Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

A career guidebook for students, with essays by students and young professionals.

We all know not to leave school without a plan, a skill-set, a career path, but without the Arts and Humanities? Why not? career advice from students to students


This guidebook is dedicated to you. To those of you with the courage to create your own paths in the world, and to lead the way to a more human, caring, and sustainable tomorrow.

Arts and Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

© 2022 by Christine Henseler is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

To view a copy of this license, visit


Christine Henseler is a professor of Spanish and His- panic Studies at Union College, in upstate NY. She also teaches classes on changemaking, innovation, global citizenship and sustainability, but what she loves most is supporting students in ways that make their profes- sional dreams come alive. ownmajor, or even just take courses in these fields. In fact, exploring new knowledge and learning across different disciplines is how you get more creative braincells to flow and how innovation happens. And if there's one thing we need in this post-COVID society, it's creative thinking and fact- driven science and engineering at work together. Professionals with backgrounds in the arts and humanities can be found leading change and in- novation at the intersection of almost any and all fields, from health and medicine to engineer - ing and environmental science. Similarly, the arts and humanities are emerging as some of the most needed fields in human history given that cultural knowledge and communication with our neigh- bors, as well as more ethical behavior and logical thinking are needed now more than ever before. I've been working on this project for five years, and I've been constantly inspired by my students whose voices are here to connect with you. I hope you find this guide helpful, and I hope you view it as a start to learn more about your options in life. Please don't hesitate to get in contact with me if you have any questions or you want to share your own story: My e-mail is

Hi, I’m Christine, and that's my daughter, Leah in the photo with me (she makes me look good). I teach Spanish at Union College, but I spent my childhood drawing, making, and designing. In college I freelanced as a photographer and graphic designer. I even interned at a billboard company and saw my design up in bright lights. So thrilling! I al- ways thought I’d pursue a career in the arts, but everyone said: “How will you make a liv- ing?” I had no idea. So, I went into something “more stable,” into teaching Spanish litera- ture and language. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and I high- ly recommend going into teaching (it's in- cedibly fulfilling), but I’ve always wondered what I might have become had I actually known about the exciting career opportuni- ties in the arts. That’s why I had to create this guide. I don't want you not to follow your passions and talents because you think you can't get a job. In this guide you can see that there are hundreds of exciting, lucrative, and impact- ful jobs that you can get with a background in the arts and humanities. You can major, minor, double major, dual major, create your

What if we told you...

....that your professional opportunities will multiply exponentially with a back- ground in the arts and humanities? And that you can make good money while also pursuing a meaningful career? No kid- ding. There is nothing holding you back.

Yup, you decide

You decide where you want to go with a degree in the arts and humanities. Check out the career paths and advice from young professionals working in urban re- vitalization projects, building sustainable companies, creating new technologies, or activating change. They will tell you that you won’t want to leave college without a degree in the arts or humanities. Find out why.

...there is no box?

Seriously. You are not boxing yourself in when you earn a degree in literature or language, philosophy, art or drama. Because you can take your skills wher- ever you want to go. The Non-Profit sector? Entrepre - neurship? Medicine? You decide.


Arts and Humanities. Don’t Leave College Without Them!

This is not the advice most often heard among students. We all know not to leave college with- out a plan, a skill-set, a career path, but without the arts and humanities? Why not? Why not? That’s the question students and young professionals will answer in this guide. Through their voices, they share what you might want to know now about why and how the arts and hu- manities can play a foundational and transforma- tive role in your lives and careers, whether you are thinking about going into the art world, into business, medicine, engineering, environmental science, or any other profession. The Arts and Humanities are your ticket to a successful, trans- formative and meaningful career. This guide provides you with an overview of what the arts and humanities are and what kind of pro- fessions you can pursue. This guide is meant to inspire you to explore more options for yourself and others. You will hear directly from young professionals and students who share their first- hand experiences, uncensored. You will hear from professors who explain what you can learn in dif- ferent fields. You will also find concrete examples about possible career options and opportunities through personal essays, student interviews, por- traits of young professionals, information about career choices, facts and figures, and answers to some of your most commonly asked questions. This guide is meant to, well, guide. It is, admitted- ly incomplete, but I hope it inspires you to follow your passion and pursue creative opportunities as you envision your future.

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

” Maya Angelou


Arts & Humanities

Have you ever wondered what fields and disciplines actually fall under the category of the Arts and Humanities? Then check out this section, and you take a deeper dive into the fields of art, design, and art history. ARTS & HUMANITIES 101 1

Stuff You Might Be Curious About 18/ Majors in, and with, the Arts and Humanities 20/ What Does the Term “Humanities” Even Mean? 22/ The Arts & Humanities. The Liberal Arts. What's the Difference? 24/ How Do You Measure the Value of the Humani- ties? 58/ Creative Entrepreneurs Information about Majors 37/ What Can You Do with a Major in Art and Design? 38/ Why Take a Studio Art Course in College? by Laini Nemmett

Portraits of Young Professionals 42/ Jane Kim - Painter, Science illustrator and Founder of Dwell Studio 43/ Anna Lindemann - An “Evo Devo Artist” 44/ Ryan Jude Novelline - Fashion Designer 54/ David Gurman, Data Artist and Entrepreneur 60/ Joe Gabbia Jr - Designer and Co-Founder of Airbnb 61/ Jae Rhim Lee - CEO of Coeio, The Infinity Burial Suit 77/ Danae Prosthetics GIGS - What Do You Do In These Jobs? 62/ GIGS with the Arts 82/ GIGS with Art History Interviews, Facts, and Other Odds & Ends 41/ The Future is in Sustainable Design 52/ Design What? 57/ "Infosys to Hire More with Liberal Arts, Design Skills" 73/ Think Museum Studies is Boring? Take a Look at These 78/ Student Interview: Karlee Bergendorff, B.A. in

50/ Cops and Docs. What Do You See? 68/ What Can Art History Class Teach Me?

