Inside USD

STEAM Fuels Artist’s New Career

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Steven Lustig always knew he wanted a second career in education.

He just didn’t know success in the field would come so quickly.

An artist, Lustig had a 30-year career in the graphics industry. His firm, BioDesign, produces illustrations for the medical and life science industries.

Knowing he wanted a second career combining his interest in art with education, he enrolled a year ago in USD’s online Masters of Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). The program is offered by USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences through the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. It adds the arts to existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricular programs to promote student success through an integrated project-based learning approach that crosses disciplines and incorporates artistic creativity.

Lustig won’t graduate from the program until next spring but he’s already been selected to create and coordinate a new STEAM program at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach integrating drafting, manufacturing and design for the biotechnology community.

“It’s a really great opportunity for me and the kids of this community,” said an excited Lustig who credits USD’s program for the opportunity. “It has been the central linchpin of my efforts (and) given me the credibility I lacked to be able to have access to the people and places I needed to engage with.”

Lustig started teaching digital arts at Golden West last fall. During that time, a new dean saw his potential to create a program called “Design Manufacturing for Biotechnology” that will include aspects of drafting, design, advanced manufacturing and 3D printing to support the biotechnology industry which has hundreds of firms in Southern California requiring those services.

The program will help students, starting in middle school to identify “high-tech, art-based careers” and link these paths through the educational system to industry, he said. The idea behind the program is to break down “some rather old Silo-based thinking,” and combine the elements “to create an innovative, forward-thinking program,” he added. Golden West already has departments in areas such as drafting, computer-aided design and art. “Unfortunately very few of these departments have anything to do with each other. Very un-STEAM like,” he said.

The Masters in Education Online in STEAM has been “fantastic,” Lustig said. A class in creativity was particularly beneficial. “Professor Bobbi Hansen’s class on creativity gave me the opportunity to dig deep down into a subject I have lived for a lifetime and has helped position me to be able to speak about this and other related subjects on a statewide level.”

– Liz Harman

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