. 2017)


Co-authored “Environmental Justice: Knowledge, Technology, and Expertise” in the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (Dec. 2016)


On the Page

Authored “Exposing Infrastructure [in] Ambient Air Monitoring”: a collaboration between lab founder Gwen Ottinger and Elisa Sarantschin, M.S. in Environmental Policy, 2016, Drexel University (Oct. 2016)

in the press