Engineering and Liberal Education Symposium

E&LE logo over a gradient blue background


2021 E&LE Symposium

The first Engineering and Liberal Education (E&LE) Symposium was held at Union College in 2008 and was made possible by a Presidential Discretionary Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Over the years, this symposium has provided a forum for educators and professionals to discuss the role of engineering at a liberal arts college and liberal arts in an engineering education.

We are excited to gather this year to continue this discussion as part of the 13th annual E&LE Symposium. We invite you to join us in our discussions focused on the theme of Creating a Culture of Collaboration: Preparing the Next Generation of E&LE Scholars and Practitioners. This year’s virtual program will include engaging presentations and workshops. Our keynote event, titled Engineering the Future: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Liberal Arts, will bring together three academic and industry leaders to share their perspectives on the importance of diversity, inclusion, and the intersection of engineering and the arts and sciences in addressing societal issues.

We welcome your participation in these important discussions.

- The E&LE Symposium Committee

  • Acknowledgements

    We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Laurence W. Levine ’52 and Barry Traub ’53 Endowed Lecture Fund on the Liberal Arts and Engineering.

Program Schedule and Abstracts

Friday, October 1

  • 12:30-1:00 PM Welcome and Introductions

    Welcome and Introductions

  • [1 - 1:50 p.m.] - Session One: Teaching in Times of Stress

    Moderator: Dave Hans

    1 - 1:15 p.m.
    Michele Choi Ausman (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
    Asian Identity and Engineering Education in the Times of COVID

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, engineering students have made the move from in-person course work to online spaces, while also trying to find their own place in engineering. Along learning online during COVID-19, various social events and movements heightened in presence across the US. In an ethnographic study, I look to see how Asian engineering students in the US have navigated their education during COVID-19. Through 40 semi-structured interviews, I talked with Asian engineering students about their experiences with online learning, engineering, identity, and social consciousness.

    First, I look at how students faired in relation to the move online and the outcomes of online learning. Then I view how Asian identity is formed through college, engineering, and online learning. Finally, I close with the ways their social consciousness and understanding of terms related to Asian American Studies have formed not only during their time in engineering education, but throughout their life. Specifically, I try to unpack the ways their Asian identity has developed during COVID-19 and the sociopolitical climate of the past two years.

    1:15 - 1:35 p.m.
    Nicole Theodosiou (Union College)
    Educational silver linings of the pandemic (it didn’t all suck)

    The COVID19 pandemic upended higher education and challenged our assumptions about how we teach and how students learn. Issues around accessibility, equity, and inclusion were not new, but became more evident as support structures and social networks went into quarantine. The result was decreased engagement, motivation, and sense of community for both the learner and instructor. With the return to in-person teaching and learning, it would be a mistake to think that these challenges will magically disappear. Faculty have the opportunity now to transform how we create classroom experiences and assessments that reflect student diversity while also keeping us motivated and engaged as educators. I will discuss the challenges revealed by the pandemic and ways we can effectively address these challenges to maximize our in-person and remote academic environments and create spaces for improved learning performance.

    1:35 - 1:50 p.m. - Group Discussion

  • [2 - 2:50 p.m.] - Session Two: Attracting the Underrepresented

    Moderator: Dave Hans

    2 - 2:15 p.m.
    Barbara Neumann (IBM Corporation)
    Breaking Barriers and Building Skills for Success in Technology Careers

    For my current role at IBM as a Technical Content Professional, responsible for the publication of over 200 technical documents and solutions delivered online to support clients of the IBM Z mainframe platform, I have assembled a wide range of skills. In this lightning talk, I will present my approach to having a "growth mindset" and exploring educational opportunities at my job, on college campuses, and locally in the community.

    These approaches will include: IBM badge certifications, online course work, on-site classes in Microsoft Office, speaker training with Toastmasters International, project management classes, technical writing classes and programs, an internship on statistics and analytics, and courses at IBM in telecommunications and programming. The intent is to encourage students in preparing for job roles.

    I will share my career path and assignment transitions, and discuss the value of developing STEAM skills for young women and traditionally under-represented student populations. My background includes speaking with students at local colleges to provide outreach for building the skills needed to break barriers in the technology field.

    2:15 - 2:30 p.m.
    Farley Chery (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
    Representation is easy, if you try. Designing from the perspective of the under represented

    This project combats lack of representation in animation industry by providing high-quality multi-ethnic characters to animation community. Rigs help animators turn 3D models from statues into living characters. Lack of diversity forces white as a default, forcing compromise on an artist’s vision, disallowing them the opportunity to challenge a repressive status quo. Promoting greater representation across ethnic heritages, Rigs of Color pushes technical advances and artistic acumen tackling the limiting factors that challenge specialized artists.

