By Freeha Anjum
Talking about the essentialness of the humanities in a STEM world is important, but it’s even more crucial to actively integrate these skills into your life. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do a degree in the humanities, but doing some university courses on the subject, or joining programs that can expand your knowledge of the humanities might come in handy in the future! In our final article, we’ll be talking about some of these opportunities for students in high school or university.
Note: This is Part 4 of a 4-part article series titled “The Liberal Arts Matters”
The simplest way to integrate liberal arts education into your life is through taking humanities courses in university, or possibly high school (though the options may be more limited). These can include communications, philosophy, history, or other courses which interest you, some of which may even link to your degree (eg. medical history courses).
A majority of STEM undergraduate degrees require at least one humanities-based course regardless—indicative of their importance—but it’s beneficial to pursue these topics a bit more than the minimum if possible. By taking these courses, you can build a foundation of communication and analysis skills, creative thinking, and more (see article 2 of series).
Larger Humanities Programs
Some universities may have special programs open to students that integrate STEM and the humanities. These programs can vary in length, availability, style of courses, and more, so be sure to look into what your university offers and see if it is a good fit for you.
The University of Calgary’s Arts and Science Honours Academy (ASHA) program is one such example, where a small cohort of students take part in experiential learning opportunities which integrate humanistic and scientific perspectives. This program gives STEM students a pathway to liberal arts education and skills.
Universities or high schools may also have clubs that integrate these topics in some way, which is a simple path to incorporating the liberal arts into your education. This can include something simple like a book club, as this encourages members to analyze plot, characters, and more. You may also start your own club which works towards building these humanities-based skills (see article 2 of series).
The Shad Canada program is a chance for high school students to spend a summer at universities away from home. The program works to integrate STEM, arts, and entrepreneurship into student learning through seminars, design challenges, and more. Students live with others in the program and are given different opportunities each and every day. It is still running through COVID-19 virtually, where members form groups to complete challenges.
Shad was created as a means to bridge the gap between STEM and the arts, and the program continues to receive thousands of dollars in funding to continue the spread of arts education. The program is a highly sought-after opportunity and a valuable experience for all high school students in Canada.
STEM Fellowship Scholarly Writing Challenge
The STEM Fellowship Scholarly Writing Challenge and Viewpoint Challenge are both excellent ways to build your STEM knowledge with an important skill: communication. By finding ways to effectively write research papers, you are indirectly entering the realm of liberal arts education. Through mentorship and feedback received throughout the process, high school students are given a chance to work on their written communication skills, while being able to explore STEM passions. This is an excellent first step towards incorporating the humanities into student education.
If you’re in high school, you undoubtedly have the opportunity to participate in debate, speech, and/or Model UN with other students. These activities drive competition, and encourage students to improve their communication, analysis, and deconstruction skills. It’s a good way to do something fun while also working in the liberal arts, and you’ll often find that these clubs will take you a long way in terms of new experiences and expertise. As a plus, you’ll learn to work with others and effectively communicate ideas, which is extremely important within STEM as well.
STEAM Horizon Awards
There are many awards out there for students who completed projects that combine the arts and STEM. The STEAM Horizon Award is one such example, where students are awarded 25, 000 dollars for contributions to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. This can be any sort of activity, like winning a speech competition or science fair, running a school club, doing volunteer work in your community, and more. The award values creativity and communication skills — both of which stem from liberal arts education.
These are just some examples of opportunities you can pursue as a STEM student. They’re sure to enhance your understanding of the liberal arts, and therefore provide you with skills you will undoubtedly find beneficial in any future career. Most importantly, they’re fun and engaging activities to fill your time!
2021 STEAM Horizon Awards. (2021, January 18). Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://steamhorizonawards.ca/
Arts and Science Honours Academy. (2021, January 21). Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://arts.ucalgary.ca/future-students/undergraduate-experience/opportunities/join-arts-and-science-honours-academy
More steam opportunities for students. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/about/news/post/more-steam-opportunities-for-students
Shad Canada. (2021, March 29). Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://www.shad.ca/