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As colleges shift their priority towards the STEM field, the potential effects of curtailing the liberal arts have come into question. In recent years, many collegiate liberal arts programs have found themselves struggling to maintain a prominent role in higher education. State legislators have offered funding bonuses for high demand degrees that reflect work most needed in a given state. In turn, incentive to promote the humanities has declined. This has been seen at Stony Brook University, which chose to cut several humanities programs within the College of Arts and Sciences to address its budget deficit. And while research by the U.S. Department of Education has found that STEM degrees yield higher salaries on average than their counterparts, many educators are left to ponder the consequences of sending college graduates into the workforce without a solid foundation in the liberal arts. Bente Videbaek is a Stony Brook University Professor who…

Zoya Vallari walked down the winding hall on the fourth floor of the Physics building and poked her head into a large classroom where two graduate students were chalking calculus problems on the board. “May I use this room for a few minutes?” she said. As we walked into the room, she said with a laugh, “They have no choice but to listen to me.” Vallari is a fifth year PhD student who is working on High Energy Physics Experiments at the Stony Brook Department of Physics. Her project is called T2K, which is located in Japan and deals with an intensive study on neutrino oscillation, a topic that is critical enough to befuddle the average reader. “When I went for my Masters at IIT Mumbai, one of the premier colleges in India, there were five women out of 40 students in the entire class,” Vallari said. “Most people were…

When Science and Music Met As I sat in the violin section of Smithtown High School East’s Freshman Orchestra, Eya Setsu, the first violin, made me question whether we were really playing the same instrument. It was our first time practicing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards in Winter,” an ambitious choice for novice musicians, and while my bow squeaked and whined, Setsu’s bow flew melodiously across the strings. My fourteen-year-old self sat in awe. Today, as I sit across from Setsu in the Stony Brook Staller Center, she remains as humble as she is accomplished. Setsu is in her second year as a double major in Biology and music, two of Stony Brook’s most challenging programs. “I have a minor in Biomedical Engineering as well,” she adds to the list as an afterthought, along with her position as secretary of the University Scholars program and a member of the fencing club.…

Careers in science, technology, engineering and math are on the rise as Forbes and Payscale, a company that acquires real-time information on job market compensations, constantly rank STEM degrees among the highest paying careers for college graduates. However, there continues to be a significant difference between the number of men and women in these fields, as men outnumber their female counterparts. “There is this mentality that women cannot do well in math and science,” explained Vivian Stojanoff, a physicist and executive board member of Brookhaven Women in Science, who is in charge of organizing speakers for BWIS-sponsored events. Through a united effort by Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering program and Brookhaven National Laboratory’s BWIS, Stony Brook University held a symposium centered on getting young women involved in STEM on the eve of International Women’s Day in the Charles B. Wang Center. This event, the second of its…