Essays by Students & Alums 26/ What Are You Going To Do With That? by Kath- leen Sinatra 28/ Letter to the Infuriating Part of My Brain that Keeps Asking Why I’m Taking Humanities Classes Instead of Making Progress in Lab, by Charlotte Mineo 32/ Dear Asian Youth, by Seng Duong 46/ Arts and Economics: The Tints, The Shades, and the Values, by Abira Naeem 64/ Who Needs Art? by Leah Henseler 74/ Not Your Mother’s Art History: How Virtual Reality Transformed My Life and Career, by Sophia Gebara

Art History and Political Science 81/ Fun Facts about Famous Artists


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them






If you think you can't make any money in the Arts and Humanities, take a look at this chapter. Here are some essays and other materials that might answer some of your questions. You will also find some sepecific material on the fields of English, Music, Theatre & Dance.

One of the most valuable skills today is to become a global thinker, a big picture thinker with a deep understanding of the many unbelievably interesting cultures that make up our world. This section gives you information about fields like Foreign Languages, Religious Studies, Africana Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, History.

Portraits of Young Professionals 137/ Ryan Holladay - Multimedia Artist, Composer, Speaker 142/ Yoko Sen - Electronic Musician and Sound Alche - mist. Founder of Sen Sound 144/ Xiuhtezcatl Martinez - Earth Guardians Youth Director 150/ Malika Whitley - Chopart - Art for Homeless Minors 151/ Jennifer Nicols - The Complete Dance Workout for Athletes 157/ Adam Driver - Arts for the Armed Forces 164/ Aaron Marquise - Circus Performer GIGS - What Do You Do In These Jobs? 114/ GIGS with English 132/ GIGS with Music 154/ GIGS with Dance and Theatre Interviews, Facts, and Other Odds & Ends 122/ Data, Contextualize: Soft Skills Sought After by Employers 123/ "The World’s Top Economists Just Made the Case for Why We Still Need English Majors", The Washington Post, 2019 152/ A Conversation with Dancer Laurie Zabele Cawley 156 / Danielle Iwata - About her Jobs in Dance 166/ Student Interview: Talking to My Mom, Dad, and Friends, by Kathryn Cawley 170/ Arts & Humanities for the Twenty-first Century Workplace

Stuff You Might Be Curious About 88/ Money Matters. Can I Make Enough Money? 112/ Why Does Climate Change Needs English Majors? 126/ Why Take a Shakespeare Class? by Jim Knapp INFORMATION ABOUT MAJORS 107/ What Can You Do with An English Major? 117/ What Does Success Look Like With English? 130/ What Can You Do with a Major in Music? 134/ What Do You Learn Musicking? by Jennifer Miloto Matsue 148/ What Can You Do with a Degree in Theatre and Dance? Essays by Students & Alums 92/ Why I Study the Humanities and Why Finding a Job Doesn’t Scare Me, by Amelia L. Poole 95/ Everything Is Falling Into Place , by Madeline Schaeffer 96/ How the Humanities Are Redefining the Future of Work , by Julia Hotz 108/ Building a Career with an English Career, by Liz Hurley 118/ Help! There’s a Poem Inside My Head: The Art of Being Creative, by Dipti Anand 124/ I Was Going to Become a Doctor, by Sonja Erchak 138/ Music in Education: What’s It’s Importance? by Olivia Brand 143/ Music for Life: Exploring Dementia Through Art and Science, by Lilith Haig 146/ Why I Chose a Career in Music, by Nicole Peters 158/ The Power of Dance , by Haylee Snow

Stuff You Might Be Curious About 222/ What Does Success Look Like with Africana Studies? 225/ What Can You Do With Women and Gender Studies? 232/ How Philosophy Expands How You Think 249/ What Can You Do with History? 240/ What does Success Look like in Pilosophy? 244/ What does Success Look like with a Classics Degree? INFORMATION ABOUT MAJORS 186/ Why Study Religion? by Scott Muir 190/ What Can You Do with Foreign Languages? 210/ What Can You Do with Latin American and Caribeean Studies? 212/ Why Take Classes in Latin American and Caribbean Stud- ies, by Guillermina Seri 218/ What Can You Do With Africana Studies? 228/ What Do You Learn in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies , by JillMarie Murphy 231/ What Can You Do with Philosophy? Essays by Students & Alums 176/ International Relations: Knowledge Without Boundaries, by Ramsha Qaisar 193/ Research, Internship, and Travel: Opportunities Through Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture , by Bridgit Sullivan 196/ What Language Learning Has to Offer , by Crystal Flax 198/ An Inaudible Language , by Hannah Weeks 242/ Classics and Philosophy: Tools for Learning and Thinking About Anything I Could Have Ever Possibly Wanted to Do , by MaryGrace Wajda 179/ Connecting Through Portals, by Amar Bakshi

