Usefulness of an Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences BS

Hello, everyone.
I have been attending college part-time for several years, working toward my AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with intentions to later continue for a bachelor's degree. I want to take advantage of the opportunity of being moderately early in my credits to decide on a wise path for myself. I have several interests but, for a primary career that is flexible and interesting, I have been leaning toward possibly freelance informal science education, which could involve illustration, photography, writing, research, and other means; it does not need to be only education, though. I want to allow myself to explore and consider many career options up the road.
It seems to me that thorough education in the sciences would be beneficial. Part of my reasoning is that it interests me, it could be related to a variety of professional ideas that I have considered, there is always a need for it, and science-related professions (among my varied interests) would likely require the most training if I am to be involved in them.
My main point for approaching you with this is that I would appreciate any insight -- particularly from those who have professions similar to what I am considering -- into whether a BS in Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences is as useful as it seems to be. The one that I have found nearby introduces physics, biology, chemistry, geology, and mathematics (mostly calculus); then, three of those areas are chosen by the student for more advanced courses.
I have asked advisors and researched on-line about the usefulness of such a degree, but I am finding little consistency or thorough help. I know to approach individual employers or visit their websites for particular job qualifications (which I have been doing), and learn from professionals in the fields that interest me how to pursue those paths (some of which I have found on-line). This is why I am asking you.
I am not sure whether general training in science is too broad for pursuing a desirable career but, as I said, I would like some options and variety (possibly not much of a single field of science). I wonder if choosing a specific field of science or a minor might help; although, I am basically self-taught with some skills (such as drawing, photography, and writing), and I want to use my college courses to develop required yet insufficient knowledge that is difficult to learn without college training.
I apologize for the length of this; I just thought that I needed to explain the gist of my situation and ruminations. Thank you very much for any help you can offer. Take care.
~ Kelly Michelle McMorrow-Hernandez

Hi Kelly Michelle-

My gut reaction is two-fold: study what interests you because it is easier to communicate and teach what you love. 
Studying science is always a good idea, especially if you keep an eye on how to communicate science to the outside world. Science literacy is crucial to understanding the world, and it is sadly lacking. 
Keeping flexible about how writing, teaching and drawing will combine for you is a good idea, especially if you need to support yourself right out of school. Things are shifting fast with all of this and the money pots are not growing. 
Best of luck! stay in touch,

That was basically my undergrad degree.  I'd say that your portfolio is going to be more important than your specific degree, so definitely learn what you want to know!


That is helpful, Cameron, and it is encouraging to know that such a broad degree can lead to this profession, as in your situation. And that was the implication that I have been getting while researching the illustration part of the profession, about a portfolio being the better indicator of skills. Thank you for reaffirming my assumption and hope.
~ Kelly

Hiya Kelly,

As important as your portfolio is, keep learning and staying abreast of social media and the changing expectations by science publications.  Having a strong Twitter, Facebook and especially an art blog presence can really help an artist in the shifting illustration world. A portfolio is no good if no one is encouraged to look at it through links and a social, trafficked site.

I come from a fine arts degree with a smattering of science classes thrown in, and do work more suited to editorial than scientific illustration work per se. But until I started blogging, I never had paying work. A strong presence online in the growing science-art community can help a lot. 

- Glendon

That is very true and good to keep in mind, Glendon. Thank you. I have begun a bit of a professional presence on-line (although with other websites), mostly for writing and a little for drawing (I intend to increase it, though). It is good practice for myself and simutanously becomes a way to display my work to potential employers on my own time.
~ Kelly

I come from a biology degree, so I think there are many paths to become a science illustrator.

My advice... one take an accounting class (summer class or something), knowing how to run a business is extremely helpful. Two, contact contact contacts! Meet everyone you can, volunteer with institutions that interest you, go to parties. You never know who might be looking for artist, have great information about jobs, or might make a life long friend. Be gracious, mail thank you cards to those that help you. Social media is a very useful tool, but it cannot compare with actually knowing your potential clients and being ready for an opportunity.

I'm going to illustrate a children's book, because I play touch football with employees at a museum. Like I said... you never know.

