Imagine this: you are going about your day and a person comes up to you. You can’t make eye contact with them and you feel uncomfortable even facing them. You mean no disrespect but it is mentally hard to do so. You are trying to understand what they mean in terms of their tone and you are unable to decipher the tone. You start to feel overwhelmed and this interaction starts to make your mind boggled, your heart rate increases and you just feel lost in a way. Sounds scary right? Surprisingly enough, this is how I feel as a person with autism, whenever I meet a person who I have never met or even those I haven’t seen in a while....
In this post, Inventor Student Leader Ari Elder reflects on Deaf History Month which spans from March 13 - April 15. These dates were chosen to commemorate three major milestones in Deaf education starting when Laurent Clerc, Mason Cogswell, and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founded the American School for the Deaf, the first US public school for the deaf, on April 15, 1817. Next, on April 8, 1864 Gallaudet University became the first institution for the advanced education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Finally, on March 13, 1988 Irving King Jordan became the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University after the Deaf President Now protests which called for representation from the Deaf community within the school’s faculty. To this day Gallaudet is still the only higher education institution where all of the instruction is particularly developed for deaf and hard of hearing students. This name may also sound familiar from the 2020 Netflix series Deaf U that shares the stories of a group of GU students. In addition to the noteworthy people already mentioned here are five more Deaf visionaries who have made amazing contributions in the sciences, arts, sports, and media.
Inventors student leader, Becky Xu, discusses the importance of the global celebration of Lunar New Year and reflects on the current challenges Asian Americans face today. "新年快乐 (xin nian kuai le), 恭喜发财 (gong xi fa cai)! Happy Lunar New Year! it is the most important holiday celebrated in many Asian communities, and this year, 2021, is the Year of the Ox."
This Fall, Inventors Student Ambassadors and Teaching Assistants deepened program development, led new initiatives, developed new events, and mentored prospective students. They organized into ten working committees: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, External Network Development, Student Mentoring, Practicum Course, Internal Network Development, K-12 Outreach, Database Resource Development, Communications, Program Logistics Support,and Events. Read more about their goals and accomplishments this Fall!
18 students in 5 advanced iTeams have taken their projects from FRI, Inventors Practicums, and Faculty Labs further into solutions development this Fall under the mentorship of Dr. Tim Riedel, Dr. Andy Ellington, and Dr. Bryan Davies!
This Fall despite our shift to virtual collaborative events, we held SEVEN Science and Inventors Sprints, the most we’ve ever held in a single semester! These sprints engaged over 100 UT Austin students in authentic R&D experiences alongside experts! Through Zoom breakout rooms, Google Jamboards and Drive folders, students were able to work in teams to create innovative solutions to pressing problems from real companies, government organizations, and research labs in just four hours. Our sprints included problem statements from Project HETDEX, the US Army 75th Innovation Command, Trend Micro, the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, IHS Markit, and the CIA. We loved hosting all of our incredible problem sponsors, and getting to engage so many new students in research and innovation. Read more about each of our exciting Fall Sprints below.
Our Fall 2020 Inventors Practicum Courses engaged students in creative solutions design for authentic challenges in Energy Industry Analytics, Personal Health Product Design, and Sustainability Solutions. Thank you to our Sponsors from ConocoPhillips, HHMI, the Schmidt-Trucahrd Foundation, and the Office of Sustainability's Green Fund Grant and our mentors from ConocoPhillips, Austin Technology Incubator, Dell Medical School's Texas Health Catalyst, University Housing & Dining, Landscape & Integrated Building Services, FRI Urban Ecosystems Lab, and Environmental Health & Safety.
The Inventors Program is committed to being actively inclusive and supportive of our students in all aspects of their lives. In our efforts to promote inclusivity, our student leadership team attended an Intersectionality and Allyship training from the Gender and Sexuality Center on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. We want to give a huge thanks to Quỳnh-Hương Nguyễn for leading this informative and engaging discussion! One of our takeaways is that we'd like to compile and share more resources to our student and faculty networks for Intersectionality, Inclusivity and Allyship! Please share with us other resources!
Nickolas Gibson is an Inventors Student Ambassador who serves on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee through the Inventors Program. As part of the committees goals this semester, members have been reading and listening to resources in order to better understand, celebrate, and serve all the communities within UT Austin. Nick offers his reflections on a recent TED talk in honor of National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM).
Our fully remote summer research fellows moved forward with new and continuing projects despite the challenge of working from home. Read and watch below to learn about the exciting progress of our research fellows who come from Inventors practicum courses and advanced teams.
Please read our plan of action statement to elevate the voices of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color student innovators and our commitment against racism and for building a stronger platform for rising Innovators from underrepresented groups in the sciences and entrepreneurship.
Post-practicum, students can continue to pursue their innovative projects through the formation of "iTeams" ("inventor teams") of students who independently drive and structure advanced R&D projects. This Spring we had a number of ongoing projects from 2019 as well as a few teams who pivoted their work into COVID-related research and design efforts. Read on for brief project descriptions!
Spring 2020 brought a lot of change. Inventors students taking practicum courses rose to the challenge of change and uncertainty with empathy, drive, and creativity. Celebrate student accomplishment with us by reading summaries of the practicum course students and projects from our undergraduate TAs.
In a matter of hours, teams of undergraduate students from diverse educational backgrounds collaborated with faculty and industry mentors to engineer solutions to authentic problems faced by STEM industry and research. Students ideated closely with their mentors to help bring fresh perspectives to existing challenges, received critical feedback, and even pitched their final ideas at the end of the Sprint. We are extremely pleased with the outcomes of the Sprint and would like to thank both the students and mentors for making it such a memorable experience. Please read about the different topics below.
Ever wonder how much you could get done in a single day's work? Ask the 100 students who joined us from CNS, Engineering, and beyond for fast-paced research and problem-solving on Oct 5th and Oct 26 this Fall!
News outlets have highlighted UT's Inventors Program.
Read dispatches from participants in our first Inventors Sprints.
Inventors Program students completed a GMO-safety project.
Student teams are putting renewed focus on improving the health and understanding of the Waller Creek watershed.