Why do you think the humanities and social sciences are valuable in general and at IMSA? Dr. Cross History, which is what I know most in the humanities, is valuable because it is transformative. It increases cultural literacy and helps us to recognize that the human experience is expansive. It not only helps us to understand others, it also helps us to understand ourselves. History shows how we came to be who we are and why we live the way we do. It shapes us and defines our identities. History, therefore, has the potential to help you become a person of character and an engaged citizen. History is also useful. As I suggested earlier, it teaches critical thinking skills. But also, because it touches upon all forms of human endeavor from arts and languages to science and economics, history is one of the most versatile undergraduate majors, preparing students for work in education, law, business, media, publishing, and many other fields. Companies often value those with educational backgrounds that set them apart from the crowd. I keep in mind what MSNBC host Rachel Maddow once said: “We need people who are good at explaining facts, who are good at editing, and who can visualize things in creative ways. We need good artists and we need good writers – and history is king of that.” Dr. Kotlarczyk Without the humanities, what do you have? Without literature and history and culture, what holds us, as people, together? American schools have been cutting and minimizing art and music programs for decades, and look where we are. Don't get me wrong, I love and value STEM. Without the humanities, though, we become a soulless technocapitalist culture of Elon Musks and Jeff Bezoss whose only interest in or understanding of humans is discovering the fastest way to take their money. The humanities have the potential to make us better citizens and people. With the rise of fascism and authoritarianism both here and abroad, it's more important than ever to have a citizenry that understands its past and can think critically about it. The fascist and authoritarian movements know this, which is why they're trying so desperately to censor topics like discussions on race and gender, and why they're passing laws to try to control what is and is not taught in schools. Ideas have power. The humanities teach us how to engage with and handle that power, instead of being afraid of it. Mr. Kearney I always tell my students that I never expect them to go into academic social science. Rather, I know that they will be successful doctors, engineers, scientists or entrepreneurs. With that in mind, however, they cannot escape the fact that they will always be plugged into the world of politics and economics. They need to vote, they need to pay taxes, and the social world will continue to go on around them. As such, I find it incredibly important to expose students to the concepts that political science and economics have to offer. Moreover, I believe that taking courses in game theory or research design affords students the opportunity to think more critically and deliberately about the world. This allows them, I hope, to become more discerning consumers of media and information in a world that is increasingly overwhelming in that regard. Our students at IMSA and their generation more broadly have the ability to enact great change in the world, but it is critically important that they understand how that work works if they wish to do so. PAGE 21