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STS students in a roundtable discussion at Academic Showcase

Science, Technology and Society

The socially responsible application of science and technology

Introduction

Our lives and bodies are intertwined with science and technology. We depend on them to support how we live now and hope that new discoveries will improve our lives in the future. What can we do today, however, to bring about our ideal future?

Science, Technology and Society (STS) seeks to understand the challenges standing between the present we have and the future we want. Students explore the powerful social, ethical and political relationships that drive research and innovation, asking:

  • What factors determine the trajectories of scientific research and technological development?
  • Which research and development pathways have the greatest positive impact with the least harm, and who decides which pathways are taken?
  • What strategies will influence decision-making to realize the best possible outcomes?

Using scenario analysis, simulations, and systems thinking, on teams and independently, students will learn methods to assess, design and influence the direction of scientific and technological change.

Because STS values interdisciplinary collaboration, we welcome students from all majors. If you have an interest in maximizing the societal benefits of scientific inquiry and technological innovation, you will be a valued member of our community.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • What are the grand challenges of our times?
  • What drives technological change?
  • How do we solve the scientific literacy problem?
  • Why is thinking about race, gender and sexuality relevant to science and technology?

I felt a sense of belonging in the classroom that I could tell my instructors worked so hard to create. All of our perspectives and imaginative solutions to real problems were welcome. My Scholars program was a safe space where I learned so much about myself, my interests and the world.

Menal Shams
Menal Shams '23

Other Learning Opportunities

As an STS student, you’ll go on field trips that let you apply the techniques you learn in class to the real world. Sites include the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, Baltimore Underground Science Space and the Smithsonian’s Innovation Hall.

Service opportunities are also embedded in the STS curriculum. As an STS student, you might volunteer for technical literacy workshops, participate in Regional Science Bowls, help out at Community Forklift and more.

STS features three rewarding practicum opportunities:

  1. Robotics service-learning program: Students explore innovative ways of encouraging STEM education in Prince George's County schools
  2. Infrastructure and Society: Students work with professional engineers on a service-learning project that assesses the safety and viability of infrastructure
  3. The Future of Science Communication: Students collaborate with scientists and laypeople to prototype ideas for communicating scientific and technical information.

STS's robotics service-learning program is always open to working with new partners. Please contact Tim Reedy if you are a school, community organization or other entity interested in:

  • Partnering with STS to provide Lego robotics education;
  • Recruiting volunteers for science, fairs, career days or demonstrations; or
  • Working with STS on grant proposals or research.

Curriculum Overview

The STS curriculum is designed as a thematic complement to your major that will fulfill many of your General Education requirements. Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete 3 credits of colloquium, a 3-credit practicum and a 3-credit capstone course.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the STS Citation Checklist.

SEMESTER COURSES CREDITS
Semester 1 CPSS 100: Colloquium I 2 credits
Semester 2 CPSS 101: Colloquium II 1 credit
Semester 2, 3, or 4 CPSS 240: Robotics Service-Learning (SCIS, DSSP); or
CPSS 340: Infrastructure and Society (DSSP); or
CPSP 318: STEAM Rising: Empowering Communities with Art and Technology (DVCC); or
CPSP 279T: Indigenous Communities and Technology in Ecuador: Past, Present, and Future (DSSP, DVCC)
3 credits
Semester 1, 2, 3, or 4 Supporting Course (var. Gen Ed) 3 credits
Semester 3 or 4 CPSS 225: Capstone (SCIS, DSHS); or
CPSS 220: Future of Communicating Science (DVCC)
3 credits

Office Address

1210 Cambridge Hall

Office Phone

301-405-7219

Faculty

Portrait of David Tomblin

David Tomblin

Program Director, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Nicole Mogul

Nicole Mogul

Assistant Director, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Christine Alexander

Christine Alexander

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Kuan-Hung Lo

Kuan-Hung Lo

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Timothy Reedy

Timothy Reedy

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Vivian Zohery

Vivian Zohery

Graduate Assistant, Science, Technology and Society

News and Notes, Etc.

Stories Beneath the Shell: UMD and College Park Host First Technology Literacy Workshop since 2020, March 2022

Baltimore Sun: Experiential Learning in a Virtual World, February 2021


Science, Technology and Society News

Showing 19 - 24 of 27
  • Despite Being Virtual, Scholars Showcases Promote Personal Interaction

    For most University of Maryland (UMD) students, the end of the spring semester heralds the start of finals. But for sophomores in College Park Scholars, for the past 24 years, this time of year has signified Academic Showcase. The event, one of the largest exhibitions of undergraduate student learning on campus each year, typically involves more than 600 Scholars sophomores presenting on their capstone projects to fellow students, faculty, parents and other members of the UMD community.

  • Scholars Citation Class of 2020 Recognized at Virtual Awards Ceremony

    When the Scholars Citation Class of 2020 arrived at the University of Maryland in fall 2018, they were wide-eyed freshmen who took part in the usual rites of passage in Scholars: Service Day, excursions related to the annual theme, a kickball tournament the spring of their freshman year. And, while the 984 students’ second year in Scholars fell during the program’s 25th anniversary, “that year turned out to be anything but ordinary,” observes Scholars Executive Director Marilee Lindemann. In March of their second year, the UMD campus shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and these students faced an abrupt pivot to remote learning.

  • College Park Scholars Gives Out Inaugural Hoffman Scholarship

    College Park Scholars recently awarded the very first Randall G. and Susan Woodfield Hoffman Endowed Scholarship, to Ryan Gerbes, a sophomore mechanical engineering major in the Science, Technology and Society (STS) Scholars program. “I can’t begin to describe the honor and gratitude I feel as the first recipient of the Hoffman Scholarship,” says Gerbes. “The award, and the spirit of service, gratitude and community that it represents, inspires me to continue my work with fresh passion and commitment.”

  • Scholars Alum: Sean Murphy, Creator of Peer Mentors

    As part of our yearlong #ScholarsAt25 recognition of our 25th anniversary, Scholars is publishing occasional profiles on our alums. To be considered for an alumni profile, please fill out the form at go.umd.edu/alumniprofile. Sean Murphy Alum of: Science, Technology and Society (STS) Year graduated: 2012 for first degree, 2016 for the second—I originally graduated with a BS in mathematics. After a failed year in graduate school in applied mathematics, I reevaluated things and decided to go back to UMD for a BS in electrical engineering.

  • Scholars Recognizes 2019 Citation, Founders Circle Award Winners

    In 2017, College Park Scholars welcomed more than 800 freshmen to what would become its 24th citation class, the Scholars Class of 2019. All who successfully completed the requirements of their Scholars program received their official Scholars citation. But there were some that went above and beyond the expectations, leaving a lasting impact on the community. On Oct. 18, 2019, Scholars honored these extraordinary students at its annual Citation Awards. Those recognized included 24 juniors—two from each program—chosen by their program directors for outstanding achievement and 24 for outstanding citizenship.

  • Scholars Alums Honored at 2018 Citation Awards

    More than a thousand College Park Scholars arrived on campus in fall 2016, the largest freshman class in Scholars history. This citation class went on to make an impact across the community, including raising a record-setting $19,315 for charities in the Scholars Cup competition. On Friday, Sept. 24, College Park Scholars celebrated this class with our annual Citation Awards Ceremony. The Scholars Citation Awards celebrates those select citation earners who have enriched the life of our community by putting Scholars values into action. Four students from each of the 12 programs were recognized with Outstanding Achievement and Outstanding Citizenship Awards (two for each category for each program).

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