Portraits of Young Professionals 178/ Amar Bakshi - Artist and Founder of Shared Studios and Portals 206/ Joe Troyen - PenPal Schools 209/ Lauren Blodgett - Immigration Lawyer 253/ Jenny Gottstein - IDEO, Experience Designer GIGS - What Do You Do In These Jobs? 184/ GIGS with Religious Studies 216/ GIGS with Latin American and Caribbean Studies 220/ GIGS with Africana Studies 226/ GIGS with Women & Gender Studies 236/ GIGS with Philosophy 250/ GIGS with History Interviews, Facts, and Other Odds & Ends 205/ Data Contextualized: Demand for Foreign Lan- guages 208/ Caochong Zeng - Major in Asian Studies and Politi- cal Studies 202/ Student Interview: Kelsey Sanders, double major in German and Psychology, by Corinne Jean-Gilles 234/ Portraits Philosohy 238/ Data Point from the American Philosophical Society 246/ Student Interview: Jenna Corocran, Degree in Clas- sics, by MaryGrace Wajda


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them





Gaining expertise in more than one field will give you an edge in the job market, and it will help you develop the toolkit to adapt to our changing and very complex world from multiple perspec- tives. That’s why the material in this section is all about learning across fields and disciplines.

Ultimately, it all boils down to one thing: finding your purpose. You want to learn about the arts or humanities? Wonderful. You don't? That's great too. Just make sure you make that decision for yourself and because you are informed about what the arts and humanities are, what they can teach you, and what they can add to your professional paths. And just promise me one thing: stay true to yourself, and be proud of what you do.

297/ Why Should Students Going Into Medicine Study the Humanities? by Ajay Major 299/ How I Learned that the Humanities Can Benefit My Pursuit of a Career in Medicine , by Kartik Nath 302/ The Long Lost Variable: Humanities’ Impact on Engineering, by Nate Boulé 306/ A Flying Dinosaur: Stories that Make Meaning , by Shea Delahaunty 311/ But, I Like Math! by Sasha Currie 314/ Biology and Philosophy: How Our Culture Shapes Our Knowledge , by Lily Marks Portraits of Young Professionals 285/ Caveat - Where Nightlife Meets the Arts and Sciences 286/ Riley Knox - CEO & Founder of Accelerate 3D 309/ Adam Braun - Founder Pencils of Promise Interviews, Facts, and Other Odds & Ends 293/ Social Impact of the Arts (American Academy of the Arts) 319/ Libby & Art Twitter feed

Stuff You Might Be Curious About 259/ The Liberal Arts: Cross-Training for the Brain , by Sharon Liu 260/ To Double Major, or Not to Double Major. That is the Question 274/ Sampling of Classes that Cross Disciplines, by Frank Mac Kenzie 290/ Why Do We Need the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm? 294/ How Entrepreneurs Can Flex Their Minds 295/ Why Every Business Major Should Have a Back - ground in English Essays by Students & Alums 262/ My Journey to the Digital Humanities: The Story of a Double Major, by Helen Foley 268/ Labs and Literature: A New Way Forward , by Bianca Yeung 266/ Why I wIll Pursue Both: I’m Passionate about Ma- rine Science and Sculpture , by Leah Henseler 276/ Hooked on Environmental Science, by Kayla Quar- less 281/ ntersection of English and Biology, by Katie Gu 282/ The Role of Music and Sound in Audio Engineering by Semsonga Andrew Mukasa 288 / Creative Computers: What the Overlap of Program- ming and Poetry Teaches us About Creativity , by Lily Marks

342/ A Letter to Future Generations, by Charlynne Cather

Stuff You Might Be Curious About 336/ Crucial Info Every Student Should Know About College 332/ Yes, All the World is Our Stage 334/ What Do You Do When the Future is Hanging in the Balance? Essays by Students & Alums 330 / The Courses You Dismiss are the Ones I Ex- plore , by Leo Cavedagne 324/ To Be Seven , by Megan Lepore 326/ Money over Meaning: Tech in Winning Money, But Not Hearts, by Bailey Reutzel

Interviews, Facts, and Other Odds & Ends 344/ We Helped Create this Guide 346/ What Are You Going to Do with That? Pod- cast by the National Humanities Alliance 348/ Giving Thanks


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them



arts & HUMANITIES 101


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them




Advertising and Marketing African American Studies

American Studies and Area Studies Artificial Intelligence and Linguistics Asian American Studies Augmented Reality and Immersive Design Bioethics Biomimicry Citizenship and Civic Engagement Communication and Media Studies Cultural Economics Design for Social Systems Entrepreneurship Environmental Studies and Design Ethnography European Studies Geohumanities Humanistic Engineering Health Humanities Human Geography International Relations Game Design Global Citizenship / Global Studies Earth Science Latin American and Caribbean Studies LGBTQ+ Studies Library Studies Marine Conservation Media Studies Medical Humanities Native American and Indigenous Studies Pan African Studies Professional and Technical / Science Writing Race Studies Religious Studies




Animation Automotive Design Digital Art Ceramics Dance Digital Art Drama & Theatre Drawing Fashion and Apparel Design Game Design Graphic Design History of Art and Architecture Human-Centered Design Illustration Industrial Design Installation Art Interaction Design Interior Design Metalworking Multimedia Design Museum Studies Music Performance Music History and Cultures Painting Performing Arts Photography

