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 Matt Aruch or 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
Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 2 credits
Academic Writing 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Practicum (can be taken in the fall or spring) 3 credits
Scholars Capstone (can be taking in the fall or spring) 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum (if not already taken in the fall) 3 credits
Scholars Capstone (if not already taken in the fall) 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course if not already completed) 9–12 credits

Residence Hall 

Cambridge Hall

Office Address

1210 Cambridge Hall

Office Phone

301-405-0527

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 Matt Aruch

Matt Aruch

Senior Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Timothy Reedy

Timothy Reedy

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Logan Williams

Logan Williams

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Thomas Zeller

Thomas Zeller

Program Associate, Science, Technology and Society

Social Media Etc.

Baltimore Sun: Experiential Learning in a Virtual World


Science, Technology and Society News

Showing 1 - 6 of 14
  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2021, Founders Circle Award winners

    When the Scholars Citation Class of 2021—all 930 of them—stepped onto the University of Maryland campus in August of 2019, spirits were undoubtedly high. College Park Scholars was celebrating its 25th anniversary, with branded #ScholarsAt25 shirts, buttons and laptop stickers, and even a Maryland Dairy ice cream flavor created specifically for the occasion. But spirits sank in March of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the cohort into a virtual experience for the rest of their time in the program.

  • 3 Scholars Alumni Named Merrill Presidential Scholars

    Three College Park Scholars alumni were among the 19 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars named by the University of Maryland (UMD) this past week:

  • STS Director Receives Dean's Award for Outstanding Performance

    David Tomblin, director for the Science, Technology and Society Scholars program and the new Science, Technology, Ethics and Policy minor, has received the Dean’s Outstanding Performance for Professional Track Faculty by the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The award, instituted in 2020, recognizes exceptionally influential accomplishments in one, or both, the areas of research and teaching.

  • New Minor Expands STS Concepts Beyond Scholars

    The Science, Technology and Society (STS) Scholars program has long pushed students to consider the ethical, social and political implications of science, research and technology. It’s the kind of thinking that isn’t readily incorporated into most STEM curricula, despite the high likelihood that these students will one day design or introduce innovations that could significantly impact society. Thanks to a new minor, however, more University of Maryland students will soon be exposed to STS teachings.

  • 10 Scholars Alums to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    A significant number of Scholars alumni will be serving as Senior Marshals at the University of Maryland commencement this Friday, May 21, 2021. Senior Marshals are graduating seniors who display the highest levels of scholarship, service, extracurricular activity and personal growth.

  • 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.

Showing 1 - 6 of 14
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