The Origins of Changemaker Engineers

This event occurred in the past

The Origins of Changemaker Engineers

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall, Humanities Center (Room 200)

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




The National Science Foundation is today investing tens of millions of dollars to “revolutionize” the training of engineers. This talk explores how engineers’ participation in an earlier revolution has shaped the profession’s conception of technology for the past half century. In the 1960s, at the same time that American engineers helped put men on the moon, a broad coalition of critics assailed technology as a root cause of the Vietnam War, environmental destruction, economic inequality, and spiritual dehumanization. Seeking to “make technology human,” a mix of reformers, radicals, conservatives, and reactionaries engaged in a struggle to create changemaker engineers. What motivated them? What did they achieve? And, what does it mean for the NSF’s current efforts?

Matthew Wisnioski, PhD, is an interdisciplinary historian of innovation, engineering, and the politics of technology. He is the author of Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (MIT Press) and a contributor to The Atlantic, IEEE Spectrum, Journal of Engineering Education, Science, and Washington Post. Wisnioski is Associate Professor of Science and Technology in Society and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. He is applying historical insight as a co-PI on Virginia Tech’s RED project “Radically Enhancing the Pathways in the Professional Formation of Engineering.”

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5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110