The College of Arts and Letters Brings Out the Best in its Students

4/19/2011

Stevens Institute of Technology has one of the most renowned engineering programs in the country; however, there is more here than just science and math. Beyond the engineering curriculum lies a hidden, yet quickly growing, gem – the College of Arts and Letters (CAL). 

Incorporating different areas of study, Stevens gives its students a variety of diverse opportunities to pursue. From Philosophy to Gender and Cultural Studies, the CAL program offers a major or minor for everyone.  

Juliet Turalski, Sarai Cardoza, and Matthew Kelly did not come to Stevens with the intention of studying in CAL, but eventually decided to pursue degrees within the humanities.  This course of study has led them to obtain jobs in the News and Media Relations department at Stevens where they are learning the essential tools that will guide them beyond their college years.

Juliet Turalski, currently in her third of five years, is a Literature and Communications major with a minor in Gender and Culture Studies. She did not find her true passion until this past year: “The Business and Technology program is a great program at Stevens, but I knew after taking some classes that this was not what I was meant to do in my future.  About six months ago I decided to change completely.” 

Juliet is also pursuing a Professional Communications graduate certificate to complement her studies.  She is on the Varsity Fencing Team and is responsible for starting a Polish club - known as PACS - on campus.

 “So many wonderful doors have opened up for me after I made my decision to switch to CAL and I truly can say that being at Stevens has been a very positive experience so far,” states Juliet.  “I have become more involved here on campus in the past year and it has truly been an amazing gift to be a part of such a diverse, tight-knit group of individuals.” 

Another door recently just opened for Juliet – a position as a student writer for News & Media Relations. She will focus on writing stories that highlight Stevens students and different events on campus.

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity, not only as a reason to attend more events on campus and interview students, but to explore my field as a journalist and see what I really want to get into down the road.  If I ever have an opportunity to learn something, I never hesitate to take it.”

Also working for the department, Sarai Cardoza, switched her major from Computer Engineering to Art and Technology in her 3rd semester at Stevens: “I found that Computer Engineering was not for me anymore so I investigated CAL half way through my sophomore year.  I’ve always loved the arts and humanities and looking back now I have no regrets with my decision.”

One of Sarai’s best memories from her experience in the program was the close-knit group of students who were in all of her classes.

“When it came to the critiques, everyone had a good sense of humor,” says Sarai. “The Art & Tech program is such a tight-knit group of people so everyone got to know each other, making the four hour studio classes worth-while and enjoyable.”

Sarai now interns as an assistant editor for Multimedia.  Her major has provided the experience of various programs of video editing that she can apply to the internship.  She also has another job working in the DeBaun Theater where she designs posters for various events on campus.  She says: “It might look simple at first, but there is much more that goes into a poster than what meets the eye.”  Sarai has also been involved in a number of clubs on campus including the Choir, Stevens Dramatic Society, Knitting Club, and Archery Club.  

Graduating this spring, Sarai has found her true passion in design work, and as she soon enters the professional world, is confident that the tools she has acquired in CAL will guide her in the future.

Another Art and Technology student, Matthew Kelly, known as “Nando” around campus, switched from Mechanical Engineering in his sophomore year.  Ironically, he attended a magnet school in high school where he took all pre- engineering courses.  Once he got to Stevens, however, he realized that he was more drawn to the design aspect of engineering than the theoretical. This allowed him to venture over to CAL, which ultimately influenced his decision to change majors. 

His favorite attribute of the program is the flexibility it provides, allowing the students to choose their own subject matter for most of the projects.  He also appreciates the professional criticism that is given by his professors.

“Constructive criticism is what makes you become a good artist,” asserts Matt.

Outside of CAL, Matt is the president of Off Center, the sketch comedy club on campus, as well as the Dramatic Society, and APO.

“It is a great thing to be able to learn in the classroom and be able to implement the tools into everything else,” Matt says. He was a part of the notorious Castle Point King competition last year where he had to create his own video.  He applied his knowledge of video programs taught in the Art and Technology program, which was an eye-opening experience: “It was the first time I did something professional.  Once I saw that I could make that visual look like that, I knew that I could do anything.”

This very passion brought him to his current internship, also with Multimedia. He works with different programs that are teaching him everything he needs to know when he graduates.  “The program at Stevens is moving towards the future of art,” Matt confidently states.

“The CAL multimedia internships have been of tremendous value to the University’s News and Media Relations department.  The classes the students have taken at Stevens have well prepared them for the requirements of the job.  We are a hands-on, creative solutions team in a fast-paced environment, focused on quality and outcomes.  The work ethic, creativity and technical skill of the CAL students is a natural fit and exactly what we needed,” Christopher Robinson, Director of Multimedia for Stevens, says.

In pursuit of perfection, three CAL majors have been able to develop and follow their passions at Stevens, which has opened up endless opportunities for them.  CAL breaks the mold of a typical engineering school and as a result allows students, because of the diverse opportunities that Stevens offers, to develop their true passion.