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Lucille Geier Lakes Writer-in-Residence
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Yanna Lambrinidou works at the intersection of environmental justice, community knowledge and technical expertise, blending academic research with grassroots activism. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from Smith College and her doctorate in folklore and ethnography from the University of Pennsylvania.
With support from the National Science Foundation, she designed and team-taught a graduate class on Engineering Ethics and the Public at Virginia Tech to foreground voices of communities directly affected by the work of scientists and engineers. Foundational to this class was her “Learning to Listen” module, which employs an ethnographic approach to ethics instruction that trains students to recognize the technical and moral relevance of community knowledges, experiences, and values. In 2016, the module was recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as exemplary in infusing ethics into engineering education.
Interested in how dominant values in science and engineering affect technical experts’ engagement with diverse communities, she is conducting research on engineers’ imaginaries of “the public.” In partnership with community activists and activist academics, she has launched a multi-stakeholder initiative about community rights in scientific and engineering interventions.
With lead in U. S. drinking water as her focus, she served on the EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) working group, wherein she filed the sole dissenting opinion, and on the Policy and Infrastructure subcommittees of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee. In 2016, she testified at the U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on “The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America’s Children.”
She is the author of Alternative Medicine in Childhood Cancer: Challenges of Vernacular Health Perspectives to Biomedicine (doctoral dissertation, 2006) and coauthor of Crossing Over: Narratives of Palliative Care (Oxford University Press, 2000).