    To understand how pervasive this issue is, we should first look at Animation Buffet Blog-spot the largest site promoting animatable 3D characters (rigs). At the time of this writing, it lists five rigs with changeable color (up from three last year), who default to white. Two African heritage and two Hispanic heritage characters are for sale. On a site with over 2,000 there are more robots and Orcs then there are Black, Asian, Latinx, and other ethnicities combined.

    To increase representation, “Rigs of Color” furthers the art of rigging. Various advanced techniques were turned into an easy to us plugin, these techniques surpass the flexibility and range of the most popular rigs on the internet. Technology was created for the purpose of fighting racism. The plugin is being applied to commissioned ethnic character models created by students, the lessons learned along the way changed how classes are taught. Students’ outcomes are demonstrably better across the board. Teaching the “exotic” as the norm has encouraged students from various majors to contribute work to the project.

    2:30 - 2:45 p.m.
    Deidre Hill Butler (Union College)
    Learning from the experts: Nextprof, mentoring in engineering

    NEXTPROF: Developed by expert faculty, Michigan Engineering’s annual NextProf workshops have established a reputation as preeminent events in a nationwide effort to strengthen and diversify the next generation of academic leaders.

    Meet mentors & future collaborators - expanding personal networks
    Attend panel discussions with successful faculty
    Learn about the faculty search process
    Prepare for the academic job market
    Plan for the rigors of first faculty positions
    Understand how to build a successful research program

    Discuss their process and brainstorm on how it could fit at Liberal Arts Colleges (Union)

    2:45 - 3 p.m. - Group Discussion

  • [3:15 - 4:45 p.m.] - Workshop (Choose one from the list below)

    Pick one of the two sessions below:

    David Gillette (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); Ramona Ausubel (Colorado State University); Matthew Harsh (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); Michael Haungs (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
    Combining Story & STEM for Catharsis in Times of Crisis: Using positive storytelling and meaning-filled design to bring isolated communities together across divides of distance, expertise, outlook & culture.) - Abstract below.
    Moderator: Nicole Marshall


    Abby Aresty (Oberlin College and Conservatory) and Rachel Gibson (University of Virginia)
    Crafting Sound Workshop - Abstract below.
    Moderator: Chris Chandler

    David Gillette (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); Ramona Ausubel (Colorado State University); Matthew Harsh (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); Michael Haungs (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
    Combining Story & STEM for Catharsis in Times of Crisis: Using positive storytelling and meaning-filled design to bring isolated communities together across divides of distance, expertise, outlook & culture.)
    We will present the results of what our students created when asked to combine storytelling with STEM education during a time of crisis. We start by showing how we combined MFA creative writing students, with liberal arts and engineering students and architecture students to imagine and design immersive VR representations of positive post-pandemic futures. We then discuss how we adapted those approaches to storytelling and design as we developed and ran a series of STEM-education workshops for middle-school students from under-represented communities just outside our campus doors. We will advocate the use of meaning-filled design as a teaching and community development tool that helps to bring students together from different community backgrounds and experiences.

    Abby Aresty (Oberlin College and Conservatory) and Rachel Gibson (University of Virginia)
    Crafting Sound Workshop
    Today, we are constantly asked to shift between different interaction modalities, whether in person, online, or hybrid. The tools we use to navigate across and between these modalities are products of the societies that create them and are reflective of their inherent socio-political structures. The technologies of sound are no exception. In Between Air and Electricity, artist Cathy Van Eck offers a provocation: what if microphones and speakers - ‘inaudible’ and ubiquitous contemporary technologies employed strictly to capture and reproduce sound - could be reimagined as musical instruments? In the Crafting Sound Workshop, we will use found objects and mediating technologies to explore the intersection of physical and virtual spaces through deep listening and sonic improvisation. We will situate these sonic investigations in applied principles of design fiction and critical making to foster inquiry and discourse into hybrid pedagogies for the liberal arts classroom.

  • [5:30 - 6:00 p.m.] - BYO Refreshment - Reception

    Join us for casual conversation before our keynote presentation.
    Lead by Nicole Marshall and Chris Chandler

  • [6 - 7:15 p.m.] - Keynote Panel: Engineering the Future: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Liberal Arts

    To learn more about our panelists, read the abstract please visit our 2021 E&LE Keynote page.