Arabic and Islamic Studies Chinese Language & Culture Classics Comparative Literature Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Creative Writing Digital Humanities English Language and Literature Ethics Film Studies Folklore French and Francophone Studies

Acoustics and Speech Communication Archaeology Anthropology or Medical Anthropology Behavioral Science Child Development Computational Linguistics Conflict Resolution Counseling Law

Leadership Psychology Social Work Special Education Sociology

German Studies Global Studies Hebrew Language History Applied Demography Interactive Fiction Italian

Jewish and Holocaust Studies Japanese Language & Culture Linguistics Literature Logic Medieval and Renaissance Studies Philosophy Russian Language & Culture Screenwriting Spanish and Hispanic Studies Studies in Language Teaching

Russian and Eastern European Studies South Asian Studies Speech Language Pathology Sustainability Studies Urban Design US LatinX Studies Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Product Design Textile Design Theatre Set Design


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


“What are the humanities? It is like the notion of ‘time’ in St. Augustine: if you don’t ask, we know, but if you ask, we are left empty handed. Since the nineteenth century the humanities have generally been defined as the disciplines that investigate the expressions of the human mind. Such expressions include language, mu- sic, art, literature, theatre, and poetry. Thus, philology, linguistics, musicology, art history, literary studies, and theatre studies all belong to the realm of the humanities.” – Rens Bod, A New History of the Humanities: The Search for Principles and Patterns from An- tiquity to the Present (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013) “The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture. The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or specu- lative, and have a significant historical ele - ment—as distinguished from the mainly em- pirical approaches of the natural sciences. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre. Areas that are sometimes regarded as social sciences and sometimes as humanities include history, archaeology, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, classical studies, law and linguistics…. The humanities and social sciences teach us how people have created their world, and how they in turn are created by it.”


“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; ju- risprudence; philosophy; archaeology; com- parative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the hu- man environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the hu- manities to the current conditions of national life.” - National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended (the U. S. Congressional Act that created the National Endowment for the Humanities)

“Research stemming from a detailed under- standing of human behavior, economies, cul- tures and societies can dramatically redefine the crucial decisions we need to make. These decisions may involve the future direction of our economy, ways of broadening and strengthen- ing education provision at all levels, or how we deal with the effects of climate or constitutional change… The humanities and social sciences teach us how people have created their world, and how they in turn are created by it.”

– The British Academy for Humanities & Social Sciences, “Press Pack”

“The humanities—including the study of lan- guages, literature, history, jurisprudence, phi- losophy, comparative religion, ethics, and the arts—are disciplines of memory and imagina- tion, telling us where we have been and helping us envision where we are going.” - The Heart of the Matter (Report of the American Academy of Arts & Science’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences to the U. S. Con- gress in June 2013)

– Wikipedia, “Humanities,” 2014


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


...what’s the difference??

needs individuals who can empathize, reach out to others and reflect about themselves in ways that are knowledgable, respectful, and humble. This means that a humanist who understands basic computer programming language or en- gineering materials will be able to build more human-centered products. A psychologist with knowledge in a foreign language and an under- standing of cultural diversity will undoubtedly be more effective in a post-disaster country or work on systemic racism in our own country. An artist who understands climate change can make a more visual impact to affect change. Students who take courses in a variety of disci- plines and who can apply and think across disci- plines, are the kind of individuals who are able to tackle this century’s challenges. And for this, there is no better education than a Liberal Edu - cation. So if you are not already a student of the Arts or Humanities, I encourage you to take classes or workshops, attend events or get a second de- gree in fields such as Philosophy, Classics, Thea - tre, or Art History. These disciplines will expand your minds and enrich your lives and careers, no matter which profession you decide to pursue. They will make you stronger.


the thinking patterns of our minds. What does that mean? It means that you are able to identify and connect facts, knowledge, and ideas in ways that lead to new discoveries and solutions. In other words, objective, technological or scientific knowledge is just not enough in a world that is desperately seeking solutions for humankind. The Arts and Humanities teach us to see events and ourselves in context; they allow us to express ourselves and give meaning to our lives; they provide us with the tools to question the world in which we live and work, to look at our surround- ings with open eyes, and to connect to each other in meaningful ways. They allow us to ask impor- tant questions and, when joined with fields like Engineering, Geology, Environmental Science, Medicine, and so on, they open new zones of in- quiry that allow new topics, ideas, and opinions to emerge. The practical applications of the Arts and Human- ities are harder to recognize simply because they are not as apparent, but they are there and thats why forward-looking smart employers are hiring more individuals with strong backgrounds in hu- manistic or artistic fields. The complexity of today’s challenges demands individuals with deep knowledge in their own fields as well as the flexibility and awareness to think as much beyond disciplinary borders as they collaborate beyond national borders. The world

by Christine Henseler

one student-faculty interactions. They tend to be smaller and more focused on teaching. Arts and Humanities courses may be found in any of these institutions, and I would argue that the most in- novative and forward-thinking colleges and uni- versities today integrate courses in literature, philosophy, and other arts and humanities across various disciplines. If you've watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you'll know what I mean by the importance of studying Ethics, for instance, as part of Computer Science education. The hallmark of Liberal Arts institutions is that they provide you with the opportunity to explore, dive into fields you had never thought about be - fore, and to make connections between ideas you had never before considered. That’s where crea- tivity and innovation lies. It's also where cultural diversity is at its best. Our destinies as successful human beings tasked to navigate this global, pluralistic, mobile world, is one that depends on the connections we are able to make between many different moving and unmoving parts. Similarly, the destiny of the sci- ences and engineering are deeply connected to the arts and humanities, and vice-versa.

