As humans, we love to categorize ourselves and the people around us — not because we are fond of using labels, but rather for simplicity and organizational purposes. As members of a complex society, it is much easier to be able to identify a person with one or two words, yet this is one of the most profound drawbacks in the world we live in today.
From a young age, we are trained to limit ourselves to one area of study, to one profession or one style of life. If you are a science person, you are expected to take science courses, do research, and mingle with other science majors that may have similar projected career paths as you do. On the contrary, if you are in the liberal arts, you are expected to be invested in expressing yourself through a creative medium, to go to art galleries and know what you're talking about and to have a group of friends that possess a deep distaste for STEM majors. These two worlds — science and art — are polarized to the point that in mainstream culture, they do not overlap. You cannot do both and are often discouraged from the idea of combining the two because it's too difficult.
The reality of the matter is that jobs within the science, technology, engineering art and mathematics (STEAM) field are rare or do not already exist. If you want to do both, you have to carve your own path and create your own profession.
Most of the general population lives within this mindset, but in actuality, the overlap between the sciences and the arts is significant and a field that we should be paying attention to. STEAM is all about integrating the best qualities of science and art together to develop new innovations that can solve challenges that we face today. It brings together two worlds that complement each other and allows individuals working in those fields to become more well rounded and creative.
STEAM has already sparked waves of positive change within the world, particularly in New York, where medical illustrators are working for science magazines and artists are using their creations to spread awareness about important topics like the human microbiome and how to protect it.
As a person who loves both science and art, STEAM provides me with the freedom to follow my passions and do what I love, rather than conforming to one mold. STEAM is revolutionary and I am excited to see how its implementation will make our world more collaborative, interdisciplinary and progressive.