Saturday, October 2

  • 8:30-9:00 AM Bring Your Own Coffee/Tea

    Bring your own coffee/tea

  • [9 - 10 a.m.] - Session Three - Integration

    Moderator: Barbara Neumann

    9 - 9:15 p.m.
    Sarah Appelhans, A. Cheville, M. S. Thompson, A. Whitaker, M. Hamilton (Bucknell University)
    Freedom, Convergence, and a Liberal Education
    The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Bucknell University recently was awarded an NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant to integrate convergent problems across the degree program. Convergence is a term that has come into use among science funding agencies and other policy organizations to bring together ideas around interdisciplinary research and cooperation organized around societally relevant challenges. As practiced convergence often reflects neoliberal priorities, including elements of translational or use-inspired research.

    Bucknell ECE’s RED project builds from Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom framework which hypothesizes individual freedom as both a means and end to economic and social development. Freedom is developed by encouraging new ‘functionings’ what people wish to do or become while also building their ‘capabilities’ which are their capacity to achieve the desired functionings. In this project convergent problems are used to introduce engineering students to potential functionings that extend beyond engineering disciplines and which align with engineering’s epistemic frameworks. Working on such problems as part of their required engineering coursework will provide opportunities to build capabilities.

    In this poster we discuss the early stages of this effort, including how we operationally define convergent problems and early-stage qualitative research on understanding faculty attitudes towards integrating broader, more contextualized problems into existing engineering coursework.

    9:15 - 9:30 a.m.
    Ashraf Ghaly
    (Union College)
    Seamlessly integrating engineering and the liberal arts as one fabric with interwoven layers
    In the engineering design of facilities, plans are made to show the details of the designer’s intent. No matter how simple the facility is, it is extremely rare that only one design plan will suffice to inform the construction crew of the detailed particulars of the structure. For this reason, many plans of various components of the designed facility are provided. Using the discipline of civil engineering and considering a simple structure as an example, plans are made for the site, foundation, skeleton, mechanical and electrical equipment, water supply and disposal, heating and cooling, landscaping, and drainage. Furthermore, architectural plans may be made for finishing materials, furniture, and human circulation. All of the above components are almost impossible to show on one plan and each is usually detailed in a separate layer and stacked to perfectly coincide with other layers. Engineering and architectural design programs allow the user to turn these layers on and off depending on the level of detail needed. Turning all the layers simultaneously on will probably provide the most sophisticated design plan that no one can actually read due to its extreme crowdedness. Turning purposely-selected layers on, however, will focus on elements of interest to the reader of the plan. This paper proposes a similar approach to integrate engineering and the liberal arts with one caveat: instead of stacking layers of engineering and liberal arts information, create a seamless fabric of interwoven layers. This approach was used in teaching a course on sensors and their applications. The intent behind the integration has always been to demonstrate that both engineering and the liberal arts do not operate in a vacuum and that they are interdependent. The methods used to achieve this goal, however, may not be conducive to attain great success as each of the two topics is taught individually and the link between them is left loose although a tight connection is possible. The interwoven layers approach relies on complete assimilation of information rather than attempting to glue two different layers of information. This fabric-like structure of integration will make it easier for students to comprehend the intimate connection between subjects that seem unrelated. This approach will have the effect of eliminating the confusion that may result from teaching both subjects individually without detailing the intricate relationship each has with the other.

    9:30 - 9:45 a.m.
    Benjamin Cohen, Kristen Sanford, Jenn Rossmann, Shantae Shand
    (Lafayette College)

    "Asking ‘why’ instead of ‘how’": Methods for improving diversity in the classroom and engineering that promotes more inclusive technologies from a liberal art degree program in Engineering Studies

    The Engineering Studies Program at Lafayette College has graduated more than 900 majors in its 50-year history. While the major requirements have evolved over time, the core principles of the program – articulated at the program’s founding as “Society needs more liberally-educated persons with technical backgrounds” – have not. Thus, as the program celebrated its half century of educating sociotechnical citizens, and as society grapples with all-consuming sociotechnical problems – climate change, systemic racism, and pandemic spread and disruption – we investigated how our alumni see themselves and how their sociotechnical education has contributed to their identities and paths.