The "Arts" and "Humanities". The "Liberal Arts." "Liberal Education". These terms are so confus - ing! What in the world do they mean? And why does it matter? Well, let's start by clarifying one thing: none of these terms have anything to do with becom- ing more "liberal" in the political sense. They do, however, have everything to do with freeing your mind and developing your critical and crea- tive thinking abilities so that you can adapt to our complex realities in ways that connect ideas, peo- ples, and world views. You see a “Liberal Education” does not refer to specific subjects, but rather to the development and real-life application of knowledge and trans- ferable skills that span all disciplines, from math- ematics to science, art and history to sociology or political science (AACU). It is about learning how to think in a way that is as agile and multifaceted as the world in which we live. Liberal Arts colleges, like, say, Union College, Hamilton College or Vassar College, are institu- tional microcosms of this philosophy and often distinguish themselves from research universities like Cornell University or the University of Miami, because they place more emphasis on wholistic learning across disciplines and on closer one-on-

The competitive edge will go to those students who have built solid yet agile frameworks around


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


the development of writing tools, the Gutenberg press, the computer, all instruments that were driven by our need to tell stories. Inspired and guided by the insights of the inhabitants of a cul- ture empowered to share and improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We are all able to communicate complex thoughts and ideas that make sense of the complex factors determin- ing our survival and success. The arts and humani- ties are the often unseen, unmeasured backbone of every civilization. They are the soul of a nation. Few people (if any) would want to live in a world without the arts and humanities. The arts and hu- manities are a precondition for science and engi- neering. Not an afterthought. They help us con- nect and cooperate in novel ways. They help us put our actions into context so we can make the most of what is unique about the human spirit.

The arts and humanities might not lead directly to the great feats of engineering or technology, but they make sure they serve humanity. The arts, entertainment, media, advertising - all of these industries contribute billions to the econo- my annually and depend on the arts and humani- ties. Increasingly, we’re finding that technology, especially software development, relies on them a great deal as well. Without them, the basic so- cial order would break down. Bored, dissatisfied, and lacking effective ways to connect and com - municate with one other, society would likely collapse. Now imagine a society that values the arts and humanities. The great civilizations of the past and present have produced some of the finest art and cultural tools ever made. Through the humanities they have helped humanity grow and evolve into an ever-more intelligent and sophis- ticated species. Just imagine the world without


by Christine Henseler

Measuring the worth of the arts and humanities is difficult because they often deal with subjectiv - ity. Subjective problems, unlike objective ones, are inherently vague and open-ended. Objective problems have defined problems and defined so - lutions. Subjective problems have a lot more wig- gle room in comparison. History and philosophy explore human approach- es to these abstract and open-ended problems. Cultural studies explore solutions humans cur- rently use or have used in the past to make mean- ing and order out of them. The arts are the prac- tice of making meaning and sense out of vague and open-ended challenges. In short, the humanities are valuable because they deal in the immeasurable. The benefits from the arts and humanities don’t need to be meas- ured to be valuable or important. Imagine a world without music, without cinema, or television - without novels or fashion designers. Is it one in which you would want to live?

Allow me to answer the question with more questions: How do you measure the value of a sunset? How do you measure the value of a visit to the museum? Or the value of a just and equi- table society? The arts and humanities, unlike the sciences, deals in open questions with open solutions. In- stead of coming up with a figure to answer such a question, a humanist would consider the framing of the question itself. Why even “measure” such things in the first place? What does our need to measure the world say about us? Can everything be measured? Is everything quantifiable? Is the data meaningful to human beings? This is at the core of the arts and humanities - a search for meaning. In this world, there is no shortage of ways to measure and analyze. And yet, despite all the data we can collect and all the computations we can perform with that data, we still run into problems. The presence or ab- sence of meaning is what makes the difference between data that is useful and data that is not.

So how valuable are the arts and humanities? Much more than you can measure.


Arts & Humanities


Eventually, Grace realized that she needed to make a change in her studies, but she did so painfully. She felt like she had failed. Moreover, she was unsure as to what her options now were. Grace is still not a history major. Instead, she is studying a field that I would classify lies somewhere in between STEM and the humanities/social sciences. I write this article hoping to speak to the Grace’s of the world. What many fail to realize is that majoring in the humanities does not mean being a free-spirit-still- mooching-off-your-parents-at-35. It means that you can pursue a career that you love while still paying your bills. It is great if a more traditional path points you in a career direction that you are passionate about. But, if you're like me and that route doesn’t excite you, or you’re only pursuing it because you feel that's what you should be doing, then I encour- age you to dare to look elsewhere, to dream a little bigger, and to look for an alternate path that works for you.


leen is a Political Science and Spanish & His- panic Studies dou- ble major at Union Co

by Kathleen Sinatra

lege from Bridgewater, CT. Kathl interest in utilizing student vo create social change

What are you going to do with that?

