- Field(s): United States
- Specialization: US environmental history and science and technology
- Advisor(s): Ken Alder
Melanie Hall is a PhD candidate in US History at Northwestern University. She specializes in environmental history, and history of science and technology. Prior to attending Northwestern, Hall received a B.A. in History (highest honors) from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah and an M.A. in History from Binghamton University in New York.
The main task of Hall’s dissertation is to embed Carl Sagan in an account of the various public debates about science his career passed through between 1957 and 1988 in order to explain the relationship between science, the mass media, and society in the United States. By looking at debates about space exploration, UFOs, evolution, and global warming, the project hopes to shed light on an unfortunate legacy: the refusal of many Americans to accept the near consensus of science on issues like global climate change.
Hall was drawn to academia due to her love of teaching and the important role academia can play in building stronger communities and promoting active citizenship. While at Northwestern, Hall was a recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She has also pursued numerous opportunities with nonprofit organizations. In Chicago, she worked on climate change campaigns at the Sierra Club as part of her participation in Northwestern University’s Center for Civic Engagement. In Salt Lake City, she was a research intern at Alliance for a Better Utah, where she focused on redistricting initiatives and transparency in government.