    Our previous work documented the history of the program, its current status, its core curriculum, and curricular outcomes to find that students do view themselves as sociotechnical thinkers. It also found that graduates are more diverse in terms of gender than those in other engineering programs on our campus, and more racially/ethnically diverse than both students in other engineering programs and students as a whole at our institution. This paper addresses how the program has sought to develop sociotechnical thinking and attract a relatively diverse group of students to the major by asking them directly. We investigated alumni perspectives on their experiences in the program as undergraduates and how those experiences have shaped their thinking about themselves, their citizenship, and their careers. The paper summarizes and synthesizes the results of alumni surveys. The insights we found provide faculty at our own and other institutions with lessons for considering how better to educate students as socio-technical thinkers while broadening participation in engineering.

    9:45 - 10 a.m. - Group Discussion

  • [10:15 - 11:15 a.m.] - Session Four: AI & Ethics

    Moderator: Barbara Neumann

    10:15 - 10:30 a.m.
    Michele Ricci Bell
    (Union College)
    The ethics of sex dolls and nurse-bots: German perspectives
    For this year’s Symposium, I would like to give a talk that draws upon the discourses of ethics and machines in contemporary Germany. Specifically, I would like to focus on the work of Dr. Oliver Bendel, currently Professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). Bendel’s own unique academic background, with degrees in German Studies, Philosophy and Information Science, informs his approach to questions about the “moral implications and societal consequences of information technology.” (interview in Die Welt, 27.4.2019). In Bendel recent book, Maschinenliebe (Machine Love) (2020), he discusses sex dolls and robots in technical, psychological and philosophical contexts. Another recent book deals with similar questions in relation to Pflegeroboter (health-care robots). My paper will present some of the key questions and findings put forward in Bender’s work, considering the ways that his interdisciplinary approach enriches his perspectives. Moreover, it will relate the questions explored in the work of contemporary German scientists like Bendel to a broader historical discourse of technology and ethics in Germany.

    10:30 - 10:45 p.m.
    Jacky Doll
    (IBM Corporation)
    Addressing New Levels in the AI Space
    The PhD program in Cognitive Science at RPI is part of a large joint project between the RPI-IBM Artificial Intelligence Research Collaboration. In this talk, I will discuss my participation in the program, and in the immersive data and decision-making support environment being developed at the CISL: Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab. I will talk about reinventing my career to address new levels in the AI space. I will also discuss how the collaborative aspects at RPI's CISL can help identify new topics in AI and immersive technologies and bring value and innovation to liberal arts and engineering education.

    10:45 - 11 a.m.
    Anastasia Pease, Rebecca Cortez, Timothy Stablein, Kristina Striegnitz, Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini
    (Union College)
    A Human’s Guide to AI -- a multidisciplinary exploration of artificial intelligence
    In the Fall of 2020, five Union College professors representing different disciplines (engineering, computer science, philosophy, sociology, and English) collaborated to teach an online course on Artificial Intelligence. Despite the difficulties of remote learning, the course was a good opportunity for students and for faculty members to learn from each other and to discuss AI from multiple points of view. This panel will discuss the course and its highlights and answer audience questions about the materials and the approaches used.

    11 - 11:15 a.m. - Group Discussion

  • [11:30 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.] - Session Five: Building Partnerships

    Moderator: Carol Bahruth

    11:30 - 11:45 a.m.
    Michael Elmes and Ingrid Shockey
    (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
    Two-Eyed Seeing for Engineers: The Challenges and Opportunities of Project-based Learning with Māori Partners
    In this presentation, we talk about how we have tried to prepare US-based STEM students at WPI to partner with indigenous thinking and communities at the WPI Wellington (NZ) Project Center. We discuss the types of projects we have had with our Māori partners, some of the preparation materials we have provided to our students, how we have encouraged our students to approach Maori-related projects and partners, some of the challenges that faculty, students, and our Māori partners have faced, and how we are learning from the positive and negative outcomes of these challenges.

    11:45 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    Abby Aresty, Al Evangelista, Abe Reshad, Larissa Fekete
    (Oberlin College and Conservatory)
    The ArtiFACT Project: Building Community and Language Skills Through Storytelling and Making
    Across cultures, humans make, buy, find, share, or gift objects. Over time, all objects take on new meanings as they remind us of moments, people, or places. ArtiFACT is a collaborative exhibit in which visitors scan barcodes affixed to 3D printed object replicas to hear the story of each item, as told by the person to whom it belongs. First launched in Spring 2019, the ArtiFACT Project begins with workshops that pair communities across cultures to seed ArtiFACT exhibits with stories and objects. Participants bring a meaningful object to photograph and use 3D printers to create replicas in the form of lithophanes. They interview each other and record descriptions of their object’s physical appearance, its personal and cultural significance, and a related memory. Our participants include international students studying English at Oberlin College, and senior citizens from a nearby retirement community.

