USD-Led STEAM Academy, Conference Builds Community Connection

Community Quilt: COVID and Healthcare EquityAn examination of child hunger was one of many social issues examined visually by youth during a recent STEAM Academy event that produced a community quilt. This was hosted by USD faculty leaders.

The annual summertime STEAM Youth Academy and one-day youth/community conference, both hosted by faculty and administrators from the University of San Diego, delivered another successful event in late July.

The leadership effort of Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Odesma Dalrymple (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering), Math Professor Perla Myers (College of Arts and Sciences) and Interim School of Leadership and Education Sciences Dean and Professor Joi Spencer (SOLES) and support from USD faculty, community leaders and educators to champion STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education was a hit.

This year’s week-long academy and day-long conference were held virtually, but the programming, workshops, guest speakers and more demonstrated the purposefulness of having such a program available to all in the San Diego community.

During the STEAM Youth Academy, students worked on different subjects each day, ranging from citizen science, data analysis, theatre, storytelling, circuits, music and weaving, to science rotations, visual art, bookmaking, folding, math art. Youth were supported by college students and an interdisciplinary roster of USD faculty worked as guest facilitators.

The academy culminated with the creation and unveiling of an online community action quilt. Many social justice issues were addressed and students were asked to provide their thoughts on their respective artwork or inspiration for what they created. Introducing others to what the students created for this quilt, an introductory message on the website provides some context.

“This collage represents a collection of ideas, interests, and passions focused on reducing the inequities in the world. The amazing STEAM Superstars who participated in the 2020 STEAM Academy have used their voice to bring recognition and agency to various injustices. We invite you to view, be inspired, and act. Join us in championing our youth, transforming their voices into instruments of change.”

Issues of racial equality, sustainability, education for all, military veterans and PTSD, poverty, child hunger and healthcare were among many topics focused on by the students in art form and a written or video account of their work.

The youth and community conference closed out the week of activity. Workshops were done by a host of educators ranging from middle school, high school and college professors from USD, UC San Diego, administrators and USD alumna presenters Bianca Alvarado (MA Social Innovation) and Michelle Padilla (BA, Psychology). Dr. Shakira Hobbs, an assistant professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky was the keynote speaker. There are session photos and session recordings from the various presenters available to view and listen.

— Compiled by USD News Center


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