Skip to main content


STEAM Salon event

The mission of STEAM Salon is to provide a platform that centers the work of emerging researchers, faculty, and students at the intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. STEAM Salons enrich the intellectual and cultural life of our community through engaged conversation and shared ideas. We offer an inclusive space for developing researchers, faculty, and students to grow as professionals and to connect with a broad campus audience.

STEAM Salon is an informal series presented by the Libraries' Research Education Program and hosted by the STEM Library.

Past Events

A New Way to Study Microplastics: Single Particle ICP-MS and Residual Metal Signatures (George Caceres)

Date: October 18, 2023

Over the last decade, the inclusion of microplastics at the forefront of discussion for plastic pollution and anthropogenic change has steadily grown. The rising concerns of microplastics accumulation in the environment has thrust interest into key research areas to garner a better understanding of sources, transport, fate, toxicity, identification, and remediation of these tiny plastic fragments. However, there remain gaps in knowledge that can be addressed through the advancement of analytical methods, which are critical for the detection and characterization of microplastics. In particular, single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS) is an emerging technique that shows promise for the measurement of microplastics. Development of this technique by expansion of current capabilities and by establishing an alternative method of measuring microplastics using inherent residual elements, can not only offer tools to fill current measurement gaps, but serve as a model system for further development of alternative ICP-MS based strategies for the measurement of microplastics.

George Caceres is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland. Working in the Sang Bok Lee research group and in collaboration with the Inorganic Chemical Metrology Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, George is working on the development of single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS) for the measurement of microplastic particles. George aims to establish alternative analysis methods via this technique in order to expand current measurement limitations of spICP-MS and offer solutions for the present gaps in knowledge with respect to the analysis of microplastic particles.

Digital Skills Education in Maryland: Expanding Access and Equity in the Digital Environment (Alison Harding)

Date: March 8, 2023

While the pandemic brought a greater level of immediacy to the need for adequate digital hardware and skills in order to live, work, and participate in society, it only shed light on a digital inequity that existed long before. Efforts to engage those who are digitally disconnected are a priority, even outside of the extremes of the pandemic environment. In Maryland as of 2020, 23% of households do not have access to wireline broadband at home, and 18% do not have a desktop or laptop computer. These digitally disconnected households are disproportionately residents of Baltimore City and rural counties, low-income families, people of color, and older individuals. Lack of access to wireline broadband infrastructure plays a role in these disparities, however financial burden is also a major concern. The digital literacy of those who are disconnected creates a hurdle for proposals for large scale broadband adoption efforts. Low digital literacy skills can impede the adoption of broadband services, even if they are available and affordable.

In this presentation, Alison Harding (College of Information Studies) will expand upon the current state of digital skills equity in Maryland by presenting on the work that the collaborative team of researchers and educators from the iSchool and AGNR/Maryland Extension have undertaken to better understand the needs of Marylanders and address those needs. The focus will be on understanding what the needs of Marylanders are and the results of a study undertaken to understand what assets are already in place across the state.

The Intersection of Race & Place Matters (Shuo Jim Huang)

Date: April 6, 2022

The University Libraries joined Department of Health Policy and Management doctoral candidate Shuo Jim Huang for a virtual STEAM Salon. In this talk, Huang discussed the interplay of historically discriminatory policies and practices and age-differentiated mortality presented in Association of historic redlining and present-day health in Baltimore, co-authored by Huang and Dr. Neil J. Sehgal. The presentation included a short Q&A session. Shuo (or Jim) is a 5th year PhD candidate at UMD in Health Policy and Management. Shuo's research interests are in systems, structures, and processes in health equity and mutual aid.

Reallocating Representation (SoRelle Wyckoff Gaynor)

Date: March 9, 2022

SoRelle Gaynor is a PhD Candidate of American Politics and Political Methodology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her primary research interests include committee and congressional leadership, the budget and appropriations process, and public policy.

In 2019-2021, SoRelle served as an APSA Public Service Fellow for the U.S. House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. In the Fall of 2022, she will join the Political Science Department at College of the Holy Cross as an Assistant Professor.

Black Lives Matter in Polarized News Media: Politics, Policing, Prejudice, and Protest (Simone Nicole Durham)

Date: October 20, 2021

Through a content analysis of news articles on the #BlackLivesMatter movement in two news outlets, Slate and TheBlaze, the Department of Sociology's Simone Nicole Durham discusses the way that politically polarized news outlets draw on similar themes in coverage but deploy contrasting controlling images of activists and police officers in an effort to influence the racial formation of U.S. society.

