Asking “what if” has led to collaborations between the dance company and students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, explorations in swarm intelligence, and dances with drones.
In our first issue of 2023, we take up dual themes, both offering constructive and energized methods of engagement.
Our lead article, “Dance and STEM: A Fascinating Duet,” interviews Emily Kent, education director for the contemporary dance company Pilobolus, as well as others actively exploring the relationship between two disciplines, which, at first glance, seem to have little in common. Regarding the connection between dance and STEM, Kent noted, “Both disciplines take years of training, dedication, and practice, but the need to say, ‘what if?’ drives both worlds.”
Asking “what if” has led to collaborations between the dance company and students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, explorations in swarm intelligence, and dances with drones. Pairing dance with STEM has led to educational outreach to diverse youth who might otherwise bypass consideration of STEM subjects. Ultimately, pairing the two has brought deeper insights into core human experiences and scientific principles.
And asking “what if” requires freedom to experiment and freedom to fail. In recent years, university makerspaces have become places of inspiration where failure is regarded as part of a creative process. The feature “The Impact of the Maker Movement” looks at several universities where these labs are also exerting their influence to create more inclusive environments.
Traditional diplomacy is another field not typically associated with engineering disciplines, yet two articles in this issue focus on the emergence of STEM diplomacy as an area of increasing importance and key to tackling sustainable development goals. In “An Expanding Global Stage Makes Way for Engineering Diplomacy,” we interview two SWE members actively working in engineering diplomacy and a university professor who teaches courses on the topic and has developed a new minor in engineering innovation for global challenges.
The feature “Citadels of Innovation” examines ways in which cities around the world are becoming beacons of scientific diplomacy as they work to solve climate and sustainability issues. Recognizing that these are felt most keenly on the local level, collaborations between policymakers, scientists, engineers, and nongovernmental organizations in varying locales are taking on issues ranging from climate resilience to mental health. Whether addressing salinity in water, empowering women, or developing energy-related codes for building standards, the efforts foster the relationships between health, social equity, and the environment.
As always, our standard departments provide news and personal insights particularly relevant to women engineers. In News & Advocacy, we examine data on women’s global participation as inventors, how women candidates fared in the United States midterm elections, the recent global gender summit, and hydrogen fuel cell aviation. Voices & Views includes advice on speaking up in meetings, reflections on the importance of taking time off, and personal reinvention, among other topics.
All the best in the new year.
Director of Editorial & Publications