First published on September 6, 2016. FYI: My internet service has been down all day.
In the mid-1960s, the late Doug Chaffee, a very dear friend (I would rank him as my #2 best friend, ever) was the head of the IBM art department. Oh, you did not realize that any corporation dealing with any form of engineering, space, science, and the government had an art department? Doug was the person charged with doing a very quick rendering of the initial vision of what the Apollo-Saturn V launch vehicle would look like. It was the day NASA would make its pitch to various House and Senate sub-committees for funding for the Apollo Program. At the last minute they realized there was no decent version of what the launch vehicle would look like, and they could not pitch their plan for funding without it. Doug had been doing much of the advance art work on the project. He had just a couple hours to create a black and white piece that could be very quickly put into a slide. One of the reasons the Apollo Program received full funding was because of Doug’s art. (I now own the original) He had a degree in art and commercial art, with a life-long interest in science and technology. He did not, though major in what we today call STEM. A few months later
The other day, in a symposium honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Star Trek, there was a symposium in NYC, conducted by NASA. One of the topics was NASA, science, Star Trek, and the arts. The bottom line was that in order for the US to have a viable presence in space, we must have artists, writers, and those involved in the humanities to envision it before science can build it. But – if you listen to the left, that’s not quite true.
“…“A chronic shortage of engineering students threatens America’s role as the world’s leading innovator and continues to impede our nation’s fragile economic recovery,” wrote Paul Otellini, a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, in a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post. The council is holding a series of meetings to find ways to fix a perceived national problem: an engineering shortage. Otellini and the council claim that such a shortage seriously threatens America’s ability to create jobs, and that the U.S. risks losing its innovation edge to China and India, which are producing a million engineers per year — 12 times as many as the United States. The council hopes to increase U.S. engineering output by 10,000 engineers per year in an effort to deal with this crisis…” WPost
The idea was to make science and engineering cool, and encourage students to want to study the STEM fields. The problem is that in order to do this, the humanities have all but been dumped in many colleges, universities and in high schools. We are turning out a generation of students who have no idea what art is, don’t know literature, are abjectly ignorant when it comes to history, philosophy, and critical thinking. Instead of encouraging both STEM and humanities, the Obama Administration has made a critical error in pushing only STEM. According to the anti-arts & humanities ad put out by Wells Fargo, Inc., one reason your child should go into STEM studies and abandon the arts is because they can make more money in STEM fields. Oh? Just a career in ‘art‘ can bring in more money than a mid-level career in technology. The salary is competitive with science majors.
Fifty years ago on Thursday, the world changed, for the better. No one would expect a television show very few people were watching to even survive a season, let alone two incarnations, five different series, a dozen motion pictures, and a relationship with NASA which spawned the prototype shuttle being named Enterprise, along with the inspiration for countless astronauts and employees within the industry. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space credited Nichelle Nichols for the reason she became an astronaut. I consider the character of Lt. Uhura my role model. One of the reasons I became a writer, a lobbyist, and opened the first gallery dedicated to space art was because of her inspiration. Because of Lt. Uhura an entire generation of little girls realized we could be involved in space just like men! I am a writer, a lover of opera, baseball fanatic, and slightly artistic, but my first love is space. I remember a copy of a book about the moon written for children. I think I still have it, somewhere. It was the first book I ever treasured. I would take it outside at night and study the moon, while reading it. I wanted a career about space, but it was something girls didn’t do. Then – came Star Trek and Lt. Uhura.
But – I am seriously dyslexic, a rare form of dyslexia were I have a very difficult time working with numbers. By the time I reached high school not only could I barely pass math, but I had problems with science, because of all the numbers. I love science, especially geology, paleontology, astronomy, and archaeology. I would love to have studied archaeology, but when I was going to college, it was discouraged. It didn’t pay well. Today, of many of the sciences, archaeology is a blending of the humanities and science. It is also now a wide open field with mid-level salaries averaging anywhere between $75-90,000 a year. But – as for the STEM careers which the liberals praise? There is a great big fat lie being perpetuated by the Obama Administration.
Contrary to what the Wells Fargo, Inc. ad portrays, careers, good high-paying careers in STEM careers are hard to achieve. The reason – over-employment. According to career projections, the best paying job for even someone new in the field is a petroleum engineer. That’s nice, but contrary to what the Obama Administration is telling everyone it is a career going bust. There are NO available jobs in the field. The pay scale has fallen. Last year only about 200 students at Texas Tech even want to consider a major in the subject. One projection is that we will need approximately 3400 new petroleum engineers between now and 2024. Last year only 64% of grads found work. It is projected within the next couple of years only 24% will find jobs. The problem with STEM studies is that graduates are basically ignorant without the arts.
The artistic world is rightly furious because of the ad. It is misleading and an outright lie. One of the reasons for the ad is due to the fact that Wells Fargo, Inc. has had a few problems with the Feds and their student loan practices. There are problems with the company and minority discrimination. The theater community is rabid about the ad, which suggests to parents that their children would be much better off with a STEM based career than being an actor, dancer, singer, or theater professional. The implication is that careers in the arts do not pay that well, there are no careers, and STEM studies are superior.
Emily Willingham, a biologist wrote:
“…The message here is, of course, that the future is science. That becoming a ballerina or an actor is a dreamscape fairytale that has no place in a real world of cold hard cash and sciencey-sounding things like botany. Imagine if some parents buy into that ad’s message and try to push their budding ballerina into botany instead. The world loses an artist and gains a mediocre, uninterested botanist who’s given up her life’s dream? Lose–lose.