Simone is a critical race scholar, focusing on identity, meaning making, and social movements. Her second year paper was an examination of racial projects taken on by polarized news media sources through coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Her dissertation project uses interviews to examine Black millennial perspectives on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. This project covers a variety of topics, including collective identity, participation, mental health effects, evaluations of present and future success, media influence, and how her respondents conceptualize BLM as a racial project.

Simone Durham was born and raised in Sacramento, California, but has lived in Maryland since 2011. She obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Arts degrees in Sociology from Morgan State University, a Historically Black University (HBCU) in Baltimore.

Interdisciplinary Intelligence Mapping of Illicit Global Environmental Change (Meredith Gore)

Date: September 29, 2021

A scientific understanding of human behavior is critical for improving humans’ ability to predict and adapt to global environmental change.

The emerging field of conservation criminology offers a model for understanding the types of illicit human behavior and the emotions, cognitions, and institutions that are a cause and a consequence of illicit global environmental change.

Join us as Dr. Meredith Gore introduces key dimensions of conservation criminology and provide three widely different examples of how interdisciplinary intelligence mapping can engender enhanced scientific understanding of illicit global environmental change, based on recent fieldwork, including:

  • Illegal rosewood logging in Madagascar’s northeastern rainforests
  • Urban wildmeat trafficking into Kinshasa
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Sea cucumber trafficking (illegal fishing) in Yucatan, Mexico.

Dr. Meredith Gore is a conservation social scientist, interdisciplinary researcher focused on environmental crime, community conservation, human geography, science diplomacy.
You can follow Dr. Gore on Twitter.

Visit Conservation Criminology or visit Dr. Gore's faculty profile to learn more about Dr. Gore's work.

Designing Together to Teach and Understand Techquity (Merijke Coenraad)

Date: May 4, 2021

Join Merijke Coenraad, doctoral candidate in Technology, Learning, and Leadership, as she explores findings from co-design work with youth around their conceptualizations of "techquity and threats to techquity" and delves into the units designed with teachers on these essential topics.

Merijke Coenraad is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the intersections of educational technology and equity including the creation of materials, platforms, and experiences in partnership with teachers and youth through participatory design methods. Merijke has an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College and a B.S. in Elementary Education and Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University. She is a former middle school teacher.

Fear, Fascination, and Fun in the 2021 Return of Periodical Cicadas (Cicada Crew)

Date: May 3, 2021

Known for their 13 and 17-year life cycles and massive synchronous periodical emergences, cicadas are unique in the insect world.

Please join us for a special STEAM Salon Classroom Showcase where we will have a conversation with the University of Maryland's Cicada Crew about when cicadas will appear and how they will impact humans, pets, wildlife, and plants in our region.

The Cicada Crew is a team of entomologists from the University of Maryland working to spread knowledge and awareness of periodical cicadas.

Mapping Environmental Injustice in Maryland (Jan-Michael Archer)

Date: April 21, 2021

The Maryland Environmental Justice Screening Tool (MD EJSCREEN) was developed to answer one question: Where are Maryland's most impacted and vulnerable environmental justice communities? Since its creation in 2017, the tool has become a robust resource for identifying spatial justice as well as environmental hazard overburdening. This presentation will discuss how the tool was built, why it's needed, and how it has been used by community members, legal advocates, policymakers, and government agency officials.

Creating a Zoom Play in the Time of Plague & Insurrection (Jared Mezzocchi)

Date: January 21, 2021

The Research Commons @ STEM presents a STEAM Salon with Jared Mezzocchi, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland's School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. Join us as we discuss Mezzocchi's newest work (a play written and produced for the Zoom format) Russian Troll Farm [trailer], described by the New York Times as a "trenchant workplace comedy about the folks who tried to promote Pizzagate, confuse Wisconsin and, ultimately, elect Donald J. Trump".

Playwright Sarah Gancher (link to bio) will also join the conversation to talk about how she approached the Zoom-tailored production.

Jared Mezzocchi is an Obie Award winning multimedia artist based out of Washington, DC. He is a resident artist at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, DC and has directed and designed at theaters across the U.S. including Milwaukee Rep, Portland Centerstage, Cleveland Playhouse, Arena Stage, South Coast Rep, National Geographic, National Gallery of Art, and Centerstage Baltimore.

Mezzocchi received his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College and is currently on faculty at University of Maryland, College Park, where he built the Projection Design curriculum in the MFA Design Program. In Fall 2020, Mezzocchi continued work finishing his book, a multimedia designer’s method to theatrical storytelling, which will be published through Routledge in Spring 2021. Visit Jared Mezzocchi's website to learn more.

