Duke STEAM Challenge

Duke STEAM Challenge


The Duke STEAM Challenge wants you (you=Duke undergraduate, graduate and professional students) to explore new ways that Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics–along with the humanities and social sciences–might contribute to one another for the greater good.

STEAM Challenge teams will identify a real world problem or issue and suggest an idea for a project-based solution that utilizes an interdisciplinary approach bridging the STEM disciplines with the arts, humanities, and social sciences in meaningful ways.

The Challenge will run Fall 2013, kicking off in August with participants forming interdisciplinary teams and submitting a brief Challenge application about their projects in October 2013. The most compelling submissions that best meet the criteria and objectives of the Challenge–as determined by a panel of expert judges–will be invited to further develop their proposals over the fall-winter term, and will participate in two back-to-back Challenge weekends in January 2014–an unconference design sprint and a live pitch session–where the winning team will be selected.

The winning team will receive a prize of $10,000, second place will receive a prize of $3,000 and third place will receive a prize of $2,000. All winning teams will receive publicity and networking opportunities.

Why the Duke STEAM Challenge?

The Duke STEAM Challenge is designed to inspire Duke students to bring different disciplinary perspectives together in order to address a real world problem. It is rooted in the conviction that the challenging questions of the 21st century can only be answered through the integrated efforts of all disciplines working together.

The Duke STEAM Challenge embraces the arts and insists that scientific and technological problems and potentials need to be placed within a meaningful cultural context if we are to move beyond theory to workable practices. World-changing scientific advances necessitate we develop the best design principles for efficient and appealing presentation, interface, delivery, and expression.  They demand an informed social, historical, cultural, and ethical perspective.  Similarly, the potential of the traditional arts and humanities can be transformed by new interactive media and technologies that can bring the wisdom of the ages into new forms for new audiences for new social purposes.

The Duke STEAM Challenge has been designed

  • to model the transformative, society-changing potential of STEAM cross-disciplinary work that asks what the arts can teach us about the sciences and, conversely, what the sciences can contribute to the arts and humanities.
  • to explore the productive intersections between the STEAM disciplines and to examine what can be learned in the combining of traditional disciplines;
  • to challenge students to apply what they have learned in classes with collaborative and management skills to envision interdisciplinary projects that model the best of STEAM;
  • to offer students a transformative learning experience that leverages all the possibilities offered by Duke and its networks (community, alumni, etc.) and the opportunity to remix their formal education in a real-world project design.

About the Duke STEAM Challenge Team

The Duke STEAM Challenges will be co-led by Duke Professor, Cathy N. Davidson, and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Keith Whitfield, and a leadership team of faculty and students from across the university. The Challenge will be administered by the international virtual learning network, HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, pronounced “haystack”), whose central offices are at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. This effort is supported by the Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs with additional support from the Duke University’s PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, Franklin Humanities Institute and Pratt School of Engineering.

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