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The Science, Technology and Society (STS) program offers students in science, engineering and other disciplines the opportunity to gain a wider understanding of the social implications of science and technology.
This page describes the course that freshmen took during the Spring 2009 semester (CPSP 118T).
Maybe you agree that this 1-credit course provides the structure that enables new students to push the envelope:
- to interview with a faculty member about their research
- to give an oral presentation to 20 classmates
- to apply for a summer job or internship
The 2007-2011 freshmen colloquium topics have covered the interactions of technology and society (fall) and of science and society (spring), in the CPSP 118T course:
- science for research and advocacy
- the human body and technology (this has become the theme of every Fall Colloquium)
- nano-scale science and technology research
- the uses of radioactive materials in research
- the role of human behavior in using electricity efficiently
- life cycle assessments (LCAs) of substances essential to electronic mobility
Freshmen complete a group project that required them to interview a researcher in their campus lab and create an illustrated presentation about the social rationale and impacts of their research. This assignment helps students access faculty as undergraduates, with the ultimate goal of seeking research work while in school. Although students do the interview and research in groups, they submit an individually-written paper about the researcher's work in its social context.
Freshmen heard guest lectures by:
- Fae Korsmo, National Science Foundation, about federal funding for science research
- Ed Landa, U.S. Geological Survey, about Uranium mining and mill tailings in Virginia
- Gabrielle Hecht, Univ. of Michigan, about Uranium mining in Africa
- Kent Norman, Human Computer Interaction Lab and Psychology Dept.
- Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute, about the industry's reaction to the regulation of CO2
In addition, STS upperclassmen speak about their internships and research:
- Victoria Seng, STS alumna and UMCP graduate, about her pancreatic cancer research at the nuclear reactor; see Victoria's video about this research
- Brad Passe (Mech. Eng.) about his work with Terp Racing
- Jonathan Elliott, STS alumnus and UMCP graduate student (Mech. Eng.), about his summer research for the Navy in unmanned autonomous vehicles
- Brandon Gudenius and Greg Cheng (Aero. Eng.) about their work with UMCP's Gamera human-powered helicopter project
- Ben Walsh and Will Dunham about their internships with Baltimore Gas & Electric
Freshmen also will apply for internships after preparing an adequate resume (accepting one is up to the student). In the past, freshmen have secured summer jobs with the Navy, with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the consulting firm SAIC, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, in the labs of several professors on campus, and elsewhere. Students typically use this summer job as the basis for their 1-credit practicum course during their sophomore years. The STS Director is happy to write letters of recommendation for internships.
Students met as a group in colloquium each week on Mondays at 3:30-4:50pm with STS director, Betsy Mendelsohn. During about half the sessions, they split off into 6 discussion sections that were led by upperclassmen and by assistant director Mandy Izadi, a graduate student in the History Dept. The instructors facilitated discussion of the required readings, coached students in completing tasks as they researched and wrote their LCA and Science in Context papers over several weeks, and provided advice, as near-peers, about college life. The STS undergraduate instructors for Spring 2009 were: Kenny Theodos, Grant Dambach, Nicole V. Thomas, Jonathan Elliott, and Nina Rawtani.