Cosponsored with The School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) Informatics Colloquium Series and National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT)
Speaker: Leah Buechley, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Director, High-Low Tech Group, MIT Media Lab
Where: Informatics East, Rm. 130
When: 1:30 - 3:00 pm, Friday, October 27, 2017
Topic: STEM is Everywhere
Abstract: Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is increasingly promoted as a path to personal and national success. Widespread initiatives encourage students to choose STEM majors and careers. Despite the fact that these fields are so widely advocated for, many remain startlingly non-diverse. This talk will examine how cultural traditions contribute to these patterns of participation.
Though we rarely think of them this way, STEM disciplines are cultural disciplines as much as they are intellectual ones. Some cultural practices, rich with STEM content, remain largely invisible in educational and social contexts while others dominate. Why? This talk will explore historical connections between creative practices from different cultures, diversity, and STEM education. It will also provide examples of inclusive educational platforms and present guidelines to help designers connect with a broad range of people and practices.
Biography: Leah Buechley is a designer, engineer, and educator. Her work explores intersections and juxtapositions–of “high” and “low” technologies, new and ancient materials, and masculine and feminine making traditions. Her inventions include the LilyPad Arduino toolkit. She currently runs a design firm that explores beautiful and playful integrations of technology and design. Previously, she was an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directed the High-Low Tech group. Her work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ars Electronica Festival, and the Exploratorium, and has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Popular Science, and Wired. Leah received a PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in physics from Skidmore College. At both institutions she also studied dance, theater, fine art, and design.