Baylor Symposium to Examine Crossroads between Humanities and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

April 7, 2015

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (April 7, 2015) – Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences will present a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Humanities Symposium from 12:30-5 p.m. Thursday, April 9, on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center.

The symposium will highlight the value of study in the humanities as well as research and teaching at Baylor that combines humanities and STEM. It was designed to spur conversation and collaboration that will lead to grants, publications and curricular innovation.

“Baylor is uniquely equipped to have really perceptive conversations about the intersections between STEM and the humanities,” said Heidi Bostic, Ph.D., chair of the department of modern languages and cultures and professor of French, as well as symposium chair. “Students will find in the workplace that challenges cannot always be solved with just one discipline.”

Speaking at the symposium will be Baylor alumnus Scott Harper, M.D., B.A. (English, German and Biology) ’88, a physician specializing in infectious diseases, and Roger Malina, Ph.D, professor of physics.

Harper serves as a Center for Disease Control and Prevention career epidemiology field officer in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he leads zoonotic, vector-borne and influenza surveillance. In addition, he participates in response activities for more than 70 reportable communicable diseases, including agents of bioterrorism. He recently traveled to Africa to fight the spread of Ebola.

Malina is a professor of physics and the Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a physicist, astronomer and executive editor of Leonardo Publications at MIT Press. His research focuses on connections among the natural sciences and arts, design and humanities. He is a former director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence in France and a member of its observational cosmology group, which performs investigations on the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

The schedule of events is as follows.

12:30-1:45 p.m. Opening Keynote Speaker

Malina will open the symposium with a lecture titled “In praise of Hybridity: New Forms of Collaboration between the Arts and Humanities with the Sciences and Engineering.”

2-3 p.m. Baylor Faculty Panel

Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences faculty Susan Bratton, Ph.D., professor of environmental science, Karol Hardin, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish, and Julia Hitchcock, M.F.A, associate professor of art, will discuss the relationships between STEM and the humanities with Robyn Driskell, Ph.D., divisional dean for humanities and social sciences and professor of sociology, moderating.

3 p.m. Break for Refreshments

3:30-4:45 p.m. Closing Keynote Speaker

Harper will close the symposium with a lecture titled “Anatomy of an Outbreak: Ebola in Africa and the United States.”

“This is an opportunity for students to be challenged by ideas and to find role models in people who are involved in the intersection between STEM and the humanities,” Bostic said. “Hopefully, they will come to learn that solutions to problems will never fit in neat, separate boxes. They will be led to think about their own disciplines in a different way and gain a deeper appreciation for the disciplines of others.”

The idea for the symposium was inspired by the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences strategic plan A&SPIRE: Acts of Determination in Support of Baylor University and Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris.

All events are free and open to the public. Cashion Academic Center is located at 1401 S. Fourth St.

by Ashton Brown, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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