Letter: The benefits of working cross-discipline



Letter writer Ryan Hurley encourages all students to work and connect with students from other majors and colleges. 

Ryan Hurley

This year has been incredibly busy for me; I’ve gotten involved in the new Student Innovation Center as an Innovation Fellow. The Fellows program has helped me and many others get immersed into more realistic scenarios, whether it’s producing a world without intrusive cookies, working with top-level people and companies like Boeing or John Deere, or just making great connections. The most important thing this program has taught me is how to work on an interdisciplinary team.

Largely, the different colleges stay to themselves, only interacting in very limited scenarios. This is not a good thing, as workforces and life, in general, require you to work with a wide array of people. Before joining the program, I had never really used the engineering side of campus as anything but a path to the library from UDCC, but now I am almost constantly splitting my time between the two halves of campus.

Something I’ve started to understand is just how intertwined the two can be. The engineers always seemed to be doing wacky things beyond my understanding, but I never took the time to deeply try to understand what was going on since it was just so “other” to me. When I talked to the people in engineering, I realized that business and STEM do go together. Just as marketing majors like me need a product to sell, STEM majors need someone who can help facilitate that and ensure a smooth operation to the endpoint.

Iowa State is well known for being a top-tier Ag school, a great engineering school and a fantastic business school. I believe we would be better off as a school if we embraced the idea of ensuring students work with people not just outside of their major but outside of their college. We should be building more connections across campus, which can almost certainly lead to lifelong friends and many benefits to both students and campus in general.

Overall, I am so thankful for the opportunity to work cross-discipline at Iowa State, and I encourage everyone to give it a try.

Ryan Hurley is a senior in marketing.