Has anyone at Wells Fargo ever met a botanist? Do they have any idea how much botanists earn? Depending on which sites you consult, the median hovers around the $50K range and Indeed.com gives the average as $46K. Not exactly breaking the Wells Fargo bank with those salaries. Honestly, botany is kind of the ballet of biology, reserved for committed, hardworking idealists only…”
Or what about this comment? The ad can seriously harm kids who want to go into the arts but have allowed the DOE to influence their choice of studies. You see very little about someone opening their own business, going into real estate, or risking it as free-lancing in art, music, or as a writer. Parents have been taught to think the best careers are STEM.
The space program, NASA cannot exist without artists, writers, science fiction, historians, and dreamers. Science fiction, Star Trek is what ignited fifty years of dreamers. Those dreamers who lived in the basement of their parents’ homes saw gadgets on the original series and decided to do something about it. It’s like the Trekkie Geek who wanted to create computers like Star Wars. He dropped out of college and began tinkering in his parents’ garage. he’s now the wealthiest person on the planet. As any current NASA astronaut or employee and see how Star Trek – the arts – shaped their career path. It wasn’t about STEM or even education. It was about the dream of space travel.
“…It’s also worth pointing out that humanities graduates experience more equitable employment outcomes along gender lines than graduates from other fields, especially engineering, and especially at the graduate level. Women with graduate degrees in the humanities do experience slightly higher unemployment than their male colleagues—3.5 percent versus 3.4 percent. But those women still fare better than women with graduate degrees in engineering, who experience 3.6 percent unemployment, compared with 2.5 percent for men.
I should stress that my point is not that prospective students should major in humanities fields rather than, say, engineering—I have no wish to erase the real differences that exist among all of these disciplines or pit them against each other in any way. When you read the news and see the vast array of scientific, political, and cultural challenges facing the United States today, it becomes pretty clear that we need more and better-educated college graduates in every discipline, and we need all those graduates to be equipped with a broad base of knowledge and intellectual skills that cut across disciplines….”
Just a little FYI: The career path of choice for terrorists is STEM, especially engineering. There is a good reason for that, including the fact that with the balance of humanities young brains are open to being washed. One field which is taught with ethics and has now been abandoned is ethics. There is one other reason the Obama Administration began pushing STEM. The career path of choice in 2011 when the brainwashing began was go go into banking and finance. STEM is much more socialist. The real problem, now, is that there is now over-employment in STEM fields. We should be expecting salaries to start reflecting over-employment one of these days.
“…The truth is that there is little credible evidence of the claimed widespread shortages in the U.S. science and engineering workforce. How can the conventional wisdom be so different from the empirical evidence?…”
You know all those jobs in botany the Wells Fargo, Inc. ad promotes? There basically aren’t any unless a person can tech, get a job with a seed company or work in a nursery. Professional ballet dancers make more money. There are no real careers for a botanist these days. The average base pay for a private dance instructor – you know, the ones who have dance school for little kids is around $77,000! It is basically the average pay for a software engineer. You want a career as an electrical engineer? In 2013 the field lost 35,000 jobs.
The dirty little Administration lie is that the US needs more STEM careers. The real problem is the US is producing far too many scientists and engineers, resulting in serious unemployment or underemployment in the fields. According to Scientific American,
“…“People should have a reasonable expectation of being able to practice their science if they’re encouraged to become scientists,” says labor economist Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation “It shouldn’t be a guarantee, but they ought to have a reasonable prospect.” But today, however, few young PhDs can get started on the career for which their graduate education purportedly trained them, namely, as faculty members in academic research institutions. Instead, scores of thousands of them spend the years after they earn their doctorates toiling in low-paying, dead-end postdoctoral “training” appointments (called postdocs) in the laboratories of professors, where they ostensibly hone skills they would need to start labs of their own when they become professors. In fact, however, only about 25 percent of those earning American science PhDs will ever land a faculty job that enables them to apply for the competitive grants that support academic research. And even fewer—15 percent by some estimates—will get a post at the kind of research university where the nation’s significant scientific work takes place….”
What is so ironic is that there are parents have been so brainwashed by the Obama Administration and their false narrative about STEM studies, that parents are not allowing their children to take literature, history, psychology, art, or even music. They must concentrate on science and math. By doing this, they are damning their children to wretched ignorance. They can’t even write a viable paper, or construct an argument using logic.
Someone needs to explain to the Obama Administration, and the business world that before anything can be realized, the dreamers, the artists, historians, philosophers, and architects must envision it. The real problem here is the Administration’s obsession with STEM. Why? What is the reason behind destroying the humanities? One aspect of this that is fascinating is that I’ve spent hours on this, researching jobs and statistics. For some strange reasons the Obama Administration is not interested in actual job figures. I guess if they were, it would blow a hole in their STEM hysteria.
Just remember, the fool who doesn’t know much about history is doomed to repeat it.
Now – about that little girl who wants to study ballet? It’s going to cost a pile of money to send her to college, upward of $120,000. But – contrary to the botanist who will be lucky to even find a job in their field, the little who grows up to be a ballerina has an opportunity to create a very nice life for herself. No, it’s not on Broadway or at the Bolshoi, but in small town America. If she goes to a small town where there is no dance studio for kids, within a very short amount of time she’ll be making around $77,000 a year, just teaching little Mary to tap dance, then planning a recital for all the little kids she teaches. The botanist and the chemical engineer, or petroleum engineer, or electrical engineer who went to school with her (and yes, I’m being gender biased) will either be unemployed or barely surviving.