Humber is moving full STEAM ahead

One of the drivers behind the establishment of the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) was to create a space to harness the expertise of faculty and businesses to introduce young students to education and careers in technology and trades.

Building on this vision from Bob Barrett, co-founder of the Barrett Family Foundation, which donated $10-million to establish the Barrett CTI, Humber built a dedicated STEAM outreach room (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) for this purpose.

The STEAM Learning Lab was designed to support current students and create learning opportunities for younger generations to explore learning pathways.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, Humber hosted more than 25 workshops as part of its STEAM Outreach program for primary and secondary level students across various school boards in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

More than 1,000 students and their teachers participated in the workshops and were able to see firsthand the work being created by Humber students and how they are applying STEAM learning in and out of the classroom.

The STEAM Outreach program began under the guidance of faculty members and students from the Project Management postgraduate program (PMPG) and is supported by Neal Mohammed, director of the Barrett CTI. The program exposes youth to areas, such as robotics, mechatronics, 3D printing, augmented/virtual reality, electronics, storytelling, prototyping, programming and other technological trends.

Since the opening of the building, 10 Barrett CTI projects have provided work-integrated learning opportunities for students within programs in the Faculties of Applied Sciences & Technology and the Faculty of Business. PMPG worked with stakeholders across the College on multiple projects aligned with Humber’s strategic priorities. They were implemented under the PMPG’s Alternative Capstone Model — developed to provide real-world opportunities for students to apply their skills as project management practitioners.

Last summer, Humber Electromechanical Engineering and Technology students, Maramawit Demisse, Matthew Cocomello and Pranav Mistry were hired as research assistants in the Barrett CTI and helped to create activity packages for elementary and high school student groups. The students hosted the STEAM workshops throughout the season and provided hands-on learning.

“For most kids, we are exposing them to what’s out there and what their interests may be,” says Demisse. “Younger kids are not as worried about their careers as those finishing high school and it allows them to explore new skills without any pressure.”

Students have the opportunity to see how robots can interact with humans by working side-by-side, in collaboration. Among the many robots students are exposed to, they also compete and test their skills against systems like the Drawbot. Designed by Humber students, the robot works simultaneously with humans to draw an image and challenges the participant to beat its speed and accuracy.

“We show and tell what we have created and what we can do thanks to the program and the opportunities we have here at Humber,” says Cocomello. “It is an opportunity for young students to see what college is about.”

The STEAM Outreach program is one of many opportunities provided in conjunction with Humber’s Community Outreach and Workforce Development (COWD), which offers specialized hands-on and informative workshops. COWD works with Humber’s faculties to offer workshops where students can be introduced to careers they may not have considered.

Humber will continue to host workshops throughout the year and introduce students to areas such as business, health sciences, media, social and community services, trades and more.