When Technology Meets the Humanities
STEAM Seminar for STEM Students
Level 1: Middle School Students
Level 2: High School Students
Spring Qtr: Jan./Feb. - April | Summer Qtr: June/July - Aug.
Fall Qtr: Sept. - Nov. | Winter Qtr: Nov. - Jan.
Course Length: 10 hours
Class Size: max 6 students
Over years of guiding STEM students into most competitive STEM summer programs such as the NIH Summer Internship Program and most selective colleges such as MIT, we have noticed a great hurdle for students during the admissions process: to be able to discuss with width and depth the complex relations between science, technology, and society.
The humanities emphasize communication, empathy, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, clear writing, and problem-solving. This course will help students demonstrate during college admissions their potential as emerging STEM leaders with the vision to serve humanity and apply humanities skills to their future work in multidisciplinary fields.
Through exploring what science and technology make of the world and what the world makes of science and technology, students will learn to:
Articulate the social, cultural, and political significance of science and technology in contemporary society
Demonstrate a deep understanding of the critical role of STEM in service of humanity
Adapt to new technology challenges with valuable interdisciplinary thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities.
* Throughout the course, the student will draft and revise an essay for the Annual STEM Writing Contest hosted by New York Times.
Mentor: Dr. Prusko
Dr. Prusko is a university educator with over two decades’ experience teaching literature, writing, and communications courses. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the recipient of a Faculty of Arts Teaching Award and the William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. While teaching is her main focus, she also researches and publishes in the areas of Shakespeare, early modern drama, and children’s literature.
Ph.D. in English
Award-winning university educator
Shakespearean/early modern drama/children's literature scholar
Questions to Explore
In what ways can those working in STEM fields understand the larger significance of their roles as members of their wider society?
When employers hiring in STEM fields require ‘communication’ skills, what does that really mean? What can the humanities teach us about communicating in STEM fields?
What can the humanities teach us about the ethics of technical and scientific communication?
Why and how might scientific writing use elements of narrative to reach a broader audience? For example, during the pandemic, how have health authorities applied features of storytelling to help the general public understand the facts of the disease and of vaccination?
Why and how is it important to apply human judgment to our increasingly digital lives?
When we use social media, how do we represent ourselves? Why? What factors are at play when we write a post, create a story, or select a picture or video to share? How does our sense of ourselves and our audience play into our interactions on social media?
Homework & Feedback
Classes will be structured around a close-reading of texts and a discussion of the important questions they raise. Students will be encouraged to bring new writing to each class for the instructor to edit and provide feedback. Students can expect to complete a variety of writing assignments, including argumentative writing about the use of social media and other technologies, and persuasive writing in the form of project and policy proposals. Upon completion of the course, each student will receive overall feedback from the instructor.
"At first I thought my writing skills were really bad because for all of 8th grade I had no idea what I was doing whenever we had a writing assignment, but I think this course helped me practice my writing and made me feel a bit better about writing. I've always been a slow reader, but having reading assignments every week helped me learn how to read faster and helped prepare for high school. Also, if I hadn't taken this course, my writing would've been really rusty going into 9th grade (since I wouldn't have done any English-related things otherwise during the summer), so it helped me transition into the new school year. Dr. Prusko was also really nice and patient."
“Dr. Prusko embraces and celebrates innovative and novel ideas, which allows her students to truly thrive in their own explorations of literature. She has been a huge inspiration in both the academic and personal facets of my life.”
"I liked the open-ended discussions about the different topics of technology intersecting with humanities. The instructor listened to all I had to say, and tried to get me to elaborate on what I thought, and tried to challenge the views (to help me think through them), which I really enjoyed."
“The writing methods she introduced have proven to be invaluable across a variety of subjects and situations; when my friends are struggling with their writing, I recommend the techniques I learned from Dr. Prusko. Her enthusiasm and skill are truly remarkable.”
“I absolutely loved this course. Dr. Prusko is an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and takes time to make sure they understand the material. She is always willing to help and provide constructive feedback and is great at promoting class community and discussion.”
“Dr. Prusko is an incredible teacher and clearly knowledgeable and passionate about literature. Her class was challenging, but she provided constructive and helpful feedback and really encouraged us to do our best. She encouraged class discussions which were always interesting and helpful to the topic we were discussing.”
“I found myself working hard in this class because I felt compelled by the topic, and because I felt Dr. Prusko was very invested in our advancement in the class.”
“I think that the way Dr. Prusko is prepared, honest, humorous, and knowledgeable made learning more interesting and I enjoyed it. She was easily my best teacher.”
"I liked Dr. Prusko teaching method because she would use lots of figurative language which helped with my learning."
"I noticed that my daughters writing skills improved significantly and she seemed more interested in the subject too."
"Great class. My child said it was very interesting, and thought-provoking."