Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
William & Mary / Smithsonian Institution Archives (Institutional History Program)
Website URL
Modern United States, American Capitalism, History of Science, History of Technology, Public Science Education, STEM, Women in Science, Class and Education, Science and Race, Museums and Displays, Virginia History, Revolutionary America, Loyalists, Intellectual History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Kasey Sease is a Ph.D. candidate in American History at William & Mary and a Research Associate in the Institutional History Program of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Primarily, she studies the historical relationship between nonprofit public science education and capitalism in the United States. Her dissertation, “Marketing Agencies for Science: Nonprofits, Public Science Education, and Capitalism in Modern America,” compares the activities of public-serving, not-for-profit organizations, like the Smithsonian Institution and the Science Museum of Virginia, across nearly 200 years. When considered together, the case studies reveal common trends in, and unique transformations to, the ways that Americans teach each other about science. Today, Americans largely consider STEM education and economic prosperity as common-sense bedfellows. However, as Kasey’s research reveals, nonprofit institutions dating back to the nineteenth century blurred the boundary between accessible science information and profit as they showcased the practical value and profit-potential of scientific knowledge to attract visitors and financial support. This new educational approach wedded science to American capitalism; a union that nonprofits perfected to weather decades of economic change in the United States.

Before her dissertation, Kasey received her B.A. in History and Government from the University of Virginia in 2014. She graduated with highest honors from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics Distinguished Majors Program as an Echols Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her history thesis, “Provincial Influences on Loyalist Writings,” was the Humanities Division Winner at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Network Symposium at UVA and was published in the Michigan Journal of History (an interdisciplinary undergraduate publication). Her distinguished majors thesis, “John C. Calhoun and Majority Tyranny: An Exploration of a Theoretical Problem in American Politics,” was nominated for the Emmerich-Wright Prize for outstanding politics thesis in 2014. She completed her M.A. in American History at William & Mary in 2015. Kasey continued studying loyalists’ lives in Revolutionary America with her master’s thesis, “‘Distresses of Mind, Body, and Estate’: The Connection between Status and Property in Colonial Virginia as Exhibited by Loyalist Claims.” She also received three editorial fellowships from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in 2015-2016. At that time, Kasey was selected by the Virginia Academy of Science to write a history of the Science Museum of Virginia, a project that propelled her scholarly focus into the modern United States. In 2018 she was awarded first place in William & Mary’s annual Three Minute Thesis Competition and the John E. Selby Teaching Prize by the Lyon G. Tyler Department of History. Kasey completed a five-month predoctoral research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the National Museum of American History in January 2020. She was also awarded the 2019-2020 Ed Carpol Award in Modern U.S. History and a Michael Halleran Dissertation Completion Fellowship in the spring of 2020. Kasey enjoys exploring her broad research interests in a variety of settings and, since high school, has interned for several institutions, such as the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, VA, the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles and Essays

“Innovating Nightmares: Ray Bradbury’s Elliott Family and the Horror of Technology in Modern American Capitalism.” Exploring the Horror of Supernatural Fiction: Ray Bradbury’s Elliott Family. Eds. Miranda Corcoran and Steven Ellerhoff (New York: Routledge, 2020).

“‘The Practical Value of Science’: Philanthropy, Capitalism, and the Origin of Public Science Education in the Nineteenth-Century United States.” Journal of Philosophy and History of Education 69 (2019): 73-91.

Book Reviews

“Cutting through All the Signal: A Review of Damon Krukowski’s The New Analog.” H-Podcast, H-Net Reviews. October 21, 2019.

“Learning to Love Science: Rebecca Onion’s Innocent Experiments and the History of an American Cultural Tradition.” Nursing Clio Blog. December 27, 2016.

Selected Blog Posts

“Depression-Era Pen Pals: A Correspondence Between Two Hard-Working Women.” The Bigger Picture (Smithsonian Institution Archives Blog). January 7, 2020.

“Fishing for Collections at the U.S. National Museum.” The Bigger Picture (Smithsonian Institution Archives Blog). December 10, 2019.

“Paper Archives in a Digital World: Researching at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Headquarters.” SuRGe Blog. March 25, 2019.

“Prologue to Glory: Abraham Lincoln in the 1930s.” Civil War Connections: The Mariners’ Museum Sesquicentennial Blog. June 7, 2012.


Media Coverage
William & Mary news profile on predoctoral research fellowship with the Smithsonian Institution:,-educational-smithsonian-institution-feejee-mermaids-need-not-apply.php
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Revolution, American Founding Era, Capitalism, Economic History, Gender, Government, Higher Ed, Museums, Public History, Race, Science, Technology