The March 4, 2014, edition of the Wall Street Journal had an article that, quite frankly, blew me away. It highlighted the unprecedented rise of all things zombie. The article told of some interesting recent trends.
Zombie studies are rapidly invading academia and university studies. The University of Arizona PhD English program enjoys dissertations related to zombie studies. At California State University-East Bay, they offer Philosophy 3432: Religion, Monsters and Horror, a course that resulted from a collection titled Zombies Are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the Walking Dead . Other zombie studies appear at Clemson University, University of California-Riverside and Cal State Northridge. Twenty scholarly books on zombies have been published in the past five years; there had been only 10 in the previous 10 years. Zombie studies have invaded economics, religion and medicine programs at universities.
Not all academics, thankfully in my opinion, embrace this trend. English professor Mark Bauerline authored a book titled, “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.” He sees a danger in these studies. Another policy wonk for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni says these zombie and vampire courses are helping ruin American students’ brains. This pushback from some academics provides me the encouragement to press on with life!
What is my point? I’m glad you asked!
We recently celebrated National Engineers’ Week. This is an annual celebration of the value that engineering brings to our world. It reminds us of the importance of studying subjects related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Nearly every state is ramping up efforts to attract young students to STEM studies. STEM studies often lead to very rewarding careers in engineering.
Allow me to pose a hypothetical question to any young person considering these options. I will respectfully borrow the approach so effectively used by Dirty Harry. “So, you are asking yourself whether you should study zombies or engineering. You are wondering which will allow you to pay back your student loans and provide a viable income in the future. So if you choose to study zombies, you have to ask yourself a question: ’Do I feel lucky?’”
May I encourage any young person who has aptitude in mathematics and the sciences to seriously consider a career in engineering? In my opinion, an engineering career has two advantages:
- It provides an opportunity to make valuable contributions to society and is able to provide a viable income
- Engineers will be critically important to helping society recover from the zombie apocalypse