UNIST offers its undergraduate students a wide range of different possible majors for graduate school to choose from, but one particular major, namely Convergence of Science and Arts (in short CSA), has so far unjustly received very little attention. Offered by the Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, additionally to the engineering part (which consists of not only Environmental but also Chemical, Biological and Design engineering), CSA incorporates fields of arts, music as well as social sciences such as philosophy and economy, which makes it to a truly interdisciplinary major, unique in its kind.
As Heo Huijin, a PhD student majoring in CSA, says, usually research in graduate school is very specific, which sets limitations to your study area. Students focus on a particular subject of interest and dig deeper into the matter to find problems and their solutions.
However, in the Science Walden In-Between lab lead by Prof. Cho, who also teaches CSA courses such as “Scientific Research Methodology”, the graduate students experience research in the opposite way, since a broader area of different subjects is covered, which had sometimes little to do with the previous major of the students.
Currently, students from Chemical, Industrial Design and Environmental Engineering are involved in the CSA major, trying to solve existing problems in our modern society, including aftermath of scientific development, climate change and alienation. Their key is an alternative approach to these challenges, using scientific methodologies coupled with artistic creativity and Korean practical realism.
“It is a continuous challenge and sometimes it’s fuzzy” (Jonas Nyamador)
CSA is a pioneering major, which means that the overall structure and boundaries are not rigidly fixed, rather open and blurry when comparing to well-established majors with strict curriculums. But this, on the other hand, is one of the numerous benefits that CSA and Science Walden offer. Student’s daily lab life differs dynamically from day to day, a great number of team projects and exhibitions are scheduled, cooperation with different UNIST departments as well as artists outside of UNIST are established (e.g. Paju Typography Institute, CCANW), at the same time, students work on their personal research projects they are free to choose during their study. As mentioned previously, CSA student’s undergraduate majors are all different, additionally personal interests and hobbies bring in more diversity in the lab. Drawing on their knowledge and skills, CSA students focus on various different approaches to make a change in society. For example, Bae Jeong Hyeon, who majored in Design Engineering, works primarily on design projects, including the design of the Bee-vi toilet for Science Cabin, Jonas Nyamador and Kim Woo Yeon are both devoted to music, thus putting efforts into making music more tangible
According to the CSA students, everybody regards their major in a different personal way: for some it is a new chance of personal self-expression, some are encouraged to develop a unique idea to take on the social challenges, for others it is a fusion of interest in scientific research, social responsibility and personal hobbies.
“Responsibility is our compass of actions, at the moment, we are not professionals but we act professionally” (Bae Jeong Hyeon)
Due to the Convergence of Science and Arts, science students can become artists and vice versa. A recent exhibition called “Flowing Point”, which can be visited in the EB building 108/110, perfectly reflects this idea. CSA students discovered their own (hidden) artistic sides and tried to express themselves and their thoughts along with professional artists by creating pieces of art for the first time in their lives! Obviously, CSA students benefit from an open-minded atmosphere and freedom of idea development, but on the other hand embrace the responsibility of working hard, managing time according to deadlines and of developing individual ideas of how to contribute as much as possible to Science Walden.
Long story short, Science Walden offering CSA as a major offers you the best of both worlds, merging science and arts. It is a chance to get hands-on experience and widen your horizon. Using this approach, CSA students may be the first to make a change.
Interested but still feeling confused? No worries! Explore the “Flowing Point”, visit Science Cabin and upcoming exhibitions soon and get involved!
By Evelyn Edel