Sure, it’s been easy for us at DIDI to tell you to get involved in STEM and inform you about some programs that will do just that.
But what sorts of classes can you take that will really inspire you to keep with this STEM career path? Well, The Huffington Post has a list of nine college courses from around the country that perfectly exemplify what a STEM education looks like—and they’ll have you totally geeking out!
- Street-Fighting Mathematics—Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Described as “the art of guessing results and solving problems without doing a proof or an exact calculation,” this course provides students with real-world mathematical applications to take on the world and their own futures. It’s like seeing the streets themselves as practical mathematical problems that can then be solved using your own skills. But sadly, no actual sparring allowed.
- Science from Superheroes to Global Warming—University of California, Irvine: If you are a fan of comic books, then this is the class for you! The folks at UC Irvine have answered your fan mail and are offering a course that tackles important comic universe questions like how Superman flies and explains the workings of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. Because who hasn’t stayed up late into the night trying to come up with a theory on how Batman can carry so many gadgets in his utility belt, right?
- The Joy of Garbage—Santa Clara University: This one could actually have some significance in the fight against global warming. This environmental science class includes discussions about the evolution of America’s waste culture, the rate of decomposition, what really happens to a used milk carton, and proposed solutions to the earth’s garbage problem (such as new composting technologies).
- Maple Syrup: The Real Thing—Albert University: This sweet course combines “meteorology, chemistry, botany, forestry, art and cookery” to teach students the age-old trade of… well, making maple syrup. The syllabus mentions field trips to local restaurants and festivals and “hands-on experience running a sugar shack.” Yum!
- Advanced Kitchen Chemistry—Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Speaking of food chemistry, MIT also has a course in which students perform weekly “scientific edible experiments” and discuss important subjects such as “cheese making”, the “joys of tofu,” and “the science of spice.” Because if you’ve spent any time watching Top Chef, you’ve probably heard someone refer to food chemistry—learn why!
- Knot Theory—Williams College: You ever get frustrated by your headphones when they get all tangled up in knots while resting in your pocket? Apparently, there is an actual theory about knots that the math department at Williams College is interested in. By using mathematical principles, they might actually answer the age-old question: How do you untie this stupid thing?
- Farside Entomology—Oregon State University: OSU professor Michael Burgett has turned comic strips into a science course—one that he’s taught for 30 years! Using Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” cartoons, Burgett teaches his students about the complex nature of insects and their importance to human life.
- Rockets and Instrumentation—University of Washington: It’s almost like the Mythbusters have created their own class, and they had us at “Rockets.” UW’s Rockets and Instrumentation sounds amazing. Where else are you going to get hands-on experience building rockets and testing them in the field?
- Cyborg Anthropology—Lewis & Clark University: Here’s one for the robotics geeks: Lewis & Clark University already offers many courses in artificial intelligence. And now, some anthropology and sociology courses are getting in on the action. This course allows students to explore and analyze the growing and changing interactions between humans and computers.
These are all fantastic classes to get students to see beyond the textbooks and math quizzes. By showing them the big picture of what they can do with a STEM degree, students can see that science and technology are just as cool as any other degree out there—maybe even cooler.