This proposal is for the course: Innovation within Education: Teaching and Scaling Engineering Design, which is the tentative name. It is for student Nicholas Okafor, with approval to work under Dr. Lynnea Brumbaugh, professor of technical writing within the McKelvey School of Engineering. This course is being proposed out of the desire to extend the learning objectives gained during Okafor’s period in Technical Writing, and to fill a void in the offerings within the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This course will give an analytical critique to the role engineering design plays in our current education system, while creating strategies and programs to effectively scale initiatives that each this subject for underserved populations. This course will use the organization Studio: TESLA as a model for the successful implementation of engineering design instruction at the middle school level, while providing an avenue to envision wide-scale distribution of this material. Studio: TESLA is an organization that mobilizes college students to facilitate after-school clubs that build STEAM literacies (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and critical thinking capacity through hands-on challenges that guide youth through the engineering design process to spark innovative thinking. Rooted in core concepts like design thinking, Studio: TESLA is able to empower those scholars to boost their problem solving skills by continually creating solutions for problems presented during the studio. Similar to the course The Hatchery: Business Planning for New Ventures (based in the Olin Business School and the Brown School), this course also aims to connect the workings of the School of Engineering with that of innovation and entrepreneurship, so this course will be directly tied to the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and will include successful completion of their Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition. As The Hatchery has been a course lauded by business students, I am hoping to gain similar experiences by going through the SEIC competition, while still remaining rooted researching the engineering design process as the focal point for my independent study. By using these two resources, I will be able to engage directly into understanding the role entrepreneurship plays in our society, while effectively creating my own business in the process. A portion of this course will be devoted to attending the lectures of the WashU Start-Up Training Lab, while also utilizing the consultation of the Law School’s services to create and sustain nonprofits. Through this independent study, I would have the opportunity to theorize about the role of STEAM and design thinking, build entrepreneurial skills, and set up and sustain my own social venture.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission