Cohort 35 Student Infuses Creativity into STEM

When describing the QUEST Honors Program, the first word that comes to many minds is interdisciplinary. Though only in his first semester with QUEST, Cohort 35 Materials Science and Engineering QUESTee Vincent Lan has taken “interdisciplinary” into action with his new organization, Flower STEM. When asked about what inspired him to create Flower STEM, Vincent explained that “it felt like current STEM classes are set up in a way where students learn concepts, formulas, and topics with limited application opportunities. Even when we do get to apply our work, it’s often very technical, without room for creativity. In the real world, creativity is what sets technology apart, and I want UMD students to get exposure to this concept while still in college.” After formulating the vision behind Flower STEM late one night, Vincent knew he had to pursue it. He formed a group of officers that were also interested in the interaction of creative and technical studies, began the SORC (Student Organization Resource Center) application, and even had a logo designed. From there, Flower STEM’s seeds began to blossom. 

Vincent Lan (Cohort 35)

The goal of Flower STEM is to promote and showcase creativity within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through impactful workshops and captivating guest speakers, Flower STEM aims to show that STEM is interconnected with arts, entrepreneurship, and all other fields that demand creativity. Their guest speaker lineup includes figures like Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch-based hi-tech fashion designer and entrepreneur. She is working in the emerging field of FashionTech, a rare combination of fashion design combined with STEM and UX design. Examples of projects include creating Intel-Edison based ‘Spider Dress’ where sensors and moveable arms on the dress help to create “a more defined boundary of personal space while employing a fierce style.” Through figures like this and more, Flower STEM members can get a first-hand look at how technology can be applied to more artistic industries. 

Example of FashionTech by Anouk Wipprecht

Though the organization is still very new, many students have shown interest in Flower STEM’s vision and ideals. Aside from just professional development, Flower STEM aims to create a social community of interdisciplinary students on campus. Though aimed at STEM students, the club is open to all majors, encouraging diversity of perspective and background. Flower STEM also hopes to create a Big-Little Program, nicknamed “Flower Buds.” Additionally, the club has an active Discord, making it easier for members to bond and remain connected, even during the virtual semester. With a large group of passionate and creative individuals, it’s inevitable that Flower STEM members will inspire others and create innovative projects in the future. 

A recent Flower STEM meeting on Zoom

The QUEST community can’t wait to see Flower STEM blossom into a thriving organization! If you’re interested in learning more about Flower STEM, you can follow them on Instagram at @flowerstemus. Best wishes to Vincent and the rest of Flower STEM for a great organization kickoff and rest of the semester!

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