I strive to maintain a balance between my job and the rest of my life. Outside of work I have several current interests.
My wife is Dr. Enid Steinbart who works as the Director of Advising and Assessment in the Georgia Tech School of Math. We are proud parents of three awesome young women Hannah, Natalie and Monica. We also have an old dog Madison and a mean cat Bo. Here’s some faces to go with the names:
One (lazy) way to tell our story is to post our archive of annual holiday letters.
Comedy and Improv
Not exactly a typical hobby for a mathematics professor and college administrator, but believe me, it can be just as challenging! I’ve been performing stand up and improv comedy since the 1980’s. Here’s a Story Collider podcast where I talk a little bit about that part of my life.
I’ve also spend some time creating April Fool’s Jokes that occasionally get a little attention.
The Maker Movement
I am very involved in the maker movement. I co-founded a successful community makerspace, Decatur Makers, located in downtown Decatur. I’m also on the board of the Southeast Makers Alliance and have been involved as a co-producer of Maker Faire Atlanta since 2014.
STEM Extension Service
In 2016, I was invited to visit the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for a meeting of makerspace organizers. While there, I had a discussion with Andrew Coy, currently at the Digital Harbor Foundation, about the 4H program and the maker movement. When I got back to Georgia Tech, I wrote up some ideas about a STEM Extension Service.
The basic idea is to consider the following parallel. The establishment of land grant universities (and soon after agricultural experiment stations and cooperative extension services) in the late 1800’s was in response to a national need to stay competitive in the agricultural and industrial revolution. Today, there is arguably a national need to stay competitive in STEM fields, so perhaps we should consider establishing STEM Extension Services (which I believe could look a lot like makerspaces) across rural and urban areas to provide hands-on learning in design, art, science, and technology. You can see more details in the document linked above.
UPDATE 1: The idea of a STEM Extension Service is publicly mentioned in a recently released report from the Provost of Georgia Tech. This report was produced after two years of research and deliberation on the future of Higher Education, and is part of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE). The Extension Service idea appears on p.4 of the “Learning by Doing” supplement.
UPDATE 2: There seems to be some continued interest in developing this idea under the current working name of Tech Extension (or maybe something else). In particular, after the Nation of Makers Conference (aka NOMCON), a working group on the topic was formed. Stay tuned! And if you are interested in this topic, please feel free to contact me.