Rose-Hulman TEDx Event Showcases STEM Connections that Diversify & Impact the World

Friday, March 08, 2024
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Six women faculty members made 20-minute presentations on a variety of topics during a special TEDx Rose-Hulman event, organized to bring people together to learn different perspectives and better connect with the world.

Rose-Hulman kicked off International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month celebrations with six women faculty providing thought-provoking TEDx Talks that showcased how the interdisciplinary connections within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are helping diversify and impact the world and its people.

These popular TEDx presentations bring people together from different disciplines and cultures to seek a deeper understanding of the world and the connection within others, while sharing ideas and bridging divides in communities on every continent. 

The following topics were featured in the 20-minute talks that took place March 6 in the spotlight on the campus’ Hatfield Hall Theater stage:

Engineering In Context
Irene Reizman, PhD, Alfred R. Schmidt Endowed Chair for Excellence in Teaching/Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Mathematics as a Necessary Tool for Decision Making
Lucy Muthoni, PhD, Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, from Kenya
Sustainability in Education: Preparing Future STEM Practitioners for a Changing World
Jennifer Mueller, PhD, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Under Pressure
Soulaf Abas, Associate Professor of Art
Science or Art? Why Not Both?
Nicole A. Pfiester, PhD, Assistant Professor in Physics and Optical Engineering
Making STEM Steamy: Innovative Strategies to Diversify STEM by Using Art
Carlotta A. Berry, PhD, Professor/Lawrence J. Giacoletto Endowed Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering

“Rose-Hulman is the perfect place for people to come together to share engaging ideas that reveal there’s so much more to STEM than just science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Berry, an award-winning educator who specializes in mobile robotics. “We’ve got so many talented people across our campus who are doing innovative and creative things. It’s great to see these ideas being amplified in such an amazing way.”

In her talk, Berry discussed her strategies to normalize seeing Black women in STEM by performing robot hip hop slam poetry, writing Black STEM Romance novels, creating open-source robots, conducting robotics workshops, and using social media to educate the world about engineering and robotics.

As director of the new Rose Research Fellows program, Reizman is striving to debunk three common myths about undergraduate research projects:

  • Research is not for all students.
  • Students must wait until their junior or senior years to begin research.
  • Students’ contributions won’t be valued.

She stated, “Our theme today is ‘Interdisciplinary Connections in a Diversifying World.’ Engineers have to consider many contexts of their work at a social, technical, and economic level. Doing undergraduate research is far from the only way for students to get a sense of those interconnected challenges, but it is one way. It crosses disciplines. It helps students become part of a community of global scholars. It helps students engage with the big challenges in engineering.”

Meanwhile, Mueller is working with colleagues to examine the possibility of starting a Sustainability Teaching Network to implement sustainable concepts through all STEM academic programs. She also joined Rose-Hulman Professor of English Mark Minster, PhD, in taking a group of students to Belgium and the Netherlands last summer for first-hand experiences in sustainable practices being implemented on a global scale.  

“Predicting and responding to major impacts that we have on the environment, our society, and our economy, like climate change, it is imperative that we’re able to address these impacts for the future of our civilization,” Mueller said. “The ingenuity and talent that I see in our students can be channeled to help foster flourishing and resilient communities.”

The TEDx Rose-Hulman event, replicating similar presentations in 2017 and 2013, was co-hosted by the college’s Women Faculty Thriving organization and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging are co-hosting the event. Lead organizers were Professor of English Jessica Livingston, PhD, and Amanda Jo Hobson, PhD, assistant director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

This year’s talks will be featured at in the future.