Principals, Co-Pls & Faculty Participants

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Connecting Worlds

Principals, Co-Pls & Faculty Participants


University of Central Florida

University of Central FloridaUCF’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS and Mathematics) is an initiative supported through a five-year NSF grant for ICubed (Innovation Through Institutional Integration), titled The UCF Community Embraces the Knowledge-Based Economy. Provost Tony Waldrop is the Principal Investigator. Michael Georgiopoulos, Interim Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science is Project Director of the UCF ICubed grant. The STEAM initiative of the UCF ICubed project is the brain child of Debbie Reinhart (Professor of Environmental Engineering at UCF and Assistant Vice President of Research at UCF, now on leave at NSF), and Theo Lotz (School of Visual Arts and Design) two of the original contributors of the UCF ICubed proposal to NSF.

This year’s STEAM initiative (2012-2013) is coordinated by two members of the UCF ICubed project committee, Costas Efthimiou (Physics), who is also the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Advisor, and Carla Poindexter (School of Visual Arts and Design).

About the STEAM project, Efthimiou says, “Due to my cultural background, my aesthetics had always been influenced by classical antiquities. Hence I tended to have an animosity towards abstract modern art, which I had always considered random and ugly. Perhaps, my biggest benefit from my involvement in the STEAM project is looking at some abstract works deeper and more carefully. This has led to a re-evaluation of my beliefs and aesthetics criteria. For example, I appreciate Pollack more now and it takes a much longer time before I dismiss something.”

“Working with Costas Efthimiou to coordinate the STEAM initiative this year has led me to a larger appreciation of contemporary physics. I have always been interested in science and over the years, scientific discoveries have inspired my work in drawing, painting and photography. From the beginning, the STEAM project’s goals to bring STEM and Art faculty and student participants together in creative collaborative activities seemed to be a natural fit. I am not at all surprised by our students' success,” says Poindexter.

Three years into the five-year ICubed Initiative, Georgiopoulos says the project “is creating synergies that weren’t there before. It has encouraged faculty collaborations between researchers from different disciplines and it is allowing STEM and non-STEM students unique opportunities to communicate and engage in creative processes about STEM research at UCF”.

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