Best of luck,  Catherine

Thank you, Catherine. That is all very good advice. I need to know how to take care of myself financially, and meeting people can put us in unique positions. The people to contact do know other people who just might meet me in one way or another, and the topic of what I am interested in needs to come up somehow to initiate any potential, just in case they can help.
I actually volunteer at a nearby science museum in their butterfly garden, and the one who mainly takes care of that area (who has also taught me much of what I know about the subject) happens to illustrate as well. She did some plant illustrations in handouts for guests, and she made many of the large butterfly and flower paintings on the inner walls of the area's education room. We talked a bit about that when we first met, and I had let her know that I would like to get into scientific illustration. I will probably sometime ask her for some advice about getting into that kind of work and whether there are any opportunities that she might know of, with the museum or anything else.
I'll keep looking!
~ Kelly

education as whole is very much important since it gives a lot of students an oppurtunity to actually find a nice job after college and even have a much better future. But these days lots of discussion has been ongoing about how the financial state is so bad and young individuals shouldn't bother with college, and just get jobs. It seems like a good idea, kind of. But on the contrary it takes more than a personal loan if you don't finish college these days.

I appreciate your advice, Lydia.

I have been going part-time for several years and intend to finish, and fortunately I have had the opportunity to thoroughly consider options by not finishing quickly. I want to approach my education not as just a "ticket to a job," but I am pretty sure that an education in general sciences would greatly benefit me, both for my career (in which I want options) and for my own personal interest -- I want to understand more.

I actually have been trying to find opportunities that would give me a head-start, either with illustration, photography, or writing to gain experience or practice in the informing part of the work, or animal/science-related (including informal education) jobs to gain knowledge that can improve my ability to inform. Besides some self-directed online writing, personal practice in illustration and photography, and voluteering at a local science museum (primarily to teach guests in its butterfly garden), I haven't had much luck yet, but I'm still hopeful that something will fall into place.

Thanks again, and take care.

~ Kelly

The Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program was tailored especially with the multi-talented student in mind-particularly when that multi-talented student has a hard time choosing just the right course of study. Interdisciplinary studies, otherwise known as general education studies, features a well-rounded combination of arts, social sciences, like sociology, humanities, including language and literature, as well as all of the aspects of the biologically and physical sciences.

While historically, tackling a course load filled with interdisciplinary studies featured the benefit of neither a major or a concentration, the Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies grants students the ability to chart their own course of study while still offering the added benefit of becoming a degree holding graduate, of course it will cost cash advance loans. Bachelor's Degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies can also be obtained in specific areas that are characterized by a broad range of study, like child development, education, and industrial technology.

Hi, Clara. I intended to thank you for your advice; it was only an oversight that I noticed just now (almost four months later). But as I read your comment again, I could have sworn that I responded; I'm sorry. Maybe I hadn't finished it or it didn't post for some reason.

I fully agree about strong interests flowing out much more easily than probably anything else. 

Understanding of science affects so much of what we experience and need, which is one reason that I thought that I would be well-off to study it, especially if I have the less-than-common ability to grasp it. I have long thought that, in several of my interests, I want to try to be like a bridge between understanding and not -- I want to know these areas (whether science, music, history, biographies, instructions, or others) as a first-hand professional while being a useful source for guiding those who are novices. 

Income is a concern, which is part of why I want to have many "tools" to use as needed.

It's nice to know that you and others see the sensibility of where I have been trying to convince myself to go, personally and professionally, and how to get there.

And I will stay in touch with this great group. The people of GNSI are a wonderful core that fosters professional and personal advice, encouragement, and kindness in this important and fascinating endeavor of sharing scientific understanding with each other and the public. What a source of reference?!

~ Kelly

Thank you, Viktoria. That is much of its appeal to me.

Currently, with my A.A., I am meeting the humanities-related criterion (basically all of the areas that you had mentioned), English/writing, and probably some illustration, music, and introductory natural sciences. I will then likely focus on the natural sciences in primarily the B.S.

The B.S. that I am looking at is specific in the sense that it is basically only about the sciences, but flexible within that, allowing me to choose which three of five areas (and then which subjects within those three) best meet my interests. Although, if I have credit space to fill aside from my main coursework, I might be able to attend some classes (like education, and more advanced writing and illustration) that can supplement my scientific knowledge to broaden my career-worthy skills.

~ Kelly