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Brown STEAM: Pursuing Interdisciplinary Thinkers

March 11, 2014

Brown University’s STEAM is a group of passionate, hybrid students who are committed to the integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Started in January 2013, the budding group aims to create an interdisciplinary space that integrates diverse fields of study – everything from biology to sculpture, technology to poetry, and engineering to painting.

The group formed under the leadership and passion of Michelle Site ’14 and Hannah McPhee ’14. It was created under the administrative guidance of Dean Targan, Director of the Science Center, and Richard Fishman, Director of the Creative Arts Council. The idea of incorporating the “A” of arts into the traditional STEM acronym was championed by John Maeda, former RISD president. He emphasized the value of the arts and how they can be powerfully incorporated into STEM fields for bigger and better results. 

Michelle and Hannah wanted to create a space where the technical and creative could merge into new possibilities. In addition, they strived to find peers who were straddling the same lines between varying disciplines. Through STEAM, they envisioned a community of passionate, interdisciplinary thinkers that are pursuing tangible ways to assimilate their interests.

The group currently exists in various facets and hosts multiple events, including weekly focus groups, workshops, collaborative art displays, and office hours to talk with the leadership board. The workshops, speaker series, installations, and other events foster community and collaboration between Brown, RISD, the local community, and beyond.

This semester, STEAM runs the following focus groups for students looking to get involved:

+ Making Visual Biology with Science Center & Nature Lab, facilitated Michelle Site & Lucia Monge
Science Center, 11am on Saturdays

+ Make-a-Thon with Speak Your Mind Foundation, facilitated by Hanna McPhee
Contact for more information

+ From the Bottom of My Fuel Cell with IDEO, facilitated by Ryan Mather
Carr House, 7 pm on Fridays

+  Wild Card, facilitated by Catherine Schmidt
Nature Lab, 12:30 pm on Sundays

+ STEAM Press – RISD Typography Shop
Contact for more information  

STEAM encourages students from all grade levels and any concentration to join their community and partake in their events. The group also wants to invite students who have their own ideas on events, workshops, or exhibits to their Wild Card meetings, which are 12:30 pm to 1:30pm on Sundays in the Nature Lab. STEAM is a community of creative thinkers who are beautifully merging the boundaries between varying fields as they promote powerful, interdisciplinary thought and action.