Santa Clara University is pioneering a uniquely integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiative to foster convergence and stimulate greater collaboration within the sciences and engineering.
Grounded in the Jesuit philosophy of education, this initiative will distinguish the University as a national leader in STEM education. Through innovative curricula, transformative pedagogies, and inspiring research, the STEM student will gain deep disciplinary knowledge, as well as the ethical discernment and collaboration skills needed to contribute to a more humane, just, and sustainable world.
Creating New Opportunities for STEM Learning
To “advance scientific and technological innovation in service of humanity” is one of the goals of Santa Clara University’s Integrated Strategic Plan. How does an institution set out to make itself into a formidable generator of knowledge and human advancement? One answer lies in the University’s STEM initiative.
Bringing Convergence to Life
While Santa Clara’s STEM initiative focuses on bringing together multiple disciplines, it also expands and deepens connections with the rest of the University. The best research depends on low walls between disciplines—and the new STEM complex will shrink them even further.
Fact: The total capacity of all the digital storage devices manufactured in a year is insufficient to handle the volume of raw data that humans can now produce in a year. And it’s not only a problem of storage. How can we process and manage this flood of data effectively, securely, and ethically?
A Team Approach to Solving Societal Needs
When Tim Healy looks toward the future’s needs, he sees an opportunity for Santa Clara. With SCU’s STEM initiative, the University enhances its ability to educate students to work in teams that combine expertise from multiple disciplines. According to Healy, these “convergent teams” will be increasingly sought after by companies, institutions, and states around the globe.
Ethical Challenges in STEM: Weighing "Can We?" Against "Should We?"
Consider this scenario, posed by Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk: Someone directs an artificial intelligence to eliminate spam email messages, only to have it determine that, because humans create spam, all humans should be eliminated. Is this a mistake? Or is AI merely doing its job very well?
Could there be a future where video games are prescribed by doctors? Following the senior design project of Bryce Mariano ’15 (web design and engineering major, studio art minor) and Paul Thurston ’15 (computer science and engineering major) a future where video games can heal may be rapidly approaching.
When Jonathan Tadros '15 combined the study of engineering with his love of photography, the result was a national award. Tadros sees a connection between his photography—which he continued to develop as a member of SCU’s yearbook staff—and civil engineering.
Design Thinking: Building A Holistic Foundation
Imagine a product engineered to technical perfection—but with two critical flaws: no one wants to buy or use it. That’s what engineering professor Chris Kitts aims to prepare students to avoid with his Design Thinking Pathway, one of more than 20 thematic clusters of courses that enhance the Core Curriculum at Santa Clara.
Seeking a Higher Tech: The Fine Arts as Preparation
In our increasingly visual and technological culture, in which the only constant is rapid change, where can students turn for essential skills? One SCU answer—unlikely as it may seem: the practice and history of fine arts.
Bringing Inner Light to Organizational Life
The business world—in which decisions are often based on calculated pragmatism—might not seem like a welcoming setting for spiritual practice. But as an educator specializing in leadership and innovation in the ’90s, André Delbecq learned otherwise.
The Physics of Dance: An Instructive Leap
When physics professor Richard Barber enrolled in David Popalisky’s “Dads Don’t Dance” workshop in 2002, little did he know the effect it would have on his life—and on future physics students. As he experienced the weight of his body interacting with the dance floor, he couldn’t help but think of all the physical principles demonstrated by his movements. And as the workshop progressed, the idea for a new course was born.
Where Knowledge Ends and Mystery Begins
In his course "Chaos Theory, Metamathematics and the Limits of Knowledge: A Scientific Perspective on Religion," Aleksandar Zecevic attempts to bridge the gulf between science and religion, using the language of chaos theory, mathematics and quantum mechanics to broach sensitive theological questions.
Empowering Citizen Scientists
Now in its 11th year, the iGEM competition challenges student teams to solve real-world problems with biological systems that they design, build, and test using interchangeable sequences of DNA. A pair of SCU Law students teamed up with the LA Biohackers, a community laboratory in downtown Los Angeles.