I don’t think that these messages are uncom- mon.We invest so much time, energy, and fi - nancial resources into a college degree that the result is a mounting and inescapable feeling that you sure as heck better have a plan post- graduation. And, traditional routes towards finding a job (and more specifically, one that ensures we are not eating ramen noodles for the rest of our lives) seems safe. We all want security. My friend Grace was always pushed towards engineering and STEM fields. She was con - stantly told by those around her that this was right path for her, and that a degree in what she loved, history, would be useless. So, Grace went to college and began taking the courses for en- gineering. And she struggled. A lot. So much so that she wasn’t even sure if the college she was attending (or college at all) was right for her. But, it wasn’t that she was incapable of excel- ling in this field, she just simply didn’t enjoy what she was doing.

This is a phrase I used to hate. As a Political Sci- ence and Spanish & Hispanic Studies double ma- jor, I haven’t decided to follow the educational or career path that was continuously fed to me- throughout my life. Get a biology degree and be- come a doctor, they said. Study computer science or become an engineer, they said. Well, my experience in AP Biology proved that bi- ology was not the course for me, and I placed last when trying to create a contraption that would win the egg drop competition.

Kathleen was a Political Science and Spanish & Hispanic Studies double major.

began Kathleen is a Political Science Spanish & Hispanic Studies double maj ion College from Bridgewater, CT. Kathleen’s interest in u ing student voices to create social change began her first year at Union College when she par - ticipated in a class that led her to co-author the book “Generation Now: Millennials Call for So- cial Change.” She has since assisted with the editing and writing process of subsequent volumes of the same series and co-authored an article on 4Humanities called “Social Change I am studying Political Science and Spanish & His- panic Studies and I am excited by the endless oppor- tunities that I have as career options. I feel as though the world truly is my oyster. I continue to try to expand my skills, taking tatistics courses, graphic design courses, and continuing to find extracurriculars that support what I am interest - ed in. I don’t know exactly what I want to be “when I grow up,” but that's okay. I know that I will be suc- cessful and that my studies are preparing me for jobs in a variety of different fields. If anything, I have s many avenues I can’t wait to explore further. All I can ever hope for is to find a career where work doesn’t even feel like work. Instead, I hope to find a career that allows for constant learning, excitement, and a continuous exploration of my passions. Kathleen’s interest in using student voices to create social change began her first year of college when she participated in a class that led her to co-author the book Generation Now: Millennials Call for Social Change (available on Amazon). She has since assisted with the editing and writing process of subsequent volumes of the same series and co-authored an article on 4Humanities called “Social Change through Storytelling.” During her years as an undergraduate, she also spent a semester as a legislative intern for Congressman Paul Tonko in Washington D.C. and a semester in Seville, Spain. She graduated college in June 2020 and has recently began her first job working at a healthcare advertising agency in New York City. She continues to write and explore her interests and passions as a young professional.

I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I still wasn’t sure of what I did want to do. And, this was scary.

You'll notice in my previous comments I use the word "they." Contrary to what you may have as- sumed, the "they" doesn't reference neither my parents nor my teachers. Rather the "they" re- fers to acquaintances I met in passing, or my third cousin, or, most consistently, me.

College is hard, and investing time into some- thing you don’t like only makes it harder.


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


As a society, we’ve fallen into the trap of Chimamamda Adi- chie’s “single story”. It’s not hard to see the distrust, the hate, and the apathy that permeate our society as a result. You might be thinking, “Okay, so those old rich dudes needed to look at the map a bit more closely, and I should do some fact- checking. Maybe I need to pick up a book every now and then, or take a history course. I should probably download that lan- guage learning app I’ve been thinking about”. That’s great. That’s a start. We all need to be more informed about the world around us if we want to fulfill our potential to improve it. But maybe that’s not enough. “Click, Snip, Click” the new CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool could replace an allele in your child’s genome, changing not only their lives, but life as we know it. What about these BIG issues? New policies will be so influen - tial that they’ll impact the quality of life of countless future generations. The laws that are passed, the regulations that are implemented, they could change who we become as a spe- cies. These problems are not limited to a single technology, or even a single discipline. Important moral dilemmas are being pondered in fields as diverse as genomic editing and pros - thetic limb design. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I like data. I like facts. I like knowing that what someone’s telling me is not just random nonsense that comes spilling out of their mouth, like stuffing out of a cheap stuffed animal. If I had to write those policies, had to predict who would be hurt by the ge- netic engineering of humans, or determine the hidden costs of divulging genetic information to patients, I would like to think that I’d be at least a few notches above an overpriced stuffed animal. Maybe so, but a few notches just isn’t enough. I can think. I can reason. Why shouldn’t I, or any other edu-

A letter to the infuriating part of my brain that keeps asking me why I’m taking humanities

by Charlotte Mineo

Hey type-A, goal-driven person who loves science. You think you know what you're doing? Well, listen to this. “Snick, snick, snick”, the scissors of power and politics cut apart the continent of Africa during the Berlin conference in the 1800’s. “Click, click, click” hateful and uniformed mes- sages permeate the internet in the modern era. What do these sounds of change have in common? Human suffering, and a failure to learn from that pain. Nobody in Berlin was thinking about the cultures of the lands they di- vided. Few thought of their new subjects as people. With a little bit of cultural anthropology, and some human- izing literature, these problems might have been avoided, or at least mitigated. Now cultures are ground into the dust, and wars are fought because of lines drawn in the sand, which were first scrawled on a musty old map. We look back with contempt, considering ourselves so much more enlightened, but, oftentimes, I doubt it. We haven't changed. A tidal wave of information, news, and advertisements in- undates us each and every day, and most of it we choose to ignore. We can create little pockets of cyberspace devoted to individuals with shared emotions, opinions, and back- grounds.


