By Oliver Engel | Blogger | SQ Online (2013-2014)
Over the past few months, I’ve been writing about many of the fascinating connections between the field of biology and just about everything else, from art and engineering to literature and ethics. Hopefully, you have noticed the trend that biology really is connected to every aspect of our lives, whether we end up researching in labs or working as artists and engineers.
In today’s scientific community, interdisciplinary is in. Never before have we relied so much on other fields to explore and understand more about our own: computer software allows us to analyze DNA down to the nucleotide, literature like Frankenstein helps us question our sense of scientific ethics, and nanoengineering makes personalized medicine a viable reality.
To the average undergraduate, these connections might just be interesting to read about—but my purpose with this blog is to convince our community of biology majors to get involved with these exciting new developments. I have realized that students from all majors tend to only associate with organizations revolving around their area of study. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m sure that most of the students reading this are in the BSSA, AMSA, or some other bio-organization. But this limits the scope of what you could be doing as an undergraduate! Do you like art and literature? Join a book club or take a visual arts class. How about film or engineering? Try a seminar!
I have noticed that the reason many people don’t get involved is because they have no motivation to start. Classes and schoolwork are only a part of the experience of studying at a university, and UCSD certainly has enough programs and opportunities to fill any schedule with activities. I’ll use myself as an example: I work as a graphic designer for University Centers, tutor seventh-graders at the Preuss School, co-host a weekly radio show on KSDT, and of course, write for Saltman Quarterly as a blogger. Many of the things I personally involve myself in have absolutely nothing to do with biology, and it has allowed me to explore many different fields in my short time as a student here!
Besides extracurricular activities, the wide range of courses offered at UCSD allows us to discover new areas of study, and earn credit in doing so. I personally took Biology and Society, a freshman seminar, and received inspiration for a few of my previous posts, such as “Beyond Biology: Modern Eugenics” and “Putting the ‘Science’ in Political Science.” So go out and take visual arts for your GEs or enroll in a seminar all about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (yes, that’s a real class at UCSD!).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts over the past few months—now it’s your turn to discover your own connections between biology and just about everything else!