Asee peer logo

How Dialogue on 'Ingenuity in Nature' Increases Enthusiasm for Engineering and Science in Traditional Religious Communities

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Models and Practices of Community Engagement for Engineering Faculty

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.851.1 - 26.851.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Dominic M. Halsmer P.E. Oral Roberts University

visit author page

Dr. Dominic M. Halsmer is a Professor of Engineering and former Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Oral Roberts University. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at ORU. He has been teaching science and engineering courses there for 23 years, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Oklahoma. He received BS and MS Degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1985 and 1986, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 1992. He received an MA Degree in Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University in 2013. His current research interests involve the integration of faith and learning, contributions from the field of engineering to the current science/theology discussion, reverse engineering of complex natural systems, and the preparation of scientists and engineers for missions work within technical communities.

visit author page


Peter Wesley Odom Oral Roberts University

visit author page

Wesley is a student of mathematical physics at Oral Roberts University. Upon graduation he intends to pursue a doctorate in engineering education or applied quantum physics. He hopes to eventually spend most of his work life teaching and doing research.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How Dialogue on ‘Ingenuity in Nature’ Increases Enthusiasm For Engineering and Science in Traditional Religious CommunitiesThe perceived conflict between science and traditional religious beliefs appears to be one reasonwhy some young people decide against pursuing careers in engineering and other STEM fields.A three year grant from the BioLogos Foundation, to help traditional religious communitiesappreciate the ingenuity displayed by our evolving universe, is assisting in alleviating thisunfortunate trend. Engineering students and faculty members work together to develop, anddeliver, seminars in local schools and churches that demonstrate compatibility between scienceand religion, with emphasis on the role that engineering can play in this ongoing dialogue.Religions and religious denominations often take a simplistic view of origins based largely on aparticular interpretation of creation accounts offered by the special revelation of sacredscriptures. The project team is currently working to complement this view with up-to-dateinformation from science and engineering. The application of concepts from the field ofengineering has proven useful in helping religious groups engage in this kind of interaction withscience. In the process, appreciation for ingenuity in nature and enthusiasm for engineeringappear to be increasing in participating religious communities.Among several other outcomes, preliminary survey data indicate that a strong majority ofparticipants agree that their participation in the aforementioned seminars not only “helps meappreciate the ingenuity that underlies our universe,” but also “increases my enthusiasm forscience or engineering.” Engineering students who serve on the project team have alsoacknowledged significant benefits as a result of participating in this project. Data from a separatesurvey indicate enhancements in their communication skills, their ability to lead in the midst ofcontentious issues, and their understanding of personal mission and purpose. They alsoexperienced an increased enthusiasm for engineering and science.

Halsmer, D. M., & Odom, P. W. (2015, June), How Dialogue on 'Ingenuity in Nature' Increases Enthusiasm for Engineering and Science in Traditional Religious Communities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24188

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015