Samm Newton

Credentials: Merle Curti Teaching Fellow

Position title: Lecturer: History of Science 350 – Environmental History of Smart Phones


Advisors: Gregg Mitman and Elizabeth Hennessy
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Office: 5269 Mosse Humanities Building
Mailbox: 5048 Mosse Humanities Building
Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:00-4:00pm (and by appointment) in 5269 Mosse Humanities

Samm Newton headshot


In general, my work aims to pair marine humanities scholarship with creative practice. My doctoral dissertation investigates intersections among life, nonlife, and the more-than-human world, expertise in the earth sciences, and environmental values and decision making. My work is informed by archival research on industry science, analysis of science and expertise in federal marine policies, and observations made working on offshore jurisdiction for the U.S. Senate as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before moving to Wisconsin, I earned an M.A. from Oregon State University (OSU) through the Environmental Arts and Humanities initiative. As an NSF fellow there, I also minored in Risk and Uncertainty Quantification and Communication in Marine Systems. My interdisciplinary thesis explored the role of marine science and technology in how humans think and and make decisions about the ocean in two areas: fisheries regulation and ocean acidification. During my time at OSU I also began a project through the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative with scientists from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and engineers from the University of South Florida. That work continues through NSF funding and I am excited to be working with them again on a children’s book about pteropods, interdisciplinarity, and how we ask questions about the ocean.


M.A., Oregon State University
B.S., Texas State University


  • History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Open Ocean: The Gulf of Mexico and the 20th Century Making of Deepwater Territory”

Selected Awards

  • 2024 Merle Curti Teaching Fellowship
  • 2022 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Professional Affiliations

  • Edge Effects Magazine, UW Center for Culture, History, and the Environment
  • American Society for Environmental History
  • History of Science Society
  • American Association of Geographers
  • International Commission of the History of Oceanography
  • Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society for Social Studies of Science

Courses Taught as TA

  • HIST/ENVIR ST/HIST SCI 125 – Green Screen: Environmental Perspectives Through Film