Proud to Study STEM in a Liberal Arts Context
Trinity engineering alumna Shakira Ramos Crespo ’02 and Alison J. Draper, director of Trinity’s Science Center, recently co-authored a letter to the editor of The Hartford Courant to speak up for the benefits of studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in a liberal arts environment such as Trinity’s. The letter, originally published in the Hartford Courant on February 11, 2019, is reprinted with permission here.
The recent Hartford Courant article “For black women and girls, empowerment key to breaking into technology” included several important observations about why we must encourage more girls and women of color to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. There was one part of the article, however, that suggested that STEM is the future and the liberal arts are on the decline.
In fact, we think that studying STEM in the context of the liberal arts is the best possible STEM education. Here at Trinity College (where the president is a neuroscientist) and at liberal arts colleges across the country, there is a proud history of embedding STEM majors in the liberal arts in order to produce scientists and engineers who are not only equipped with the necessary technical and content knowledge but who also have the broader vision, foundation of lifelong learning, creativity and flexibility to be leaders in the future STEM workforce.
Liberal arts colleges, in fact, have long led the country in the proportion of our STEM majors who go on to earn Ph.D.s in their fields.
The Connecticut American Association of University Women hosts an annual program at Trinity called Tech Savvy [which will take place on May 4, 2019], designed to introduce girls to the excitement of STEM careers. In the past five years, girls from all backgrounds in the Hartford area have attended this event.
Shakira Ramos Crespo, South Windsor, and Alison J. Draper, Brimfield, Mass.
Crespo is a Trinity engineering alumna, Class of 2002, and chair of Tech Savvy; and Draper is director of Trinity’s Science Center.
Pictured above: President Joanne Berger-Sweeney welcomes girls in grades 6-9 to the annual Tech Savvy program. (Photo by Nick Caito)