On February 9-11, NCSCE hosted the first-ever Science and Engineering for Social Good conference at the Georgia Institute of Technology. More than 80 participants from formal and informal education institutions, industry, and community-based partner organizations came together to talk about the ways in which they are approaching the nexus of STEM and social concerns.
Following introductions from NCSCE and Stony Brook leadership, and our hosts at Georgia Tech, the opening plenary address on Engineering for Social Good was delivered by Norman Fortenberry, Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Fortenberry described the role of engineers in producing social good, and talked about the ways in which ASEE supports efforts to produce engineers better able to do so.
Saturday’s sessions began with a plenary by Ed Coyle of Georgia Tech describing the use of Vertically Integrated Projects to tackle civic problems, and the VIP consortium which supports the project teams. Another plenary, consisting of a panel of practitioners from across New York state, discussed the ways in which the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) broadens minority participation in STEM. That afternoon, Greg Pearson of the National Academy of Engineering presented a plenary address about the ways in which engineering is presented in K-12 settings. Finally on Saturday, Jennifer Hirsch of Georgia Tech talked about Serve Learn Sustain, a Georgia Tech initiative connecting sustainability and community engagement with science and technology to tackle real-world problems. She later convened a workshop for participants to consider how they could use the SLS model incorporate civic engagement into their STEM education curriculum. Sunday’s programming consisted of the final plenary session by Dr. Jinsang Lee of SUNY Korea, who suggested some ways in which development assistance can bolster STEM learning in Africa based on experiences with development assistance in Korea.
In addition to the plenary sessions, participants were invited to propose lightning presentations on work being done at their institutions to address Science and Engineering for Social Good and related topics. Presentations touched on topics including experiential learning, addressing bullying with technical solutions, human rights, and various international projects. The meeting also included a poster session over Saturday’s lunch, where participants shared their projects and networked with each other to form future collaborations.