Gwen Ottinger turned her research towards science and the community after being confronted with the question, "who decides?" She earned her dual bachelor's degrees in Science, Technology, and Culture and Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1997 before continuing on to graduate studies. Her 2005 PhD from the University of California at Berkeley is in Energy and Resources. Her research focused on a community next to an oil refinery, and how they monitored air quality using bucket monitors. After completing her dissertation, Dr. Ottinger still looks air quality monitoring and its effects on community health and justice. This fall, she will start a new position as Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program at the University of Washington-Bothell.