Arts & Humanities

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cated person, be in charge of that decision? The answer isn’t particularly comfortable. I just don’t know enough. Yeah I can think, but I don’t know the facts. I didn’t pay enough attention to the novels I read in high school about independence and about losing autonomy. I took U.S. history, but I can’t remember when the Revolutionary War started. I would never let someone who hasn’t taken chemistry write my lab report. So, it begs the question: How could I allow someone like me to make a decision of multi-generational impor- tance without some major, serious, help? In short, as much as it may hurt our pride to admit it, we need the humanities majors. We need the logic of the philosophers, and the diverse perspectives of cultural anthropologists, and the understanding that we gain from literature or history. Progress! The very word raises our blood pressure. We are scared that, as hard as we may try, our society will never be quite good enough to solve more prob- lems than it creates. There’s only so much time in the world, so much funding, so many smart and passionate people. We desperately want to channel those limited resources into the most productive avenues possible. While the sciences are incredible, they are not the only useful field. If we all major in STEM, and break up our schedules with a few humanities classes, that’s a lot better than nothing, but I can’t foresee any great histo- rians coming out of that arrangement. The well- rounded scientist isn’t going to cut it. Most mid- dle school biology students could explain to you “survival of the fittest”. If we extrapolate this idea to the development of ideas and disciplines, then we can conclude that the arts cannot be meaning-

Keep in mind that you get one chance at this life. … You hopefully have some wonderful and aspira- tional ideas in your head, and we need people like you to pursue those ideas with conviction, with integrity, with ambition, and with bold intent. And people like myself will be cheering you on.

Charlotte Mineo is a Biochemistry major. She’s won awards for her work as an under- graduate biochemistry researcher, including the Beckman and Goldwater Scholarships. While not in the lab she writes as the Science and Technology Editor for the student news - paper, and volunteers as a reading and math tutor for elementary-schoolers. In her free time she hikes, swims, and reads. less. A subject without any use just wouldn’t have made it this far. As ugly questions rear their heads, we are reminded of the value of the humanities. A novel might not have any clean figures, or long data tables, but it does tell us something valu- able. It whispers a story of who we are, and where we might go, if we’re willing to sit down and lis- ten. I don’t want to see us mess up. When our in- ternal alarms start ringing in fifty, twenty, even ten years, when it gets too loud to pretend that our misgivings are nothing more than a pesky fly buzzing around in the room, then we’ll remember the value of listening. Goodbye for now, A con- flicted brain that’s reluctantly grateful for all of those humanities majors.

~ Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


Dear Asian Youth

has Covid-19. Sounds ludicrous and insane, but that logic fueled their motivation to assault every Asian person they see. As a result, the Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) reported 2,808 inci - dents of discrimination across the US from March to December 2020. Roughly 230,000 Asian businesses were closed due to the social distancing guidelines and racism as a contributing factor. I immigrated to the US from Vietnam at the age of nine with my parents and my sister. Watching my parents working day and night to provide for us motivated me to become successful so that I can repay them. It was a difficult twelve years of hard work to get to where I am today. I have also experienced my fair share of racism, but they do not bother me much as I have learned to confront them. In our culture, elders are considered to be wise and well respected, seeing them being targeted shocked me to my core. I feel sick to my stomach and on the verge of tears whenever I see defenseless and inno- cent Asian elders being assaulted. These elders have sacrificed everything back home to immigrate to the United States in hope of finding a better life for their children. All I can see are my grandpa, my grandma, my mom, my dad, my aunt, and my uncle being shoved and beaten. However, instead of attacking and demonizing mis- guided, racist people, we should take charge and con- front them through our knowledge in the arts and hu- manities to show them that there is more to minority people than just their stereotypes. Literature analysis and history, and philosophy classes can provide us the abilities to engage in civil debates and critical think- ing. We can confront racism by providing arguments

by Sang Duong

I am a Mechanical Engineering major looking to pursue a career in creating thermodynamic systems. I've done research to develop humidity sensors by using conductive graphene ink. Outside of STEM, I have a passion for music and writing.

In early January, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died of a brain hemorrhage after being shoved on his morn- ing walk. On January 31, a 91-year-old Asian elder was shoved while walking in Oakland, resulting in his death. On Feb 23, A 67-year-old Asian man was attacked and robbed inside a laundromat. These stories are only a tiny piece of a larger picture of the rising hate crime against Asian-Americans. It took a worldwide pandemic from Wuhan, a president coining terms like “kung-flu” and “China virus,” and an uptick in violence against Asian- American to bring awareness to a community that has been suffering in silence. Racism against Asians has al - ways been prevalent in the United States, but it is rarely a subject frequently discussed in the media. This is more than an issue of racism. Racism and hate are a product of ignorance that plagues all of us. No technology or math- ematical equation can help us combat ignorance. The only way to combat prejudice and bigotry is to socially educate ourselves and others through the studies of the arts and humanities. I can already see all the eye rolls upon reading that last sentence. How do the arts help fight anti-Asian racism? Hear me out. The arts and humanities are incredibly broad fields. They aim to improve our understanding of

