Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Phi Beta Kappa

Liberal arts are key

Posted on December 6, 2016

The national honor society Phi Beta Kappa took the opportunity of its 240th anniversary to celebrate the ways in which the study of the "arts and sciences prepare students for a lifetime of success by developing inventive employees and thoughtful citizens."

The newest members of Wheaton's chapter of the honor society—members of the Class of 2017 inducted this fall—joined in the celebration by reflecting on the advantages of liberal arts study.

Wheaton's scholars expressed appreciation for the breadth of discipline and types of learning that the college's curriculum offers.

Hannah Lytle, ’17

Hannah Lytle '17

The liberal arts have allowed me to expand my perspective and encouraged me to combine elements of different disciplines in ways that continually enhance my coursework and individual research projects," said Hannah Lytle '17, a Wheaton Phi Beta Kappa member who is majoring in English and history.

CamilleBuffington

Camille Buffington '17

Similarly, Camille Buffington '17 said she relishes the way in which her interests in disparate disciplines intersect in unexpected ways. "For example, I co-authored an article over the summer with one of my English professors, and I ended up using my background in Arabic to research texts in online databases in Qatar and Egypt.

"I recently wrote an English paper, as well, which was peppered with psychological evidence proving my thesis. Everything connects, and the liberal arts allow us to realize this," Buffington said.

Liam Grace-Flood '17

Liam Grace-Flood '17

For Liam Grace-Flood '17, a double major in mathematics and studio art who is enrolled in Wheaton's dual-degree program in engineering with Dartmouth College, prizes the freedom of thought and creativity that broad study encourages. "Liberal arts represents unbounded curiosity; transcendence of obligatory categorical disciplines; and an acknowledgment that future progress won't come from increasingly niche study, but from a broader perspective."

Amanda Brazell '17 agrees.  "Studying liberal arts means I have the freedom to explore different subjects and have the opportunity to take courses that satisfy and encourage my intellectual curiosity.  I enjoy the flexibility a liberal arts curriculum allows and believe that I have learned so much because of it ," said Brazil, a double major in economics and mathematics.

Brynn Werner '17

Brynn Werner '17

Ultimately, the breadth of the liberal arts offers students the opportunity to discover new horizons, said psychology major Brynn Werner '17. "Through studying a variety of disciplines I am able to gain invaluable skills that will help to mold me into a well rounded individual, as well as equip me with a deeper understanding of the world and those who live in it."

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