Dr. Ari W. Epstein

Lecturer, MIT Terrascope Program
& MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
A.B., History & Science, Harvard College
Ph.D., Oceanography, MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

E-mail:  awe <at> alum <dot> mit <dot> edu

Dr. Ari W. Epstein is a Lecturer in the Terrascope Program and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Terrascope, part of MIT’s Office of Experiential Learning, is a freshman learning community that focuses on team-oriented, project-based learning on complex problems having to do with Environmental and Earth-system issues. Epstein co-developed and co-teaches several of the Terrascope classes, including one in which small teams of freshmen engage directly in faculty-led research, and another in which science and engineering students communicate with general audiences by creating radio/audio programming. He also co-developed and co-teaches a new implementation of CEE’s project-based Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design.

Epstein’s scientific background is in oceanography, particularly interactions between physics and biology in the coastal ocean. He also has extensive experience in outreach and public education. He is currently Director of Terrascope Youth Radio, an NSF-funded project in which local urban teens create radio programming on environmental topics. In previous outreach/education settings, he has assembled and led exhibit-development teams at the New England Aquarium, developed video workshops for K-8 teachers at the Science Media Group of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and was Editor of Scientific American Explorations, a hands-on science magazine for families. He is particularly interested in developing ways to integrate free-choice learning (the kind of learning promoted by museums, community-based organizations, media and other outlets) into the academic curriculum, integrating formal and informal educational strategies.

Related websites:

Terrascope Youth Radio
URL: http://web.mit.edu/tyr

MIT’s Terrascope Program: A learning community that begins in the freshman year but lasts a lifetime!
URL: http://web.mit.edu/terrascope/

Selected publications:

A. Epstein, J. Easton, R. Murthy, E. Davidson, J deBruijn, T. Hayse, E. Hens, and M. Lloyd. (2010). Helping engineering and science students find their voice: Radio production as a way to enhance students’ communication skills and their competence at placing engineering and science in a broader societal context. American Society for Engineering Education.

A. Epstein, B. Mire, T. Ramsey, K. Gareis, E. Davidson, E. Jones, M. Slosberg, and R. Bras. (2010). Terrascope Youth Radio: Engaging urban teens in a unique university-community partnership. American Society for Engineering Education.

S.A. Bowring, R.L. Bras, and A.W. Epstein. (2009). Building a Freshman-Year Foundation for Sustainability Studies: Terrascope, A Case Study. Sustainability Science, Volume 4, Number 1, 37-43. View article

R.L. Bras, A.W. Epstein, K. Hodges, and A. Lipson. (2007). Students’ Perceptions of Terrascope, A Project-Based Freshman Learning Community. Journal of Science Education and Technology, Volume 16, Number 4, 349-364. View article

A.W. Epstein, A. Lipson, R. Bras, and K. Hodges. (2006). Terrascope: A project-based, team-oriented freshman learning community with an environmental/Earth system focus. American Society for Engineering Education.


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