Vanessa Schipani

Headshot of Vanessa Schipani.

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy

Mitchell Center and PPEH Grad Fellow

2023 - 2024

Vanessa Schipani is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at UPenn. Her research broadly examines the importance of science communication in maintaining a functioning democracy. In her dissertation, she develops a new model of trust in science geared specifically towards the many situations under which science is rife with value judgements and uncertainty. Putting this model into action, she argues, requires journalists to perform their central two duties in a democracy: cultivating a well-informed public and holding those in power to account -- and those in power include scientists.

But for journalists to be able to perform this role, we need substantial public funding for journalism. In other words, much like some argue for socialized healthcare or education, she argues for socialized journalism. In this way, her research relates to debates about inductive risk in the philosophy of science and about public reason in political philosophy. Empirical studies in the science of science communication also inform her work.

Prior to starting the PhD, she was a science journalist for 10 years, working most recently for, where she vetted claims made by politicians about climate change to public health. Her journalistic work has also been published in Scientific American, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Undark and Quanta, among other outlets. She
currently writes for the Penn Center for Science Sustainability and the Media. See;!!IBzWLUs!Rq-Gc6hzcqHBFUiVYsYVgl4eDdqvSQnE1Mm_uVR6ltrdpWTyHpqlWNwTab7g57x0O3geyscU5qNbrjB9txqeCtA$  for more information.