Recently, the STEAM Council, a relatively new extracurricular program at Rockhurst that focuses on STEAM-related talks from students, teachers, and outside sources, brought in Eamon Duede to present. STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math respectively is a new curriculum that Rockhurst is applying in order to increase interest in the sciences. Mr. Duede spoke at lengths about what he did, why he did it, how he became a Philosopher of Science, and what mistakes students should avoid when heading into college academia.
Mr. Duede has a Bachelor and Masters in Philosophy from The University of Chicago, and is currently working towards his Doctorate in Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of Science deals with the “whys” of science. It doesn’t deal with the objectives of scientific study, but instead with the human condition involved in science. It deals with how scientific research works as a human enterprise, trying to limit biases and bribes in order to increase the accuracy of scientific works. They identify areas of friction, and Mr. Duede creates formulas that loosen such areas. They also identify what it is that science tries to do and limit involvement in areas that would be fruitless, while directing funding to areas with greater conceivable benefits.
Mr. Duede stated that the road that got him into Philosophy of Science was hindered by the fact that he entered college with a single goal in mind: to become a lawyer and enter law school. Philosophy is a necessary course to take in order to get into law school, but because he was solely interested in Law school at the time, he neglected all paths that were opened to him. Once he realized that he was interested more in the study of philosophy itself than in the law, it was already too late. He had been so focused on becoming a lawyer that all other paths to him had closed.This led him to change his goal, and simply resulted in increased schooling.
Because of the fact that Mr. Duede has only spent his adult in academia, the authority with which he says things may be limited. Many feel that if one has only experienced the softer life of college, one doesn’t have the authority to make statements to students about what they should do with their lives. Jake Gose, a junior, who had watched Mr. Duede present, said, “I felt that he had a lot to talk about concerning what he does and STEAM in general, but concerning his advice to students, I was doubtful if it was entirely applicable or if he himself was even an authority on the matter.” Joseph Broyles, another junior, who also watched the speech, stated, “I enjoyed the presentation he had to offer but felt that his validity was questionable on things outside his area of expertise.” Those who acquire real life experiences outside of schooling have the experience they need to tell students what they should and should not do with their lives.
The purpose of college to some is to simply get a degree and leave to become a functioning member of society. Some necessary reasons for continuing with schooling are if one is trying to become a teacher, lawyer,doctor etc.; in that case, extra schooling is necessary to pursue the career. However, one who remains at school simply to “find himself” and “figure out his future” is not actively pursuing a career and trying to become a functioning member of society. Mr Duede stated himself that “the first two years of college should be more focused on opening your horizons to what you want to become than on being goal oriented.” Rather, they are continuing to remain in the safe bubble that academia provides instead of providing useful functions and acquiring a comfortable income. Those who haven’t experienced life outside of the comfortable bubble of school have not acquired the necessary skills to advise students on what to do with their lives.
When interviewed about the reason for choosing certain speakers, Ting Gong, the president of the Steam Council, stated, “We choose people who have a history in STEAM-related topics. Those with an authority on the sciences can interest others who have a curiosity in the field with what they do.”
Mr. Duede, might very well have an authority on the subject on which he is speaking about. He seems to have impacted those he spoke to and appeared to have an authority in what he was talking about. His speech was truly enjoyable and there was definite information to be gleaned from what he said about the growing importance and influence of STEAM. While he might not have the authority and experience to advise students on what they should do with their life, he is able to interest them in STEAM and certain sciences with what he does.