Editorial: Can the STEM v. humanities debate come to an end?

The Editorial Board

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, more commonly known as STEM, and the liberal arts go way back. Long ago, the two areas of study lived together in harmony, but everything changed when debate ignited over which one was best. We members of the Eagle Angle Editorial Board, however, do not believe either subject to be superior to the other. Instead, we encourage students to educate themselves in both fields, even if they only plan on pursuing a career in one.

Whether a student aspires to be the next Einstein or the new Picasso, both STEM and liberal arts courses can benefit them over the course of their educational career. In fact, science and the arts share a yin-yang connection — to fully master one field, appreciating the other is necessary.

English classes may not seem beneficial to students seeking STEM careers, but joining the STEM industry requires a basic understanding of the liberal arts and humanities. Analyzing literature and developing an advanced vocabulary can build vital skills for students whose dream jobs require them to write a scientific paper or describe a detailed experiment. Furthermore, many literary works analyzed in these courses can be applied to the sciences and teach valuable lessons about ethics and morality. Mary Shelley’s gothic horror, “Frankenstein,” often a staple of high school English classrooms, is one such example, demonstrating the dangers of scientific exploration and the importance of taking responsibility for one’s work.

Mathematics may seem irrelevant to students in pursuit of a career in the arts, but basic mathematical concepts such as geometry are necessary when drawing or designing. Mondrian is infamous for using geometric shapes. The use of mathematical concepts in humanities goes beyond the sphere of visual arts, math is also useful in the realm of social sciences. In psychology, statistics are essential when conducting services and analyzing data.

One must have a comprehensive understanding of multiple different subjects in order to be truly successful in the field they wish to pursue. While English classes may not be appealing to a STEM student, it is important to their education, as learning how to communicate effectively is imperative in any field. While an art student may not see the value in a math equation, that equation may be the key to improving their piece. No matter what a student plans to pursue, gaining a basic understanding in all areas of knowledge is essential to creating well-rounded, globally minded individuals.