Community Engagement Initiative
Powered by STEAM: Using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math to Improve Accessibility to Special-Needs Children
Powered by STEAM (PBS) works with student “makers” to design and build cardboard furniture and other equipment for people with and without special needs. PBS students attend workshops on cardboard engineering and Arduino microcontrollers to learn basic building principles, and then go to work designing and building successively more advanced pieces of assistive equipment. Guiding the work of PBS will be the decades’ worth of research and implementation performed by the Adaptive Design Association, Inc. Inspiration will also be drawn from the maker movement and the work of DIYAbility.org, Adaptive Design’s sister organization.
Students in the program work with music and art therapists at two centers for children with special needs in Yonkers and White Plains. Visits to the centers are made periodically over the course of the semester, allowing student builders a chance to meet the individuals they are building for, and to consult, test, and finalize their designs. Much of the building occurs on campus, using simple materials and supplies in the Office of Community Partnerships. Each student in the program will produce at least two, finalized items over the course of the academic year.