    After pivoting to remote workshops and a virtual exhibit midstream in Spring 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ArtiFACT team redesigned the project from scratch for Spring 2021: rather than 3D printing artifacts of importance, participants shared recipes and stories, and compiled a digital cookbook featuring their stories and artwork. The ArtiFACT Kitchen cookbook also featured creative dance video collaborations alongside the recipes and stories shared by participants, created by a group of dance student collaborators. In this presentation, we share a brief overview of each project iteration, along with lessons learned through comparing and contrasting our experiences of in-person and remote project-based learning.

    12 - 12:20 p.m.
    Ari Epstein
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Sarah Bouchard (MIT), Nonabah Lane (Navajo Ethno-Agriculture), Emma Robbins (DIGDEEP), Abdon Escalera (Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico), Jill Bassett (MIT), Katherine Trimble (MIT), David McGee (MIT)
    Centering community partners' priorities: a model for long-term collaboration within a university and between the university and partner communities
    Student-centered, onsite engagement with real-world problems benefits significantly from partnerships with local communities, but the communities themselves often expend significant effort while experiencing minimal benefit. We present a model of long-term collaboration centered on community partners' needs and priorities. The model depends crucially on the participation of a university's public-service center, along with the learning program in which the formal educational activities are based. The public-service center works with community partners to create long-term service programs based on the community's priorities, physical setting and cultural context. The learning program serves as an "on-ramp," engaging students in these long-term programs and building a path to sustainability within the university. The model has been developed and tested by collaboration with partners in two contexts--the Navajo Nation and Puerto Rico. We report on the details of the collaboration, early results, and lessons learned.

    12:20 - 12:35 p.m. - Group Discussion

  • [12:35 - 1:30 p.m.] - Lunch

    Lunch on your own

  • [1:30 - 2:30 p.m.] - Workshop (Choose one from the list below)

    Pick one of the two sessions below:

    John Krupczak (Hope College)
    Hands-on Design Activities for Introduction to Engineering in a Liberal Arts Environment - Abstract below.
    Moderator: Becky Cortez


    Yunn-Shan Ma (Rochester Institute of Technology)
    Interdisciplinary Project-Based Music Theory Pedagogy for STEM majors - Abstract below.
    Moderator: Chris Chandler

    John Krupczak (Hope College)
    Hands-on Design Activities for Introduction to Engineering in a Liberal Arts Environment
    Participants will carry out design activities that are specifically intended for introductory engineering courses in liberal arts or other highly inclusive educational environments. The lack of diversity in engineering merits exploration of other viable paths into the profession. Engineering has benefited little from diversity represented by liberal arts schools in part because the usual path into engineering demands an early commitment on the part of the student. Introduction to engineering courses fulling general education requirements in liberal arts institutions have the potential to attract students that previously did not consider engineering as a career option. However, these introductory courses must accommodate the possibility of less familiarity with technical hands-on activities among those with only a tentative interest in engineering. Design projects in these courses must meet several criteria that are challenging for the instructor. They should appeal to student’s intrinsic interests; support hands-on skills development; be completed during a typical laboratory period; not require specialized equipment; be carried out in a range of physical spaces; illustrate general engineering principles beyond the details of the project. We have developed and tested several projects that meet these requirements including a solar-powered phone charger, an electrodynamic loudspeaker, and a suite of microcontroller-based activities. This workshop will allow participants to learn about and carry out these projects. Workshop participants will be provided with kits of materials that they can take with them back to their home institutions after the workshop. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under award 1650889.

    Yunn-Shan Ma (Rochester Institute of Technology)
    Interdisciplinary Project-Based Music Theory Pedagogy for STEM majors
    How can we design a music theory curriculum that aims to enrich the liberal-art education of engineering students and to hone their musicianship?

    For the past three years, I have experimented with offering courses on music theory to the STEM-major students at the Rochester Institute of Technology. These courses include both classical and non-classical music materials; they have grown to be among the most popular classes at RIT, with more than 120 registrants each academic year!

