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CICS Holds Discussion on Importance of Social Sciences and Humanities for Computer Science Majors

The College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) held an interdisciplinary panel comprised of UMass professors on January 29 discussing how important it is for computer science majors to study social sciences and humanities.

The panel was co-moderated by CICS undergraduate students Lynn Li ('22) and Ruby Ramsay ('21), who hoped to bring attention to the importance of other academic disciplines.

"I'm really disappointed when I hear my peers speak poorly of the social sciences," Li said. "College is a time to explore different experiences--this panel will shine a light on the importance of interdisciplinary forces."

Ramsay, who has a performing arts background, discussed the importance of interdisciplinary work through her experience as director of TEDx Amherst.

CICS Professor David Jensen, Assistant Professor of Political Science Justin Gross, and Associate Professor of Political Science Meredith Rolfe offered their perspectives on the value of taking classes in other colleges.

"You should pick [classes] that interest you," said Jensen. "Part of what you're trying to do is get an exposure to other ways of thinking--not just the content of that particular course. The topic itself doesn't necessarily matter, it offers a sense of other ways of doing things."

The discussion also focused on the ways in which learning new ways of thinking can assist students later with their careers.

"There are certain key skills that will put you above your peers: innovation, a sense of what people want, and communication abilities," said Gross. "Facebook, for instance, is looking for people who can bring computer science [knowledge] and a capacity to understand people, who have the creative solutions to stave off public anger."

This event was part of the "CICS Community Conversation" series, hosted by the CICS Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The next event in this series, "Gender & Sexuality 101," will take place on March 5, 2019, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Computer Science Building, Rm. 150.