Is America’s obsession with STEM fields good
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math — these are the subjects that compose the STEM fields. As much as pursuing higher education is encouraged today, majoring in the STEM fields is pushed even more, to no surprise. After all, it only seems appropriate in this age characterized by technology — but is this emphasis on STEM subjects eradicating traditional liberal arts values and education?
For example, Pacific is well known for its accelerated pre-pharmacy and pre-dentistry tracks, but hardly anyone knows of its three-year accelerated Humanities Scholars Program, designed for those majoring in the humanities.
When asked if America is obsessed with the STEM fields and whether or not that is a good thing, Pacific students from a variety of majors held similar sentiments. Vinh Truong ‘20 is studying biochemistry; he hopes to graduate in three years to accelerate his path toward becoming a doctor. Truong said, “The obsession over STEM majors has caused an idea that life is either a science career or a life of being poor. I feel like this has a negative impact because people feel forced into science, although they may have strengths in other subjects.”
On the other hand, Victoria Rodriguez ’20 is majoring in film studies and minoring in business. Though a humanities major, Victoria recognizes that the STEM fields are a new fascination and one of the fastest growing fields in the job market. She “encourages growth in this field,” but continued by saying, “At the same time, it’s important not to forget the importance of other fields.” That being said, liberal arts should not be defenestrated from universities to make more room for STEM-geared classes. Put quite succinctly, Victoria believes “this obsession can be beneficial as long as it doesn’t dissolve everything else in its wake.”
According to Pacific students, there is a lot of talk about shifting America’s education toward more specific, technical skills, but completely concentrating on STEM subjects would be a narrow path. Students tend to value STEM education, but they also know the value of a liberal arts education at the same time, which creates a harmonious balance.
The need for the maintenance of liberal arts education in the face of a progressive, technological era is best expressed by the late Steve Jobs: “Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”
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