Student graduates with Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies
By Chelsea Feinstein
Dylan Chow (’21, CAS’23) became the third student to graduate with the College of General Studies’ Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies this spring.
The minor, introduced in spring 2021, focuses on the intersection of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and the way that thinking across these disciplines can help to solve real-world problems. Students are required to complete two 200-level CGS courses, two interdisciplinary electives, an interdisciplinary directed study, and a Cross-College Challenge course, a project-based elective taught by two instructors from different disciplines. They also must participate in Capstone, a group research project.
Chow’s directed study project focused on the history of Asian American food in greater Boston, culminating in a paper entitled “An Immigrant’s Cuisine: Second Generation Chinese Americans’ Cultural Relationship Through Food (1970s to the present day)”. He worked with Social Sciences Lecturer Kathryn Lamontagne to complete the project.
“I would recommend the minor because it is an excellent way to make strong connections with your favorite professors and provides you with strong communication and leadership skills,” Chow said.
CGS Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development Lynn O’Brien Hallstein said that Chow’s project allowed him to apply a creative approach to understanding a topic of interest to him, the interconnections between food history and Asian cuisine and the actual making of Asian cuisine.
“In addition to weekly readings, reading reflections and weekly discussion with his faculty mentor, and an end-of-the-semester research paper, Dylan also answered his research questions by dining out at restaurants and attempting authentic recipes at home, which also served as the field work or experimental aspect of the directed study,” O’Brien Hallstein said. “In this way, Dylan’s work was emblematic of the goals of the minor because he applied a creative approach to his study of the food history of Asian cuisine while also engaging in a rigorous interdisciplinary scholarly research.”
O’Brien Hallstein encouraged all students to consider the minor because of how it prepares students for the real world by developing their problem solving skills across disciplines.
“Because the minor encourages students to build the broad base of interdisciplinary learning they need to solve problems, think critically and creatively, take on complex intellectual and practical challenges, and cultivate habits of mind that will help them succeed in any career, the minor can help prepare students to develop the skills and knowledge they will need to grapple with the complex issues they will face in our interconnected world and professions,” she said.