My father is a geneticist at the National Institute of Health working on cancer research. But I remember being in the sixth grade and asking him for help with my science homework and he had so much expertise that he could not explain it in layman’s terms for me. And thus began my campaign for Science Communications.
Despite my excitement about IDS when I first found it, I was told that it was used as a copout by students who couldn’t declare a major yet and my skepticism of the value of the program grew substantially. The marketability and viability of the program seemed less… Stout. That said, reading my classmates’ paths this semester has proven to me that this is a valid avenue. It is the answer to an ever-more convoluted world with diverse and multidisciplinary problems and I am not the only one passionate about finding those unique resolutions.
Originally, it was just a way out of paying for a double major: human communications and biology. It was a cheaper solution. But since my first meeting with an IDS advisor during Orientation, it has become an approach. And it doesn’t just apply to my academics; it is a way of thinking that allows every problem to be tackled from a myriad of viewpoints. Interdisciplinarity is creating a unique and applicable solution to a problem that crosses the boundaries between disciplines.
My excitement seems infectious as my professors have allowed me to tailor most assignments to better fit my end goal as a non-traditional-degree student. Particularly in my English course, I feel my STEM background as brought a new dynamic into class discussions about defining and communicating with communities. My responses are very literal and to-the-point whereas my contemporaries tend to be more abstract in their thinking. Already I am able to pull from a diverse skill set and perhaps help my classmates look at established opinions from new viewpoints.
Explaining my unique degree is a point of pride. Previously I just had a wide variety of interests from all over the disciplinary map. Now I have the tools to draw on those interests and make them coalesce into a jack-of-all-trades degree. Interdisciplinarity needs the terminology and methodology, but not the depth of a biology degree. It has the practical skills and processes of speech without spending countless credits on classes that don’t apply to my goal. My degree will allow me to be that bridge, to achieve the purpose I laid out in my New Student Experience class at Valencia: to educate myself and those around me. Science Communications is the bridge between the researchers and everyone else.