SCSU Initiatives Combine STEM Fields with Business, Philosophy

By Zahn, Brian | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), November 30, 2015 | Go to article overview

SCSU Initiatives Combine STEM Fields with Business, Philosophy


Zahn, Brian, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


NEW HAVEN » Southern Connecticut State University is leading an initiative to help its science students transition from the laboratory to the boardroom.

For two years under SCSU President Mary Papazian, the university has sponsored several interdisciplinary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives that combine STEM fields with others, such as business and philosophy.

Christine Broadbridge, a physics professor and director of STEM Initiatives at the university, said the program's aim is to build partnerships and create a broader base of knowledge for SCSU students.

"The goal is to be collaborative," Broadbridge said.

The various centers incorporate project-based learning methods, wherein teams of students are presented with real problems, such as a question from a company as to how it can improve its product or expand its reach, and investigate the issue while drawing from the strengths and knowledge of all members of the team.

"In the way society is going, it's more and more the case that employers will give you a problem to solve and they're going to need you to know what kind of knowledge or approach you need to solve that problem," Broadbridge said.

Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business, said this collaborative, interdisciplinary approach is being rolled out at all levels of the university, including the graduate level.

"We match up physics students with MBA students, and sometimes the physics student might have an idea for a product they would like to create, but they don't have the business background," Durnin said. "Their strengths complement one another."

Durnin said the advantage to exposing students to targeted interdisciplinary methods is that a student with experience in the sciences will gain the skills and experience to create a business plan, learn how to market it and schedule a supply chain from marketing to inventory to delivery to pricing.

"It's been a real success among our graduate programs, and (Broadbridge and I) both feel having that crossover or partnership raises the quality of both academic programs," she said.

Durnin said several businesses have an ongoing partnership with SCSU because their interest in using graduates with a knowledge of physics for manufacturing technologies.

"There may be some very talented students they can hire at some point, and it brings in and provides students with hands-on, real work relevant to their field," she said. …

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