Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] My Introduction


I was invited to respond to Roger Malina's call regarding STEAM,
specifically as it relates to my work. A little over a week ago, I
successfully defended my dissertation to earn a Ph.D. in Digital Media from
Georgia Tech. Recently, I started a new position and my primary role is to
lead the creation and implementation of a STEAM laboratory at Boston Arts
Academy (BAA) that is dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

My research specifically addresses the ways in which creative individuals
and groups underrepresented in STEAM engage with these concepts through art
and digital media. For example, Grandmaster Flash who, according to Rayvon
Fouche (2006), re-created technology based on his own "personal aesthetics
as well as using scientific methods to develop his technique." A similar
approach was used by a teenage, self-taught engineer from Sierra Leone who
goes by the name of DJ Focus (Kelvin Doe).

In the film "Underwater Dreams," viewers learn about how immigrant Mexican
high school students from Arizona beat MIT in underwater robotics. During
the film, one of the former students refers to Chicano lowrider culture as
his inspiration. These and other examples counter the view that
historically marginalized groups are uninterested or disengaged in STEM.
These examples also provide us with opportunities to involve
underrepresented ethnic groups in STEM through culture and the arts.

The practice of hacking, tinkering, or making do with whatever is on hand
to create something new has been passed on to a new generation of artists
and practitioners who modify STEM to suit their interests. These practices
can inform teaching and learning in ways that are culturally responsive, or
as Geneva Gay (2000) notes, use the "cultural knowledge, prior experiences,
and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more
appropriate and effective for them; it teaches to and through the strengths
of these students."

For more information about the BAA STEAM Lab:

For more information about my research:


~ Nettrice

*Nettrice R. Gaskins, PhD*
STEAM Lab Director
Boston Arts Academy
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