Jesse J. Kwiek, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology - College of Arts and Sciences
Thomas (Dodie) McDow, Ph.D, Assistant Professor
Department of History - College of Arts and Sciences
Joel Diaz, Chief Marketing & Community Affairs Officer, EquitasHealth
Audrey Regan, Sexual Health Promotion, Director, Columbus Public Health
In 2015, we created a new multidisciplinary course (M3704) that traces the evolution of HIV at both the molecular level and within in its global historical context. The goal of M3704, at the broadest level, is to put the sciences and humanities in conversation as they consider the medical, scientific, social, political, and economic causes and consequences of one of the world's most successful viruses. As a culminating project for the Microbiology 3704 class, students worked in groups to create a Pecha Kucha presentation (20 slides that advance automatically every 20 seconds) that explored a transformative, controversial, or an under-appreciated aspect of the HIV epidemic and elucidated the moment. Leveraging funding from the STEAM factory and The Department of Microbiology, last April we hosted a Pecha Kucha night at the STEAM factory that showcased the best presentations from the course. The event was co-hosted by the STEAM Factory, AIDS Resource Center of Ohio (now Equitas Health), with the explicit desire to share research findings with the broader community; foster conversation between students, academics and stakeholders; and demonstrate the value of combining scientific and arts/humanities approaches to complex issues. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from colleagueson the event, and although we did not collect written feedback (we will this year), we heard from many students that they really enjoyed the event and the interactions with the OSU faculty and community representatives. Many of the students (and even someof the faculty) had never been to the STEAM Factory before, and left with a great appreciation of the space and the reach of the university.
Because of an opportunity created duringthe STEAM FACTORY event last year, this year we will host JeanneWhite-Ginder on campus. Jeanne White-Ginder is the mother of Ryan White, the young hemophiliac who contracted HIV/AIDS from a blood transfusion and died in 1990 at age 18. During his life he was both the victim of rampant discrimination and the face of people living with AIDS. He remains an important historical figure in the history of HIV/AIDS, and the federal program that supports anti-retroviral therapy and prevention efforts is named after him. His mother led the anti-discrimination fight in his life time (winning him the right to return to public school after his diagnosis and a long fight), and she has continued to be an outspoken advocate for people with AIDS and, more recently, against bullying.