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Icon for: Ron Eglash

RON EGLASH

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Generative STEM

NSF Awards: 1640014

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

STEM education often considers diversifying the input to its pipeline. But what about diversifying the output? By creating STEM innovations that enhance the well-being of underserved communities, we can attract more underrepresented students. Generative STEM starts with cultural capital: fractals in cornrow braiding, iteration in Navajo weaving, nanoscience in indigenous dyes, etc. We use simulations and hardware innovations to translate this indigenous and vernacular knowledge into its classroom equivalents, creating the suite of Culturally Situated Design Tools. Finally we employ these tools in community partnerships, developing strategies for replacing the damaging extraction and alienation of value with generative circulation: computational support for artisanal economies; sustainable systems; and community based health innovation.  As a result underrepresented students are more attracted to STEM content, and under-served communities better empowered by STEM innovation.        

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