Rosalyn W. Berne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering and Society's program of Science, Technology and Society (STS). She earned the BA (1979) and MA (1982) degrees in Communication Studies, and a PHD (1999) in Bioethics, all from the University of Virginia. In addition to her academic position, her other professional appointments have included Director of Admissions for the Darden Graduate School of Business, Assistant Vice President for Administration at the University of Virginia; Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Institute of Shipboard Education (Semester at Sea), and Head of School for Tandem Friends School.
R. Berne's publications include two academic books, Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers on Ethics, Meaning and Belief in Nanotechnology Development (EarlbaumPress,2007) and Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction (Pan Stanford, 2015), and numerous journal articles. She has also authored the Science Fiction (SF) novel, Waiting in the Silence (Spore Press, 2012) and two titles in the Body/Mind/Spirit genre: When the Horses Whisper (Rainbow Ridge Books, 2014) and Waking to Beauty (Rainbow Ridge Books, 2016).
As a research scholar R. Berne explores the intersecting realms of emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and the links between the human and non-human worlds, with a particular eye for nodes of ethical concern. Her scholarship is enriched through interpreting social-cultural phenomena in a technological context, using an integrative form of philosophical inquiry. Her most recent line of inquiry takes a phenomenological approach to understanding interspecies communication. Her findings, to date, suggest the imperative to expand the ethical boundaries of engineering practice, deepening and broadening engineering knowledge to encompass consideration of life in the non-human world. To do so, she suggests, increases the likelilhood that engineers will be able to improve the prospects for humanity to live harmoniously on this planet.
R. Berne has taught a variety of courses including: Ethics in Nanotechnology Development; Science Fiction and the Future: The Frankenstein Myth; and Gender Issues and Ethics in the New Reproductive Technologies. Berne was awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award called "Ethics and Belief inside the Development of Nanotechnology," which supported her research from 2002-2007.