October 19, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Mixing the arts and sciences

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To the Editor:

Re: “Arts vs. Sciences: Why and How?” Arts, Oct. 19

Although there are people who like to imagine a divide between the “Arts” and the “Sciences,” as the author of this column pointed out, in my years at Cornell I personally have experienced quite the opposite. A friend of mine is a Biology major and Theater minor. I know of an art student dual-degreeing in Mechanical Engineering. I know countless artist/techies. I started out as a Fine Arts major, am now in Biology. The list goes on.

Of course, there are students at Cornell who are solely interested in all things technical, and others who don’t want to think about math for the rest of their life. But especially at a school as large and varied as Cornell, there are so many students who bridge the supposed gap in academic pursuits, and they do it well. The author states that “each college brings a particular strength, be it design, networking skills or mathematical aptitude” but that “these strengths exist in relative autonomy, isolated within colleges.” Despite many dual-degree programs, yes, the seven Cornell colleges are more or less “autonomous.” But the students in them are not. In that sense, it is up to the students themselves to collaborate, unify their differing strengths and also to realize that any individual person can have more than one academic aptitude or area of interest.

Alexandra Gardner ’12