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Edward LaBar

Ottino and Morrison make a salient point when they say “At the heart of human-centered design is empathy”. They contend that this ability to get inside the experiences of other persons is what drives creativity and innovation. This is a solid argument, but one that doesn’t go far enough in explaining itself. It seems to not have much substance beyond stating the thesis. To rephrase this idea more forcefully, I would contend that it is impossible to even engage in human-centric design without some sense of empathy. Imagine a robot that has never felt pain, trying to innovate in the field of pain management for cancer patients; such a thing just would not work. It might be able to prescribe already-existing solutions from a medical database, but it could not create.

The two writers seem to be in a good position of authority to speak from, as they both stand as examples of the idea they champion. Both have successfully made the transition between fields that conventional thinking on this topic would call incompatible; one an art school kid turned engineering dean, and the other a physics student who wound up an expert in Russian literature. Authority, however, is a questionable topic to even consider here, because it has no bearing on whether an argument is valid.

As a humanities-inclined person, I try my hardest to make sure that I understand the core concepts behind STEM topics, so I can at least hold a conversation. I think this makes me a little better-rounded than if I didn’t try at all to understand things I don’t take quickly to. I might not be able to model the dynamics of a quantum system, but I know enough to tell you that it won’t follow Newtonian physics.

It is obvious from the text that Sanford Ungar would react favorably to Ottino and Morrison’s work. In fact, he seems to argue their point better than they do. In part of his essay, under the bolded heading “Misperception No. 2”, he addresses the alleged supremacy of STEM education by providing survey results which show that “more than three-quarters of our nation’s employees recommend that collegebound students persue a liberal education”. However, I think Ungar would be quick to point out that liberal arts education is rewarding in itself, not just as a way to improve engineering students’ ability to solve problems.

Taylor Mills

Ottino and Morson acknowledge that engineering and the humanities are two different fields with different kinds of thinking. Ottino and Morson state that using both the left and right side of the brain make learning about different areas much easier to achieve. In order to become a great engineer, a person must think creatively which is where the arts come into play. They also state that when a student studies both of these fields, the possibilities are limitless which explains the importance of how these two areas combined will help us succeed in the future.

I find myself to be more problem solving because I enjoy being able to work out similar problems in math. I like to be technical. I also play the flute which allows me to experience what it's like to play a piece of music ad judge myself on how I sound. I find myself struggling to accept myself as a good musician because I never feel good enough about what I do. I am more confident when I know I got a math problem right because I either get an answer right or wrong. In music, what is right or wrong can vary tremendously.

When I wash the dishes I try to step back and really focus on what I am doing. I start the water and add some soap to the rag and sponge. Then I continue by washing the plates and bowls, next the cups, then finally the silverware. As I wash the plates I go over them with the sponge to scrub off any extra food. Then I sometimes wash them by using the rag. I clean the bowls and cups by making sure I completely clean both the insides and outsides. Then I clean the silverware by going over the top half then the bottom half to make sure each utensil is completely clean. When I focus on the details I make sure that every spot is clean.

Austin Kerns

Ottino and Morson have good points on Engineering and Humanities bridging together. They say “At the heart of human-centered design is empathy” this is explaining people ability for creation and innovation. This is a good argument but it doesn't explain everything fully. It is missing pieces that would be essential to making this article effective. Although it is very persuasive. They state that if a student studies Engineering and Humanities It is limitless to what they can do.

I think of myself self as a problem solver in my own right. I think about everything before i do it and every possible outcome. I am very technical and strategic about things. I myself build computers it is what i like to do. I criticize myself about it most of the time. Doing one wrong thing or move can destroy it all.

Cutting the grass is something i do often the route every time. I first fill up the tank. Then i stat it up and so the front yard . then i move to the back and start on the left and move to the right. After that i do the ditch and then weed-eat. When i begin weed-eating I begin by the shed and work around the back then t the front. i focus and makes sure i do not miss a spot.


I think this is a very interesting article that not many people think about. I agree with Austin about how this article is somewhat vague and missing some information. I think that they could have gone into deeper explanation of some example majors or jobs that people could pursue. I agree that it is a good idea to combine the two subjects. I am more of an analytical thinker myself (an engineering major actually) and I think it is reasonable to be required to take humanity based classes (even if I do not like them ha). I agree with the article in that they are completely different subjects and ways of thinking as well. It would be interesting to see a university would offer one major with both of these aspects combined.


Ottino and Morrison's article address a very important point about morality in a tech-savy and intelligent world. Taylor Mills does a fantastic job summarizing the article in it's entirety while also looking at it analytically.They are able to look at the situation from an omniscient perspective while also relating it to themselves, something that is difficult at times to do but important when analyzing situational impact on oneself. I believe they address an extremely valid point, where they feel they are not good enough at what they do because there is so much we are required to do and learn it's impossible to master everything.

Chris Roney

I am inclined to lean more toward problem solving rather than interpretation, this is because I tend to want to find a problem and fix it. Rather, interpretation leaves your mind to wander and think or feel the possibilities of what could be or why the problem exists. Though I can see how intertwining the both can lead to the innovation of new possibilities. If an engineer could be both analytical and objective toward interpretation, well, that could lead to a brighter future of developing solutions to fix the many troubles that humanity faces today. Being one sided in your approach to finding a solution to a problem could leave many other options (sometimes better) left undiscovered or unattempted because of the lack of wanting to interpret why or how the problem exists.

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