Rensselaer is pleased to announce its next CS4HS workshop. Titled Seeing Algorithms, this STEAM workshop is for art teachers at local high schools that serve underrepresented students. It teaches fundamental computational thinking concepts through cultural art. It trains art teachers and then their respective art students, particularly those that are underrepresented in STEAM, to see algorithms from a cultural perspective by having them simulate visual art using the visual, drag-and-drop, programming language of the award-winning Culturally-Situated Design Tools (CSDT) at CSDTs facilitate the simulation of a wide variety of cultural arts on the computer screen, from cornrow hairstyles and breakdance to kente cloth and drum patterns using concepts shared between computer science, mathematics, and art.


Workshop Director Audrey Bennett is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University’s School of Art and a B.A. in studio art from Dartmouth College. She penned the 2012 monograph titled “Engendering Interaction with Images” published by Intellect, UK and distributed in the US by Chicago University Press. Prof. Bennett is also the editor of “Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design” published by Princeton Architectural Press and co-Editor of ICOGRADA’s Design Education Manifesto 2011. She has won numerous awards for her graphic art including a College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship. Prof. Bennett is on the Peer-Review Panel for Iridescent, the Icograda Journal of Design Research. She is the founder of GLIDE, a biennial virtual conference; and director of, a virtual design studio for user-centered research on global images. Prof. Bennett’s research is funded by Google, The Coalition to Diversify Computing; The Society for Technical Communication; National Science Foundation; and AIGA, the professional association for design. Prof. Bennett studies cross-cultural and transdisciplinary communication with images that aim to effect social change.


Workshop Leader and Founder Ron Eglash is a Professor in the Department of Science and Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – and Audrey Bennett’s biggest fan. He received his B.S. in Cybernetics, his M.S. in Systems Engineering, and his PhD in History of Consciousness, all from the University of California. A Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship enabled his field research on African ethnomathematics, which was published by Rutgers University Press as African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design, and recently appeared as his TED talk. He is currently a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he teaches design of educational technologies and graduate seminars in social studies of science and technology. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science. His “Culturally Situated Design Tools” software, offering math and computing education from indigenous and vernacular arts, is available for free at


Workshop Leader Mukkai Krishnamoorthy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he teaches and conducts research in theory and applications. He has published in refereed journals, conference proceedings, nationally and internationally. His current research on Networks and Software Technology explores interactive technologies that facilitate participation from remote participants. For instance, these software technologies may facilitate targeting the audience where ideas are worth pursuing. Further, analysis of this interactive usage may be carried out for deploying best strategies for faster and effective communication.


Workshop Leader Brian Callahan is a first year PhD student at RPI in the department of Science and Technology Studies. As an active Free and Open Source Software developer, he has been able to combine his passion for technology with his formal anthropological training to study human organization around software projects. When not working, Brian is an experienced bassoonist, playing with local orchestras and chamber ensembles.



Workshop Leader Bill Babbitt is a Science & Technology Studies Program Coordinator at RPI. His research interests focus on inquiry learning in the STEM disciplines and how computer science, especially computer games can increase interest in and retention of basic concepts in STEM-related courses. He’s an Edyth Mae Sliffe award winner, 2008 Middle School, of the Mathematical Association of America. He has a B.S.B.A. in Finance from Xavier University (1988) in Cincinnati, Ohio and a B.S. with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science from Empire State College (2010) in Saratoga, New York. He is a co-advisor for Albany Area Math Circle and our weekly math circle meetings are a highlight of my week during the school year. He coaches a home school MATHCOUNTS team with the assistance of some amazing High School students here in the Capital District. He is an assistant coach for the Upstate New York ARML team. He has science-related hobbies such as organic gardening, reading science magazines, and browsing on He is very interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in underserved populations.


Workshop Leader Dylan Rees is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering.  He holds a B.A. in Physics from Oberlin College (2011) with a minor in Mathematics.  His current work combines physics, electrical engineering and microbiology to better understand the electronic properties of certain species of bacteria and hopefully create new bioelectronic devices with potential applications in water treatment, environmental sensing, and/or renewable energy.  He is also interested in applying critical theory from fields such as Science and Technology Studies to the active practice of science and technology.  Outside of his academic work he is an avid runner, biker, gardener and homebrewer.


Workshop Leader Rajas Nagpurkar is a Rensselaer Undergraduate Researcher  working on integrating game design, arts, and computational thinking with STEAM education (beyond superficial, extrinsic-value based forms of ‘gamification’) – and Audrey Bennett’s 2nd biggest fan. His extensive knowledge base & diverse interests (video games, design, computer science, music, animation, writing, and cinema) enable him to mix concepts from different fields to make more engaging subject matter. He also writes about himself in the 3rd person. View: Portfolio  |  Playlist

Workshop Schedule

7:45-8:00 AM Registration (Sage 2411)

7:45-8:15 AM Breakfast (Sage 2510)

8:15 AM Introduction to CS4HS workshop Seeing Algorithms, Professor Audrey Bennett, M.F.A. (Sage 2411)

  • Introduction to the workshop and workshop leaders
  • Google’s Pre-Learning Survey (
  • Google’s License, Release, and Waiver Form
  • IRB Consent Form
  • Pre-Survey

8:30 AM Introduction to CSDTs and Visual Programming, Professor Ron Eglash, Ph.D. (Sage 2411)

  • Culturally-Situated Design Tools
  • Understanding Quilting, Adinkra, and Cornrow Cultures:
    • Self-organize into groups of 3 with each group focused on learning about one of the following cultural art traditions: Gee’s Bend Quilting  |  Appalachian Quilting  |  Lakota Quilting  |  Cornrows  |  .Adinkra
    • Deliver a 1-minute presentation about your group’s cultural art tradition. Each group gets a turn to present a cultural art tradition to the other groups.

9:00 AM Introduction to Computational Thinking Concepts Mapped to Cultural Art by Audrey Bennett, Ron Eglash, and William Babbitt (Sage 2411)

9:15 AM CSDT Tutorials (Sage 2411)

10:15 AM Break


  • Quilting (Sage 2411)
  • Cornrow Curves (Sage 2411)
  • Adinkra Stamping (TBD)

11:45 AM Lunch (Sage 2510)

12:30 PM Lesson Plan Development (Sage 2411)

1:45 PM  Post-Survey+ (Sage 2411)

  • Bennett’s Post-Survey
  • W-9
  • W-8BEN form

2:00 PM Workshop Ends