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Design Day Team Transforming Corner of Homewood Campus Into Immersive Living Classroom


Every spring, the Whiting School of Engineering hosts Design Day, an annual showcase of our students’ creativity, optimism, innovation, and ability to translate their theoretical knowledge into solutions to real-world problems. 

One EHE team is transforming an area of campus into a living classroom and oasis for nature lovers. 

The area behind Olin Hall on the Homewood campus serves as a stormwater retention basin. It is overgrown with invasive species and inaccessible to foot traffic. The Olin Outdoor Observatory team aims to transform this area into an immersive experience where students can engage with the environment.  

Not only will the observatory contain a traditional classroom for instruction, but it will also serve as an interdisciplinary research hub. The spot will include sensors to measure water quality, air quality, soil moisture, water flow, and other metrics. These measurements will be uploaded to a web portal that is available to Hopkins faculty and students. 

The main goal of the outdoor observatory is to create a space that is both accessible and instructional for students. Their hope is to facilitate a new kind of learning experience and cultivate a greater appreciation for the environment in the Hopkins community. 

“We have learned so much about what goes into taking an idea and formulating it into a complete design solution,” says team leader Kiley Jones. “ Working as a team and applying our individual skills to create a finished product gave us an idea of the experiences our future careers may bring.” 

Team members are Jones, Krittika Negandhi, Sebastian Fernandez, Cheryl Liang, and adviser Ciaran Harman