TRACES (Brandon Morse)

Date: October 6, 2020

For this presentation, we welcomed Professor Brandon Morse, chair of the University of Maryland Department of Art.

Morse is a Washington, DC based artist who works with generative systems as a means to examine the ways in which physical phenomena, such as entropy and emergence, can function in ways that are both poetic and metaphorical.

Through the use of code, and the creation of custom computer software, he creates simulations of seemingly complex systems to create video and video installations that seek to draw parallels between the ways in which these systems work and the ways in which we, both individually and collectively, navigate the world around us.

Check out Brandon's work, part of the exhibit TRACES at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC.

What Are They Talking About? (Natasha Andrade and David Tomblin)

Date: September 23, 2020

This STEAM Salon features Dr. Natasha Andrade and Dr. David Tomblin, as they discuss efforts to include social justice and socio-technical thinking in the engineering curriculum.

Rapid Ethnographic Assessments: A Practical Approach for Collaborative Community Research (Thurka Sangaramoorthy)

Date: April 30, 2020

Thurka Sangaramoorthy, PhD, MPH is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Departments of African-American Studies, Women's Studies, and the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health, and a Faculty Associate at the Maryland Population Research Center.

This session provides an overview of understanding and conducting Rapid Ethnographic Assessment (REA) and is designed to help audience members apply this method to their own research regardless of topic or discipline.

Landscaping for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Karin Burghardt)

Date: February 20, 2020

Dr. Burghardt outlines ways that decisions within one's own personal scope of management (gardens, yards, parks, and other green spaces) alter plant/animal interactions and suggests tweaks that can be made to practices such as plant selection, yard care, and pest management practices to retain biodiversity and function in the spaces we inhabit everyday.

AI in Libraries (Pirjo Kangas)

Date: December 3, 2019

Libraries all over the world are increasingly starting to apply artificial intelligence in their work. AI technologies, most notably machine learning, are used to support different aspects of library work, including, creating metadata, enhancing logistical operations and supporting information discovery.

Vestiges of Ice: Data, Digital Tools, & Art (Cy Keener)

Date: November 14, 2019

Recently featured in Maryland Today and Terp Magazine, Cy Keener is an artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology. His current focus is on recording and representing environments undergoing drastic changes due to our climate crisis. In this presentation, he will share his experience collaborating with the International Arctic Buoy Programme to deploy art / science instruments to record multi-year sea ice, his effort to digitally document the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland for an immersive virtual reality experience.

Cy Keener is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Emerging Technology at the University of Maryland’s Department of Art. His work includes a range of data-based installations to visualize diverse phenomena including sea ice, wind, rain and ocean waves. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University, and a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Keener has completed commissioned installations at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Stanford University, Suyama Space in Seattle, and the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas. Over the past year, Cy has presented his work at the International Symposium on Electronic Art in Durban South Africa, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., and OCAD University in Toronto.

Speculating on Human Futures After Fukushima (Hester Baer and Michele Mason)

Date: March 7, 2019

Drawing on their work from their collaborative research and teaching project "Nuclear Futures in the Post-Fukushima Age," Hester Baer and Michele Mason demonstrate the critical role of the environmental humanities in constructing historically aware narratives about human futures in an era characterized by environmental devastation and renewed nuclear threat. With attention to the speculative fictions of the German-Japanese writer Yoko Tawada, Baer and Mason explore the necessity of collaborative, multilingual, and transnational analysis not only to reframe key questions but also to posit constructive modes of action for the pressing issues before us.

Hester Baer is an associate professor and head of the Department of Germanic Studies as well as a core faculty member in Comparative Literature and Film Studies. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in film and media studies; historical and contemporary feminisms; German culture in the 21st Century; and environmental humanities. She is the author of Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language and a project lead of the Digital Feminisms Collective. She currently serves as co-editor of the journal Feminist German Studies.

Michele Mason is an associate professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies and head of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Her research interests include colonial and postcolonial studies, gender and feminist studies, and masculinity studies as well as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, peace and nuclear abolition movements, and environmental humanities. Her books include Dominant Narratives of Colonial Hokkaido and Imperial Japan and Reading Colonial Japan: Text, Context, and Critique.

