Nadya Peek's Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.

Designing a Radical Module for Engineering Education

Spring 2018

Co-directed by Nadya Peek and Daniela Rosner

This project uses a collaborative design workshop to introduce students to absent histories of engineering. We will develop a toolkit for middle and high school classrooms that introduces the story of early 1960s core memory weavers.

The Making Core Memory project is a design inquiry into the invisible work that went into assembling core memory, an early form of computer information storage initially woven by hand. Throughout the first two decades of the Cold War, magnetic-core memory was the principal mechanism with which computers stored and retrieved information. The computers for the Apollo mission stored information in core memory ropes—threaded wires, passed through or around magnetized metal rings. NASA engineers nicknamed this hardware “LOL memory” for the “little old ladies” who carefully wove wires around the electro-magnetic ferrite cores by hand. 

The kits we will develop comprise a simple metal matrix, beads and conductive threads (in place of ferrite core and wire) and simulate the collaborative weaving of one of the world's first portable computers. By introducing students to the kits and the story of the core memory weavers, a group we believe comprised many women of color, we help rewrite engineering histories to highlight key computational know-how contributed by groups underrepresented within engineering fields today. 

Required Availability

  • Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).

  • Meet for 2 hours each week.

  • Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

Required Experience

Participants in this DRG must have at least one of the following skills and experiences:

  1. Outreach coordination

    • Experience interviewing and using qualitative research methods such as fieldwork observation

  2. Visual and interaction design

    • Experience with design and branding, Adobe Illustrator or the like, web development

  3. Maker mindset

    • Familiar with the UW CoMmotion makerspace and digital prototyping tools 

How to Apply

Space is limited. Please email organizer Daniela Rosner ( and Samantha Shorey ( with the following information indicating eligibility. We will request an interview with qualified applicants. In your introductory email, please include the following:

  • Confirmation that you meet the availability requirements.

  • A few paragraphs describing your experience relevant to the required experiences outlined above.

  • Brief sample: a 2-paragraph writing sample (outreach), a link to a website or image of a style guide (interaction design), or a few images of a prototype (maker mindset)