Idaho Science Students Learn Thermodynamics And Storytelling

Dec 8, 2017

A science class at Boise State University is hosting its own storytelling podcast. Part of the goal is to show that science nerds are people too.

This semester, Eric Jankowski’s class in thermodynamics learned about a lot more than just science. He partnered up his students with the national podcast known as Story Collider.

“The Story Collider focuses on true, personal stories about a time that science happened,” Jankowski says.

Along with the science, part of Jankowski’s job at the Micron School of Material Science and Engineering is teaching his students how to communicate effectively. Rather than assigning a paper or presentation, he asked his students to tell personal stories related in some way to thermodynamics.

“It’s kind of unusual to have a storytelling component in a class like this, but we’re finding that it’s enriching the experience significantly,” says Jankowski.

Jankowski says the storytelling not only shows others the human side of engineering, but can help the student storytellers better identify with their chosen major. That, he says, can lead to better performance in class and higher graduation rates.

Story Collider hosts more than 40 live shows a year, taping the stories of scientists, engineers, researchers and others. They plan to tape five of Jankowski’s students telling their own stories Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union Building at Boise State.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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