Gary Downey is an ethnographic listener interested in engineering studies, making and doing in STS, and questions involving expertise and personhood. Trained as a mechanical engineer (B.S. Lehigh) and cultural anthropologist (Ph.D. Chicago), he is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Studies and affiliated faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Downey is author of The Machine in Me: An Anthropologist Sits Among Computer Engineers (Routledge), co-author of Engineers for Korea (Morgan & Claypool), co-editor of Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies (School of American Research Press), co-editor of What Is Global Engineering Education For?: The Making of International Educators (Morgan & Claypool), and author of the multimedia course Engineering Cultures (Virginia Tech).
He is editor of the Engineering Studies Series at The MIT Press, the Global Engineering Series at Morgan & Claypool Press, and the journal Engineering Studies: Journal of the International Network of Engineering Studies. He is co-founder of the International Network for Engineering Studies. He has been Distinguished Lecturer at the American Society for Engineering Education and Keynote Lecturer at the World Congress of Chemical Engineering and Brazilian Society for Science and Technology Studies (ESOCITE.BR).
At Virginia Tech, he is winner of the William E. Wine Award for career excellence in teaching, XCaliber Award for high-quality instructional technology, and Diggs Teaching Scholar Award for original scholarship in teaching.
He serves as President of the Society for Social Studies of Science.
His current research uses historical ethnography to examine how engineers attach themselves to countries, framing education as techno-national formation. One goal is to extend critical analysis to critical participation, a version of making and doing in STS, to enable both engineers and STS scholars to better identify and reflect critically on their expertise, identities, and commitments.