An NSF-funded partnership between Cornell University and the University of Minnesota, Style Engineers uses hands-on activities to introduce young people ages 10 to 15 to smart clothing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through their interest in fashion.
The project strategy is to engage girls in STEM concepts and emerging technologies through informal learning outside of school. Hands-on, collaborative, and relevant real-world activities such as the ones we have developed for Style Engineers are known to improve how girls develop STEM identities, build confidence, and become motivated to pursue STEM-related learning and future careers.
We have always understood that the creation of clothing is a complex activity. Creating garments that fit well on a variety of body sizes and shapes using materials with vastly different properties ranging from filmy silk chiffon to stout leather; garments that keep us comfortable, move with us, and look great –this takes a depth of understanding that is unrivaled for any other product design. The engineer who builds a bridge on solid ground has a simple task compared to ours! With our desire to introduce a new generation of young people to the real excitement of fashion design Style Engineers was born from this understanding, coupled. A grant from the National Science Foundation helped make this a reality, with an initial three years of development, testing, and having fun with the great youngsters who participated in our pilot programs.
Dunne, L. E., Morris, K., Reich, J., Ramaswamy, H., Ashdown, S. P., Kozen, F., & Coffman, C. (2015, July). Fashion meets space travel: Engaging girls in STEM through functional apparel design. 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems.
Funded by National Science Foundation (grant 1139466)
Wearable Technology Lab
1985 Buford Avenue
240 McNeal Hall (directions and maps)