    This presentation then reflects the experimental methods for the music theory pedagogy used in these offerings, including utilizing music apps, digital audio workstations, and multimedia to replace some of the mechanical exercises of traditional teaching routines. In addition, the inclusion of film music, video game music, pop music and avant-garde productions successfully attracted STEM students’ attention to investigate traditional topics of music theory in depth, including forms, harmony, compositional techniques, etc. Students with limited background in music gradually gained the knowledge and confidence to critically analyze and express personal interpretation for music compositions and performances. Furthermore, the highly interdisciplinary and open-minded guidelines for projects have brought out unique innovative output that intermingles students’ engineering and artistic musical talents. For example, participants have made compositions that included sound design tools, computer-based MIDI sequencers, artificial intelligence, computer coding, as well as using computer and internet as performance platforms.

    I will summarize the pedagogy employed and give examples of the student projects that are unique to this curriculum.

  • [2:45 - 3:45 p.m.] - Session Six: Building our Future

    Moderator: Dave Hans

    2:45 - 3:00 p.m.
    Carol Bahruth and David Hans
    (IBM Corporation)
    Lightning Talk About IBM's global Tech Re-Entry Program
    My lightning session will focus on my experience in a new program, IBM’s global Tech Re-Entry Program, designed for talented technical professionals who took a break from the workforce and are looking to restart their careers. This paid returnship program enables participants to work on projects that match their expertise, interests, and abilities and could lead to full-time employment. (In my case, I was re-hired full-time after working for six months in the program.) I'll also talk about my 25-year IBM career from 1984 to 2009 and how it felt coming back to IBM after a ten-year period.

    3:00 - 3:15 p.m.
    Jane Lehr, Elizabeth Lowham, Trish Brock
    (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
    A New Graduate Certificate Program: Strengthening Alignment for Justice and Equity-mindedness in STEM Student Projects, Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities
    We introduce a new approach to graduate education designed to support masters student integration of equity-mindedness into the core of their research and professional practice across STEM disciplines. The program is informed by what Bensimon, Dowd & Witham (2016) describe as equity-mindedness, an approach that is “color-conscious” rather than “color-blind”; recognizes “that beliefs, expectations, and practices assumed to be neutral can have outcomes that are racially disadvantageous”; takes institutional “responsibility for the elimination of inequality”; and is “[a]ware that while racism is not always overt, racialized patterns nevertheless permeate policies and practices in higher education institutions.” The integration of equity-mindedness into U.S. higher education is transformative. However, graduate students are typically either not included in these efforts or, when included, attention to equity-mindedness remains separate from the content of the student’s graduate training (their research and practice). What this means is that graduate students who seek to transform their research and practice are too often expected to do the “heavy lifting” on their own. Our planned focus on masters students, not as “junior PhD” students, but as students for whom the masters may function as their last degree prior to entering the non-academic STEM workforce is also innovative and will generate the knowledge required for customization, implementation, and broader adoption at other masters-focused institutions as well as provide pathways for other institutional-types to consider and differentiate the services and training they provide for their terminal or professionally-oriented STEM masters programs.

    3:15 - 3:30 p.m.
    Cole Belmont
    (Union College)
    Making Connections in Makerspaces
    This talk will focus on co-working makerspaces in higher education and the power they have to promote collaboration and foster connections across departments, majors and campus communities, allowing for new interdisciplinary approaches to student’s artistic and creative expression.

    Dedicated spaces for fabrication and tinkering, which provide tools and equipment and other resources, have long been a staple of educational institutions. The movement to develop makerspaces as common shared resources has resulted in an influx of teamwork and collaboration between users with varying interests and expertise. In higher education, these co-working spaces are literally at the intersection of departments and disciplines, where arts meet science and the humanities meet engineering. Student use of these spaces allows for new learning moments and specific types of peer-to-peer interaction not always common to other shared spaces on college campuses.

    The hands-on process of making something can be empowering and humbling at the same time and allows students to explore questions related to, among other things, fabrication and supply chain processes, materiality, efficiency, repeatability, feasibility, cost benefit analysis and real world constraints like budget and timeline. When they explore these issues with other students from different backgrounds and different departments, some very interesting opportunities for learning moments emerge. These spaces afford students a physical and conceptual space to reflect and consider their disciplines in a broader context and to work together with students from different disciplines to share experiences and knowledge around projects and emerging technologies. The talk will shed light on how these processes and these spaces, in turn, allow for new opportunities for artistic and creative expression.

    3:30 - 3:45 p.m. - Group Discussion

  • [3:45 - 4:15 p.m.] - Feedback Session

    Share your thoughts and ideas as a group to close out our Symposium.
    Lead by Dave Hans