Welcome from the Presdient
What is STEM? STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Historically, STEM was first “coined” as an educational term by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the early 2000s. What STEM offers is a closer alliance within the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In fact, the design of our new Loyola Science Center “encourages interdisciplinary interaction and effective intellectual collisions between and among [these] traditional disciplines.” This offers our students a chance to make sense of the integrated world we live in rather than learning fragmented bits and pieces of knowledge and practices about it. In many respects, STEM is in its infancy in the U.S., yet design elements of our science center, as described by a leading-edge facilities planning organization, emphasize “interdisciplinary” over “multidisciplinary.”
This issue of Ignite celebrates women faculty in the fields of STEM at The University of Scranton, and shows what STEM as an interdisciplinary endeavor can offer. Articles on marine snails, vertebrate bones and knot math will not disappoint. In “For the Love of Math,” the author’s passion is obvious despite her parents’ concern about how she might make a living from studying mathematics! Janice Voltzow, Ph.D., chair of the Biology Department, reports on an important NSF project to develop networking and mentoring opportunities for women from all STEM disciplines at primarily undergraduate institutions; this project includes four women faculty at our University.
What is particularly noteworthy here is that an issue on women in the sciences is contextualized by a lead article on the city of Scranton’s efforts to revitalize its downtown. Revitalizers in Scranton and elsewhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania champion building an innovative, knowledge-based and technology-focused economy as vital to the region’s rebirth. This strategy includes attracting and growing health care/bioscience research and development opportunities.
To build a knowledge-based economy requires collaboration with colleges and universities throughout the region. The University of Scranton, especially with its outstanding STEM faculty, stands ready to play its part.
Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.