Studying The Arts As A STEM Major

My University Encourages Exploration Of The Arts, Even When You're A STEM Major

Going on this trip not only re-awakened old interests of mine but also created a new-found appreciation and love for other topics like stem cell research and E. coli painting.

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At the beginning of the month, I took a trip to New York City with 23 other girls from my dorm. The whole trip was focused on exploring the connections between the arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). This trip was centered around integrating the arts into STEM and how the interactions between all the fields can benefit society and inform on each other, thus turning STEM into STEAM.

Some of the days we spent at Rutgers while the other six days we went to different places around New York that related to different elements of STEAM.

Day 1: Judith Modrak and National Geographic

For our first excursion, we visited Judith Modrak, an NYC-based artist who draws inspiration from psychology and neuroscience. She showed us a sneak peek of some sculptures that were going to be in her next show. After a short lunch break, we went to National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey which immersed us in a realistic ocean environment. It was a good example of how technology and art came together to spread the word about the dire situation our oceans are in and encourage interest in ocean conservation.

Day 2: MoMath and Paula Croxson

Let's face it, math is not a very popular topic, but I have to be honest, the Museum of Math, whose nickname is MoMath, was the most entertaining museum I've ever been to. They had interactive activities that got children (and college students) to care about math and the different concepts. There was a bike that you could go on, logical games, and they had a tessellation wall that you could mess around with. After embracing our inner child, we sat down with Paula Croxson, a neuroscientist, science communicator, and senior manager for Education Programs at Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute. She gave us some tips about public speaking and we all had to give two-minute TED talks.

Day 3: Genspace and Public Art Scavenger Hunt

The only time we ventured down to Brooklyn was for Genspace, a community lab where the public has access to lab equipment that allows them to conduct experiments. There, we got to paint with safe e-coli which was much harder than it sounds given that our "paint" was clear and there really wasn't any way for us to tell where we already painted and where we didn't. If you look up some of the stuff that people have done online it's really incredible and a great example of the interaction between art and science. After Genspace, we were let loose in the city on a public art scavenger hunt. All we had to do was roam around and take a selfie with at least three works of public art. We found some of ours in a subway station, Columbus Circle and at the zoo.

Day 4: New York Hall of Science and the Cooper Hewitt

The New York Hall of Science was really cool because we got to see the "Infinite Potentials" exhibit which featured images of the possibilities of stem cell research. The exhibit was also curated by our incredible teacher, Julia Buntaine, and Marnie Benney. If you just walked into the exhibit and looked at the images but didn't read any of the plaques, you would still be able to appreciate the beauty of the images. My favorite one was by Dana Simmons which showed a cerebellar Purkinje neuron, a neuron that assists in controlling motor functions and balance. As for the Cooper Hewitt, we were unable to go due to the government shut down, so we just had a free afternoon in which I caught up on some rest at the hotel.

Day 5: BioBus and the MET

This was, by far, one of the most interesting days in NYC. We traveled uptown to visit the BioBus, a portable and easily accessible classroom that aims to encourage scientific exploration in younger kids. While we didn't actually get to go on the bus, we did visit a stationary classroom where we dissected cows eyes (I'll spare you the details and the photos). After that, we headed back downtown to visit the MET Costume Institute. I've been to the MET more times than I can count, but this time, we got a behind the scenes look into how they preserve fashion garments. I personally love fashion (even if I don't dress like it). I grew up watching project runway and dreaming of being a fashion designer, so visiting the costume institute had a special place in my heart.

Day 6: Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History

I've been to the Guggenheim before, but most of the time I don't like a lot of the exhibits that they put on, except for the Hilma af Klint. I'm not really sure what it was about that specific exhibit that I really loved but it was definitely more intriguing than what I've seen in the past. After the Guggenheim, we traversed Central Park to get to the American Museum of Natural History to watch Dark Universe. Once we sat down, I realized that I saw the show before and proceeded to zone out (or fall asleep), but I also realized that it was a good example of how technology and art can interact to educate people about the universe.

Not only was this trip an eye-opening experience that re-awakened old interests of mine and created a new-found appreciation and love for other topics, but it also allowed me to become closer with some of the girls in my dorm and form a smaller community within many of the other communities I'm involved in.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
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Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

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