• Participants in the 2002 RISE program. From left, standing: Chad Baker, Bethune-Cookman College; Jocelyn Hadrick, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Gustavo Alverio, University of Central Florida; Stacie Meadows, University of Michigan/Ann Arbor. Sitting in back: Carlos Espinal, CCNY; Sandra Dillahunt, Winston-Salem University. Sitting in front: Octavio Mesner, Borromeo Seminary; Anthony Pullen, Southern University; Kenneth "KC" Jones, University of the Eastern Maryland Shore.

    Marc Garham

    Full Screen

Students RISE to occasion in MIT summer program

Challenged to design and build a Technology Temple through which future generations might learn something of the tools and practices of 2002, nine students in the RISE summer program spent six weeks transforming their individual visions into three team-built works of art set in stone.

RISE (Research In Science and Engineering) was sponsored by NASA and hosted by MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, which provided teaching and laboratory resources. MIT's Office of Minority Education administered the program on campus.

RISE, which ran from June 24 to Aug. 1, offered a "massive technology infusion" for students from historically black colleges and universities, said Professor of Mechanical Engineering Alexander H. Slocum, project leader for RISE.

The students were strangers to one another and new to the tools they were using handily soon after their arrival. Collaborating in a flexible design process, using SolidWorks (a 3-D modeling system) and mastering the minivan-sized Abrasive Waterjet Machine--each phase of the creative process required new skills.

The results--meter-square marble portraits in which current technological symbols such as computer terminals and the space shuttle mix Escher-like with stars and human silhouettes--are striking for their intricacy and depth.

Most significant, said Slocum, is the students' participation in the program's larger goal: to "empower students to use the tools to design their own things."

The students, six men and three women, were sophomores and juniors majoring in physics, engineering or math at colleges and universities in the US.

Topics: Volunteering, outreach, public service


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