Privacy, Security, and Ethical Challenges in the Era of Big Data (Jessica Vitak)

Date: October 30, 2018

Over the past decade, the Internet of Things has pushed its way into our workplaces and homes by making regular products "smarter." We now wear watches to track our steps, heart rate, and sleep patterns. Our thermostats learn over time about our heating and cooling preferences. Our refrigerator can detect when we run out of milk. And our intelligent personal assistants passively listen for a voice cue ("Alexa!") to respond to our questions and commands. In many ways, we are living in the science fiction future we dreamed of decades ago. On the other hand, the influx of devices meant to collect constant data about your movement and location, health, and purchasing patterns raise significant questions about the privacy and security of that data. In this talk, I'll share early results from two NSF grants, one looking at privacy and surveillance on smartphones and intelligent personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, and the other collaborative project on pervasive data ethics. I'll also raise questions for researchers working in this space to consider as they work with large, public datasets to ensure they are taking adequate steps to protect the data and the users behind that data.

Jessica Vitak is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and associate director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). Her research evaluates the benefits and drawbacks of mediated communication technologies by focusing on the role that social and technical affordances shape interactions online. Specifically, she focuses on questions around data privacy and security, as well as pervasive data ethics, around the generation, collection, and analysis of large-scale user data.

Ecosystems in Transition: Sea-Level Rise Unlocks Agricultural Legacies (Kate Tully)

Date: October 18, 2018

Dr. Kate Tully explains how rising sea levels are affecting farmlands on the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore.

Representing Conflict through Dance (Susan Wiesner)

Date: April 12, 2018

Dr. Susan Wiesner discusses how she uses motion-capture technology to analyze dance at the University of Maryland’s STEM Library.

Designing with Data (Mark Fuge)

Date: February 28, 2018

Assistant professor Mark Fuge of the University of Maryland’s Department of Mechanical Engineering discusses how machine learning is morphing human, product, and system design.

Printing Bernini: How Theatre Uses 3D Technology (Michael Driggers)

Date: November 16, 2017

Michael Driggers shares how The Clarice at the University of Maryland used 3D tech to replicate Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Apollo & Daphne sculpture.

Open Geo-Data from Social Fitness Tracking Apps (Grant McKenzie)

Date: April 11, 2017

Assistant Professor Grant McKenzie discusses collecting geo-data from social fitness apps.

Making with a Social Purpose: Transforming STEM Learning Through Wearables (Jon Froehlich)

Date: April 4, 2017

On April 4, 2017 Jon Froehlich, Assistant Professor in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Maryland, College Park, gives a presentation on wearable technology in the University's Engineering and Physical Sciences Library. Increasing youth participation and diversity in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology (STEM) is a key national priority. 

Since 2012, Jon and his collaborators forged a cross-disciplinary research agenda exploring how wearables and e-textiles are designed to promote and engage children in meaningful STEM learning experiences. In this talk, Jon highlights two large NSF-funded research agendas: (i) the development and evaluation of Live Physiological Sensing and Visualization (LPSV) tools that integrate real-time on-body sensors and visual displays to enable new scientific investigations about the body (e.g., physiology, movement); and (ii) MakerWear, a modular wearable construction toolkit aimed at allowing young children (ages 5-10) to program, build, and use, their own interactive wearables. Results of field studies with over 200+ children in after-school programs and elementary schools, key successes and challenges, and important areas for future work are also discussed.

Foretold Futures from Digital Footprints: Artificial Intelligence, Behavior Prediction, and Privacy (Jen Golbeck)

Date: March 15, 2017

Augmenting Abilities through Wearable Technologies (Leah Findlater)

Date: February 7, 2017

How can wearable technologies be used to transform the accessibility of everyday activities for people with disabilities? This talk will provide an overview of our research at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, with an in-depth look at using head-mounted displays to support communication. 

Leah Findlater is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies (iSchool), an affiliate professor in the Department of Computer Science, and a member of the Inclusive Design group at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Findlater’s research centers on human-computer interaction with a focus on inclusive design and accessibility. Her goal is to lower barriers to using technology and accessing information, with much of her work focusing on personalized adaptation.

The Future of Asking (and Answering) Questions: How Technology Changes the Way We Think (Dan Russell)

Date: October 31, 2016

Dan Russell, Senior Research Scientist for Search Quality and User Happiness at Google, discusses "The Future of Asking (and Answering) Questions: How Technology Changes the Way We Think" on October 31, 2016 in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.


At the University Libraries, we strive to present inclusive events that enable all individuals, including those with disabilities, to fully participate. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact us at

Proposals and Nominations

We highly encourage faculty mentor nominations and student proposals for future STEAM Salon presentations. We accept proposals and nominations on an ongoing basis.

Back to Top