Fostering innovation in STEM

Megan Tran, Alexa Leon, and Tommy Wan

UT excels at science, technology, engineering and math. From innovative research to ever-increasing student collaboration, many organizations and laboratories are pushing boundaries of exploration toward new heights. 

Often, scientific discovery requires extensive teamwork. As students, our interests and curiosity of scientific phenomena are fostered through continued learning, hands-on experience and interfacing with new discoveries. 

As technology advances, we rely on constant innovation. We rely on continuous learning, experienced mentors and the resources of a Tier One research university. An investment in STEM education must be made to advance all aspects of society — from medical treatments and agriculture to artificial intelligence and machine processing. 

In this forum project, we explore STEM organizations that are fostering the next generational workforce. We asked about their mission, how they effectively work toward innovation and the methods they use to share their projects beyond the classroom.

In this forum project:

Mechanical engineering sophomore Esther Jin describes how a community of dedicated engineers came together to create innovation in Longhorn Racing at UT and how investing in student engineering organizations can lead to a more vibrant and active university community.  

Jhanvi Girish, an electrical and computer engineering senior, and Nida Virabalin, a civil engineering and anthropology senior, explain the importance of engineering innovation through the student laboratory TREL.

Kiersten Fernandez, the K-12 outreach program coordinator for the Cockrell School of Engineering, explains the importance of investing in and providing opportunities for K-12 students who are interested in STEM education.

Helen Liu, an electrical and computer engineering senior and president of UT Students Engineering Educating Kids, describes her personal experience with what she views to be the most important field of STEM innovation: the people.

The forum team consists of forum editors Alexa Leon, Tommy Wan and editor-in-chief Megan Tran. As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].