Blending the worlds of art and engineering, the Hallo-STEAM event on October 27 marked a collaboration between various student and campus organizations, aimed at bridging the gap between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the arts, making technical fields more accessible and engaging for students of all majors.
Spearheaded by Professor Ete Chan from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Elizabeth Argiro from the Origami Club, the event featured three unique projects, each designed to showcase the fusion of technology and creativity that can be built by anyone even if they are not “tech-savvy.” The projects included an Interactive Origami Garden, Sensory Music Cloud, and Light-Up Cap.
“We have planned several events for elementary and high schoolers together that meld STEM and art (STEAM), specifically exploring how origami techniques can inspire engineering design. This event was therefore a natural progression for us and paired well with our goal of showcasing the interdisciplinary nature of STEM and art to audiences with little prior experience in STEM,” Argiro said.
The event was made possible through a collaboration between Student Engagement and Activities (SEA) and the VIP BEAR program. The SEA team worked diligently to ensure the event’s logistics ran smoothly.
“This has been a long time in the making,” said Emily Ng, an event coordinator of SEA. “Professor Chan wanted to create an event that would make STEM activities accessible to people who aren’t STEM majors.”
The Stony Brook chapters of Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) also played a vital role in the event, creating projects that utilized simple coding and circuits. Their interactive displays, including the Sensory Music Cloud, captivated attendees.
“We’ve collaborated with Prof Chan before, and it’s a great opportunity for us to introduce circuits and coding to people who might not otherwise know much about it. The combination of art and technology excites us, and we are thrilled to see more people interested in these fields,” said Rachel Leong, president of the IEEE chapter.
The Interactive Origami Garden, presented by the Origami Club, incorporated traditional origami, programming, and electronics. Attendees made flower vases with glowing origami tulips, lilies, and butterflies that lit up when you clap. It can serve as a dorm decoration programmed to act as a calming night light, musical box, or anything the user can think of.
The event received positive feedback from non-engineering students as well. Taha Ahmad, a sustainability studies major and studio art minor, said, “I wish there were more events or even classes that combined technology and art.”
Ian Codner, a business management major, shared, “The event opens you up to try other STEM activities because of the various functions of the circuit board. Resources such as IEEE’s open lab space on campus that I never knew about were also introduced to me at the event.”
The collaborative effort not only demonstrates the creativity and innovation of Stony Brook’s students but also emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Other clubs and organizations that were involved include Tau Beta Pi (TBP), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB) and Hand in Hands. TBP in particular was responsible for designing the Light-up Cap project.
“I absolutely think that non-STEM students should try out events like these, and the art element of STEAM is a great way to connect with these Seawolves,” said Megha Gopal, the president of TBP. “At Stony Brook, through the incredibly diverse and numerous student organizations, we as students have an amazing opportunity to try out different disciplines and activities. Events like these are a chance to explore, create something fun, and make memories that will last.”
As Stony Brook continues to explore the intersection of art and STEM, events like these are poised to become catalysts for inspiring the next generation of innovators, regardless of their academic background.
— Lori Saxena