Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Conference Name

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


This project is an innovative initiative involving the College of Engineering at Rowan University and the Center for Aquatic Sciences (CAS) at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey to enhance STEM education at all levels. Three other educational institutions will have a direct impact from our proposed activities. These include the Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC), Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) and the STEM Academy at Glassboro High School. The project uses algae to introduce engineering students to the Global Grand Challenges of the 21st Century with a strong focus on combining critical reflection through activities that invest in the humanities especially literary readings, sociology, environmental justice and public policy. While everyone recognizes algae as a photosynthetic organism that is ubiquitous, it is rare that that students make a connection to the prospect of this microbe playing a significant role in impacting the future of this world. The use of algae can range from biofuels, carbon sequestration, nutrient removal to use in the nutraceutical industry. The algae production facility is the backbone of CAS activities at the Adventure Aquarium as it is food for various zooplankton, filter feeders or larval fishes. Students are engaged in the scientific discovery process using both exciting hands-on activities and cyberlearning experiences that introduce chemical, mechanical, electrical engineering, civil and environmental principles such as mass and energy balances; fluid flow; work, energy, and efficiency; water quality and treatment; unit physical, chemical and biological processes; microbiology; power and electrical signal processing. The algae theme also adds to the need for an understanding of biological systems, ecosystems, pollution, alternate energy and sustainable development. A strong unique focus of this project is in combining critical reflection through activities that invest in the humanities.


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