Chemistry Major, History Minor

Our series introducing Bethel students who combined a minor in History with a major in a seemingly unrelated field of study continues with Bethel senior Andrea Kanani (’14), who has already completed her History minor and is now wrapping up a double-major in Biochemistry and Chemistry.

How and when did you decide to minor in History?

I was a part of the Humanities program and really loved learning the history behind the literature, art, music, and theology. I couldn’t imagine how I could not take some kind of class that was history-related as I thought about majoring in science. By the end of fall semester my sophomore year I was still undecided, but at that point I was leaning more strongly towards a science major. A combination of different conversations over my first two years at Bethel with GW, Prof. Gehrz, Prof. Rivera, and Prof. Kooistra helped me realize I might want to try to fit in a History minor.  I hadn’t even thought of that option before talking about it with different professors; it was either history or science in my mind. By the end of my sophomore year I had finally decided on majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in History.

Was it hard to finish a History minor at the same time as your majors?

Andrea Kanani
Andrea in Cambridge, England last January, during the History of Science in Europe trip led by chemists Wade Neiwert and Trey Maddox

I brought in some history credits, which helped making fitting in the History minor easier. Sometimes it did get hard trying to work around upper-level science classes that I had to take with history classes I wanted to take, but there is such a variety of history classes, that a good one always seemed to eventually fit in. Homework-wise, fitting in a history major was both wonderfully helpful and a little frustrating. History classes were such a great way to take a bit of break from the methodical thinking of science classes. It was wonderful to stop thinking in terms of reactions and calculations to read, think, and discuss social issues, morals, and where we fit into the world. At times it got frustrating trying to fit in time to read or do research for a paper when a lab takes longer than expected and writing a lab report feels like a priority.         

What do you hope to do after leaving Bethel?

For now, I plan on taking a year off to work and apply to graduate school.  I’m leaning towards doing research, especially for medical devices.

What would you say to someone who loves history but wants to major in a STEM field: why should they think about minoring in History?

Do it! Make it work!

Even if you can’t fit in the actual minor with all the science requirements, try fitting in as many Gen Eds through the History Department as possible. Try choosing to do research papers that relate to the history of science. There are, of course, the benefits of better writing skills or looking like a more rounded student on an application, but if you really love history, the history will help you have a greater appreciation for the science you want to do. Take history classes through the eyes of a scientist and watch for when and how science played a major role in history.

<<Read the first entry in this series                  Read the next entry in this series>>

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