STEM vs. Liberal Arts
“Liberal Arts graduates may find themselves asking: What is the value of their Liberal Arts education?” Mark I. McNutt said in his article, There Is Value in Liberal Arts Education, Employers Say. That is the best thing about majoring in any STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] field, you don’t have to question whether or not it was worth all the time, money, and effort. STEM graduates never question the value of their degree because of the history of STEM. Everyone has seen and heard all of the statistics about how successful STEM graduates are doing; also, they get to experience it themselves and tell their own success story afterwards. A STEM major is more valuable than a liberal arts major because you will always have a career opportunities, it is always improving, and it is supported by everyone [majority].
First of all, valuable means that the subject/topic is worth a great deal of money, or it is extremely useful and important. In his article, The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Global Marketplace, Edward Ray once stated, “The STEM disciplines are eminently worthy areas of study.” STEM is a very powerful and successful major; also, it is known for parents pushing their children in that direction, whether they [the children] like it or not. In regards to value, the amount of money one would make in a STEM field makes the major more valuable. In addition, technology is used and improved everyday by everyone in the world. At this moment, we are both using a product of STEM; I am using a computer to type this blog and you are possibly using a computer, tablet, or a smartphone [some type of technology created by a STEM graduate] to read it.
To emphasize on the information above, the importance and demand for jobs for STEM comes along with the support. There are thousands of great-paying jobs that utilizes a STEM degree. For example, if you had a degree in Biological and Physical Sciences, you could get a job at a huge company, work for government, teach in schools [college, elementary, etc.] or branch out with your own research company. STEM is forever improving; look at all the cars, planes, technology, and medicine. There are scientist producing medicine to help cure sickness and/or prevent them. Computers are being made smaller but greater in software. Also, mechanical engineers are creating cars that can parallel park themselves and correct accidental lane swerving. If you look at Liberal Arts, not a lot of innovations have been created.
Secondly, support continues to flood in the direction of STEM. The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, stated “I want to spend our dollars giving people STEM degrees… So when they get out of school, they can get a job” in Carol T. Christ’s article, Myth: A Liberal Arts Education Is Becoming Irrelevant. Christ also stated in her article, “Cross training in the sciences produces better humanists. This had led to major investments by Liberal Arts colleges in STEM fields.” With an abundance of support and wise words from their parents, 60% of college freshmen enter a STEM major. A lot of parents advise their children to go in this direction because they already have work and financial experience based on the type of degree they obtained or wished to have done so. For instance, if a parent obtained a Liberal Arts degree but did not obtained a great-paying job, they would advise their child to choose a different route. Also, there has been a huge decline of interest for liberal arts over the past 10 years.
One would refute all the good things about STEM by mentioning all of the good that goes along with liberal arts. According to Edward Ray (2013), Liberal Arts majors are more versatile in any situation and Liberal Arts is the base for everything. Liberal Arts will enrich your life and provide lessons that extend past any [great-paying] individual job. Things are starting to look great for Liberal Arts graduates; more employers are looking for them because of their ability to judge ethically, demonstrate integrity, willing to continue their knowledge, and their intercultural skills (McNutt).
On the contrary, all the things that are good about Liberal Arts graduates like their skills, are not exclusive. For instance, Liberal Arts majors are not the only people that can show integrity because anyone can do that and everyone should anyway. If comparing versatility, STEM majors are really good at doing so because they have to be immersed in Liberal Arts classes for two years [based on the graduation requirements] and have done it successfully. Unlike Liberal Arts majors, they have to take a few STEM classes [depending on school requirements] but have a hard time understanding the content. This example shows how Liberal Arts majors aren’t able to adapt to everything, like Edward Ray stated before. Also, everyone has to judge ethically and make decisions, regardless of the field. Lastly, career outcomes have always looked great for STEM majors, not a decade or two later.
In conclusion, if I had to choose a side, I would chose STEM because of all the support, and benefits that come along with it. Also, I am majoring in Biomedical Science because I have a passion for human life. Although, people constantly put STEM and Liberal Arts against each other, there is a mash up of both in any pathway for a major. People go through all of the hard work that is needed for a major because they are influenced by the passion they have. If you are passionate about something, you have an abundant amount of fuel to drive the distance. With that being said, ignore the comparisons and embrace your passion.