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Infusing STEM With Art and Humanities: Engineering Portfolios

By Victoria King

Society perceives STEM, the arts, and humanities as different puzzle pieces. However, people fail to realize that these components are different pieces to the same puzzle. A puzzle with a more vivid, well-rounded image than ever before! With this enlightenment, the STEAM movement strives to incorporate the arts and humanities into STEM. Thus, a proven method to infuse this new companionship is technical communication, an area taking a “design approach to foundational and emergent technical communication skills such as document design...and report writing.” Technical communication broadens the scope of STEM by allowing the inclusion of philosophy, media and visual arts, and writing into the scientific field.

Now, how can one incorporate technical communication into STEM “to prepare students for the complex communication tasks they would experience in research and industry?” It’s as simple as documenting your scientific journey through advanced writing and graphic design. A way to do this is through an engineering portfolio, a website or pdf that “effortlessly highlights your skills, achievements and intellect.” Engineering portfolios demand a proficiency of language where the artist is able to translate their complex products into understandable content for a general audience. This is where humanities come into play with communicating the philosophical thought and journey behind the project. Also, it must be vividly striking to appeal to companies, researchers, and other readers to invoke action: whether the action is providing the engineer a job or a consumer buying the highlighted product. This is where the arts come in to play; graphic design gets the portfolio read by demonstrating the creator as a creative, professional individual. Thus, the task of documenting aids in combining the arts, humanities, and STEM.

So, the next time you are designing a product, challenge yourself to also design a portfolio that highlights your creation. These portfolios are useful in getting new products out there in the world, as they bridge the gap between the technical and non-technical community. You’re not only becoming more marketable as a well-rounded individual who excels in not only STEM, but also the arts and humanities; you’re also learning to market yourself “not only to the general public, but to recruiters, hiring managers, and other engineers.” Portfolios are a marketing strategy beyond a resume. According to a 2017 Online Hiring Service by Hover, “71% of employers Agree or Strongly Agree that a portfolio’s quality will influence their decision on whether to hire a candidate.” Portfolios go beyond telling a list of projects to actually showing the list of projects in great depth. Portfolios secure jobs, internships, investments, and life-long business relationships. Thus, the arts and humanities should combine with STEM if you want an industry advantage over other competitors.

Works Cited Balzotti, Jon. Technical Communication A Design-Centric Approach. Provo. Routledge, 2021. Print.

Hover, Hover. “Study: Will Quality of Portfolio Site Influence Hiring Decisions?” Hover Blog,

16 Feb. 2017, Tech, Michigan. “Incorporating Technical Communication Instruction into STEM Courses:

ME-Em: Michigan Tech.” Michigan Technological University, 2022. Print.

ThebitX. “Creating a Portfolio to Showcase Your Engineering Abilities.” TheBitX, 9 Sept.

showcase-your-engineering-abilities/. University, Dartmouth. “Create a Design Portfolio: Career Services: Thayer.” Create a

Design Portfolio | Career Services | Thayer, 2022,


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