the world around us through analyzing human interac- tion, culture, and literature. Despite being so broad, with many different areas of studies, every arts and humanities path will teach you three important skills: critical thinking, becoming culturally aware, and lead- ership. These are the skills that will be crucial to slowly eradicate hatred and racism. Oxford Languages defined racism as being “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a per- son or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” Racist people see other races as inferior, they often impose negative assump- tions about people who they have never met before. They do not have the ability to critically think outside of the negative stereotypes that they were taught by the media they consume. The pandemic caused mass hysteria throughout the world. A virus coming from a foreign country combined with a president that encourages racist behavior was all that’s needed to confirm people’s biases against Asian-Americans. Their logic dictates that every Asian person must have been from China, and if the virus came from China, that must mean every Asian person

and statistics that challenge, but not ridicule, their belief. We can show them that being Asian does not equate to be- ing Chinese or carrying a deadly virus. We can encourage them to look at different news sources and teach them to formulate an educated opinion with facts and logic, rather than someone on the TV telling them what to think. Of course, this will not be an easy task. Many of them will not be receptive to information that challenges their worldview. You cannot change someone’s belief that they


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


have held for years in a day. However, we must acknowl- edge that it is a good start to initiate a conversation that can hopefully lead to a better understanding from both sides. Many arts and humanities classes delve into countless aspects of Asian history and culture, which you can then use to educate those who are suffering from ignorance. You can show them that terms like “China vi- rus” and “kung-flu” are not just playful words, and their words can have major emotional consequences. The arts and humanities can also provide you more than just conversation or debate skills. In arts and humanities courses, you are encouraged to speak and write freely about your opinions to engage in discussion with your colleagues. The more you participate, the more confi - dence you gain to speak in front of a larger audience. This is one way of how the arts and humanities are ex- tremely important in activism. To be an activist that can influence social or policy change, you must have the skills to capture and persuade your audience with a pow- erful message. To develop a powerful message, you must think critically about the issue. All of which cannot be done without knowledge in the arts and humanities. Thanks to the creation of countless social media, vio- lence against Asian-Americans is not going unnoticed. Your constant practice of literary analysis in your arts and humanity classes will give you the ability to discred- it misinformation on social media. You can engage in dis- cussions with your peers and share valuable posts from many activism accounts. If your school does not have a support group for Asian students, create one yourself! It only takes one person passionate enough to fight for a cause for others to join in. You can also join groups like STOP AAPI to report cases of discrimination. Hundreds of youths in California are creating escort groups to protect

Asian elders on their walks. It is crucial for everyone to become proactive in fighting against injustice, and you can start by taking more classes in the arts and humanities to equip yourself with the necessary skills and tools to combat ignorance. As a child, I was taught to only worry about myself. If someone else bothers you, physically attack them so that they won’t mess with you again. If someone else is being harassed, look away, because it would be too much of an inconvenience to intervene. In the Asian culture, we tend to keep feelings to our- selves. We pride ourselves in our stoic nature to not complain about hardship. As a result, our struggles are not heard and any injustices done to us are not noticed. We become a punching bag to everyone be- cause they know we will not stand up for ourselves. I write this essay with a heavy heart in hopes of pro- viding ways for the Asian youths to change the narra- tive to stand up for ourselves and our elders. Through the studies of arts and humanities, you can unlock ways to confront hatred and ignorance through critical thinking, social awareness, and leadership. It is not enough to only know about the Asian com- munity’s struggle. You should use what you know to promote change in your community. It can be done through social media by sharing and opening discus- sions with your peers. It can also be done by joining and creating support groups for Asian students. Yes, everything seems very daunting, but the arts and hu- manities will guide you to whatever goal you want to achieve. In a world full of hatred, it is important to not combat it with more hatred, but rather through reasoning and peaceful activism.


[1] Cole, Johnnetta B., et al. “Racism, Unrest, and the Role of the Museum Field: A Conversation at the American Alliance of Museums Virtual Annual Meeting (2020).” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 4 Sept. 2020,.

[2] Fairlie, Robert. “The Impact of COVID‐19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence from the First ThreeMonths after Widespread Social‐Distancing Restric - tions.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 27 Aug. 2020,

[3] Gao, Grace, and Linna Sai. “Opposing the Toxic Apartheid: The Painted Veil of the COVID‐19 Pandemic, Race and Racism.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 6 Sept. 2020, [4] Lah, Kyung. “Family of Thai Immigrant, 84, Says Fatal Attack 'Was Driven by Hate'.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Feb. 2021,

[5] Lang, Cady. “Asian American Attacks: What's Behind the Rise in Violence?” Time, Time, 18 Feb. 2021,

[6] Lim, Dion. “'Hard to Watch': Video Shows Brazen, Ambush-Style Attack on Older Asian Man inside SF Laundromat.” ABC7 San Francisco, KGO-TV, 4 Mar. 2021,

[7] Smith, Kelsie. “Hundreds of People Are Volunteering to Escort Elderly Asian Americans to Help Keep Them Safe.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Feb. 2021,

[8] Tessler, Hannah, et al. “The Anxiety of Being Asian American: Hate Crimes and Negative Biases During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” American Journal of Crimi- nal Justice, Springer US, 1 Jan. 1993,

[9] Turton, Nicholas. “Stop AAPI Hate: New Data on Anti-Asian Hate Incidents Against Elderly and Total National Incidents in 2020.” 2021,


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