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Part 1. Creativity in STEM – How Does It Work?

By: Sarah Han (PAST Foundation Graphic Design Intern, Spring 2023)


During Spring Semester 2023, I had the opportunity to work at the PAST Foundation as a graphic design intern. I saw the internship as an opportunity to contribute my anime/manga-styled art and creativity to various real-world projects and grow as an aspiring professional. My goals mainly focused on:

  • Understanding how creativity is part of STEM

  • Contributing creativity to PAST’s various projects

  • Growing myself as an aspiring professional in the field of illustration/manga (i.e., Japanese comics)

As an intern, I worked on the following projects throughout the internship experience:

  • Biteable videos (editing)

  • Creating illustrations

    • Learning about vectorizing images

  • Creating a portfolio website

A poster (image) showcasing some of my work and key points of the experience can be seen here:

Creativity is everywhere, including in STEM. So, how does it work? During my time with PAST, I saw how making things fun can benefit learning. The PAST Foundation is dedicated to taking learning to the next level. Their projects consist of interactive (hands-on) and engaging approaches to learning instead of reading and listening to lectures.


Short Video Editing

One project I worked on included editing a short project introduction video. I was given the freedom to create the video however I chose as long as I used a specific software (Biteable) and followed the provided storyboard (adding needed components on each slide/scene). In the end, I opted for a simple layout. A new skill I learned during this process was how to add a half-transparent ribbon around the text and choosing where to add the text in each scene. In the end, my mentor liked my work, and especially the transparent ribbon. This small addition brought a pop of color onto the screen, making the video more engaging.


Illustrations

I also had the opportunity to design and draw characters (both original and existing). I created two characters intended to be used for a design cycle lesson. I also drew a character, (Shawn) from a graphic novel called Long Way Down, in my style to be used for a 2d/3d animation lesson. The drawings were not created to become the star of the show. Instead, they were made to help people have a bit more fun when learning about the content. They were part of the project in order to make information easier to access and engage with. In other words, the drawings were the supporting character and not the main character.


Portfolio Website

The final project of my internship was creating my portfolio website. During this largely independent project, creativity was heavily used for format/layout. Specifically, the internship page had to have a reasonable balance between text and images. To keep it simple, I ended up utilizing bullet points and also made sure to add visuals (i.e., video and illustrations).


Based on my experience, I think it can be said that one aspect of creativity in STEM is shown through how information is presented. The form of the presentation itself is creative, such as creating a video to share with others, or something creative, such as drawings, can be incorporated into a lesson. Looking into PAST’s projects, such as the design cycle lesson and 2d/3d animation lesson plan, can help recognize the range that creativity can have. In many of their projects, creativity is used to enhance their main topic or lesson.







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