A Diverse History of STEAM

This past summer, chemistry teacher Sarah Lanzetta spearheaded the creation of the "Diverse History of STEAM" piece in the Abbe Science Building to celebrate diversity in the world around us. The goal is to shine a light on all of the people who have made important contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Activism, and Mathematics (STEAM), both in recent and less recent history. "Historically, textbooks in these fields often pay homage or give credit to people who were male, of European decent, and who lived as many as hundreds of years ago," explains Sarah. "While their stories and perspectives are absolutely important, there is so much more depth in the history of these fields."

The overall shape of the piece is meant to mimic the most current Periodic Table of Elements, with space for up to 118 people. The STEAM categories are color-coded to match some of the categories naturally found on the Periodic Table of Elements. The people represented on the "Diverse History of STEAM" piece show that people from diverse backgrounds have all helped to shape these fields, regardless of the color of their skin, age, place of birth, religion, educational background, sexual orientation, gender, or ability. There are also a few mirrors placed on the "table" in order for students to see themselves reflected in these fields. "Hopefully, folks walking by will take a moment to look, wonder, chuckle, nod, and just feel good about who is part of STEAM," says Sarah.