Kathryn Carpenter

Graduate Student

Kathryn (Kate) Carpenter is a PhD candidate in History of Science at Princeton University whose research focuses on the intersection of environmental history and history of science. Her dissertation is a social and scientific history of storm chasing in the United States since the 1950s. It draws on archival sources, scientific publications, photographs and videos created by storm chasers, popular culture, and oral histories to examine how both professional meteorologists and weather enthusiasts created a community that became central both to our understanding of severe storms and to the cultural identity of the Great Plains.

Kate holds a 2023-2024 Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Honorific Fellowship from Princeton University. From 2022-2023, her work was supported by the Graduate Fellowship in the History of Science from the American Meteorological Society, and in 2021-2022 she held the Taylor-Wei Dissertation Research Fellowship in the History of Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma History of Science. She has also been awarded travel fellowships including the Andrew W. Mellon Travel Fellowship from the University of Oklahoma, the Summer Dissertation Grant from the Princeton American Studies program, and two awards with outstanding merit from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund.

Kate’s master’s thesis focused on water, public land access, and health at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. An article based on this research, “Cesspools, Springs, and Snaking Pipes,” was published by Technology’s Stories as a Best Early Career Paper.

In addition to her academic research, Kate is a writer and public historian. Her work has been published in Contingent Magazine and the Cleveland Review of Books. She has curated several historical exhibits, including Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights, which was award the NCPH Student Project Award and the Midwestern History Association Alice Smith Prize in Public History. She is the creator and host of the Drafting the Past podcast, which has been downloaded more than 50,000 times since its launch in 2022 and is used in college classrooms across the country.

Photo Credit: John Legg

Year of Study
Fifth Year
Area of Interest
Climate History
Cultural History
Digital History
Environmental History
History of Science Communication
History of Technology
Material Culture
Modern Science
Oral History
Physical Sciences
Public History
Rural History
Science and Technology Studies
Social History
Visual Culture
Home Department & Other Affiliations
19th Century
20th Century
21st Century
American West
North America
United States