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 Matt Aruch

Matt Aruch

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

Nicole Mogul

Assistant Director, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Timothy Reedy

Timothy Reedy

Graduate Assistant, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Thomas Zeller

Thomas Zeller

Program Associate, Science, Technology and Society
Portrait of Logan Williams

Logan Williams

Lecturer, Science, Technology and Society

Science, Technology and Society News

  • 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.

  • A Scholar Takes a Cross-Cultural Venture into Science, Technology and Society

    My first experience with Ecuador was in the winter of 2017. That was when I traveled there with Science, Technology and Society (STS) Assistant Director Matt Aruch and 16 other University of Maryland (UMD) students as a part of the STS-led short-term study abroad course, “Education, Technology and Society: Ecuador in Context.” I had originally found out about this opportunity during Admitted Students Open House when I was a senior in high school, and it had served as one of the many reasons I decided to join STS.

  • Science, Technology and Society Alum Transforms Internship Into a Career at DOJ

    After interning with the Department of Justice his junior year, Science, Technology and Society alumnus John Rookard applied for a position with the Justice Department the summer before his senior year. Rookard realized that there were post-grad professional opportunities for him at the Justice Department after speaking with the human resources manager at his internship. He applied for one of these positions August 2016, and received an offer in March of this year.

  • Students Host First ScholarsNEXT, a Student-Run TED-Like Event

    On Feb. 19, a group of seven College Park Scholars presented in the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center for the first-ever ScholarsNEXT event. ScholarsNEXT is a student-run event that provides students with an opportunity to share their ideas about solving real-world problems. Presenters had to register for a class, which met every other week for an hour. Sponsored by the UMD SGA and the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Ananth Srivatsan was able to make his dream a reality in founding this event.

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