Braille Monitor                                               November 2013

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The Blind in Science: From Spectators to Innovators

Hoby Wedler demonstrates one of the labs to two of his chemistry students.The STEM-X Program was held on the campus of Towson University in Baltimore from July 29 to August 3, providing unique learning opportunities to fifty high school students from around the country. The “X” in the program’s name is inspired by the aerospace community, where missions have used the letter as an abbreviation for “exploration,” and as a statement of their intent to seek new solutions and new information that would push the current boundaries of known science. Participants in the STEM-X program certainly had the enthusiasm as they explored their chosen focus discipline. Each student chose a focus: chemistry, computer science, engineering, robotics, or space science.

Keby Young reads the Braille label on her skeleton in the human physiology class.While each student has a chosen focus, the students are encouraged to work collaboratively across specializations, taking the different approaches of the diverse disciplines to create synergy and original thinking in the problem-solving challenges. Students work with blind and sighted STEM professionals as guides in their summer learning.

Alexander Richmond walks across the bridge he built with his peers in the civil engineering class to prove its strength.Students are encouraged to get hands-on in their STEM explorations. Whether it’s reading Braille labels on skeletons, building models, testing the stability of those models, or other activities, participants aren’t sitting quietly waiting for someone to tell them what they can do.

Mark Riccobono stopped by, and ended up taking a tour of a different sort of blind driver-designed vehicle than he’s used to: a mock spacecraft designed by the students in the aerospace engineering class. Mark Riccobono takes a spin in the spacecraft designed by the aerospace engineering class.









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