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Interplanetary Initiative adds minor in technological leadership

Program prepares students with practical skills in research, design, leadership

Arizona State University's Interplanetary Initiative has launched a new minor in technological leadership — a program that complements and enhances a student's existing major with key skills in interdisciplinary research, technology design and collaborative leadership.

The minor aims to get more students involved in the hands-on, student-driven learning that is central to the Interplanetary Initiative’s technological leadership major and other educational programs. It is available to both ASU Online and immersion students, and will be available soon as an interdisciplinary studies concentration.

Students enrolled will take courses in three core areas: inquiry, making and leadership. In inquiry courses, students use space exploration as a lens to learn how to recognize and describe unsolved problems in the fields of science and technology; in making courses, students gain hands-on experience implementing creative problem-solving techniques to design and build solutions; and in leadership courses, students practice key skills in team collaboration and strategic thinking.  

The minor is designed to enhance a student’s current major with courses that allow them to bring their own skills and interests to real research and projects. Many of the required courses in the minor are project-based and student-driven, allowing students to leverage these classes to build out a portfolio of real projects they’ve shaped, contributed to and led.

Past courses have researched new sustainability practices for space, developed apps for local businesses and created a portal for teachers to find STEM lessons to incorporate in their classrooms.

One of the first ASU students to pursue the minor is Jaime Johnson, who is working toward concurrent degrees in biological sciences and earth and space exploration. She is also a member of Barrett, The Honors college and has another minor in Japanese. Johnson says she appreciates that the technological leadership minor is both practical and open-ended. 

“Being part of the Interplanetary Initiative helps me to explore my different interests. Having the opportunity to get hands-on skills, further thinking skills on challenging topics and being able to explore in a way I’m not able to in other classes helps me really decide what path I want to go on,” she said.

To learn more and add the minor, visit the ASU degree search page or reach out to an adviser. Interdisciplinary Studies students interested in adding the technological leadership concentration should meet with their academic adviser.