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University drops science-business major

The science-business major, an interdisciplinary program that included aspects of the curricula from both the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Science, will no longer be available to those who have not already declared the major beginning in fall 2023.

Interdisciplinary majors are intended to allow students to gain from studying in more than one of Notre Dame’s six colleges. The science-business major had been offered by the University for around 40 years, allowing students to delve into the world of business while also preparing them for a career in healthcare. 

The major intended to qualify the student to enter an MBA program, as well as healthcare professional education such as medical school, dental school, public health or health care administration. The curriculum of the major was varied, allowing students to get the full experience of an interdisciplinary study.

“The major serves a group of students who seek careers in STEM-aligned fields like consulting, the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and healthcare administration. It also serves some preprofessional students who want to gain valuable expertise in the business of running their own practices once they finish medical or dental school,” said Dan Gezelter, associate dean for undergraduate studies, in an email.  “Our science-business graduates have also gone on to law school, graduate school, the nonprofit sector, directly into careers in industry and have even built their own businesses.”

John Nash, a junior in the science-business major, said that the program served his interests in both areas.

“I really liked the major, I think it’s a really good combination of two things that I really care about,” Nash said. “And I wanted to have an experience with both because I feel it’s always good to have a multidisciplinary course load.”

In its place, the College of Business will offer a minor of five courses on the foundation of business, open to students in the College of Science. The minor will provide students a foundational education in business while allowing them to still pursue a career in healthcare.

“The science-business major provides an excellent education on the foundations of business, but restructuring as a primary science major plus the new minor will make this education more broadly available to students with a primary interest in one of the main scientific disciplines,” Gezelter said in an email.  

Nash said he doesn’t believe the minor will foster the same sense of community as the major. 

“There isn’t a course for science-business kids. You take science classes and you take business classes, so I understand where they’re coming from,” Nash said. “I don’t necessarily think it would be too different, but it is nice to kind of meet other kids in the science-business program and know that we all kind of have similar interests. So I definitely think that kind of community would go away.”

Geltzer said that the change will resolve the administrative challenges of a cross-college program.

“Relying on two different colleges to provide the required classes for a major is always a challenge,” Gezelter said in an email. “The College of Business wants to oversee their own academic programs and their own classes and wants to offer a distinct credential for Notre Dame students.”

Gezelter said that the program’s interdisciplinary hiring potential would not end with the major.

“The science-business name helped recruiters find students who had a broad interdisciplinary training in science as well as a firm foundation in business,” Gezelter said in an email. “That recruiting edge may be missing for future classes, but the top-notch training in the sciences and in business will remain for students who combine one of the new minors with a primary major in science.”

Nash said he has been able to advance his career through his science-business major.

“I’m actually interning at DaVita healthcare next summer, which is a healthcare consulting firm that works in kidney care,” Nash said. “And they said that my major, science-business, really stood out to them because it’s not something a lot of other universities offer and they thought it was super unique and really played into what their company is all about.”

The science-business major as students once knew it is unlikely to return to Notre Dame, but Gezelter said there is hope for a new major with similar tenets.

“Once we have approval to sunset the major, it is not likely to come back,” Gezelter said in an email. “The science dean’s office is currently looking at options for a new interdisciplinary science major that will share many of the strengths of the Science-Business major.”

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‘We have but this one short life’: ‘Fire of Love’ sizzles at DPAC

When the unnatural destruction of France during World War II subsided, Katia and Maurice Krafft stepped out of the flames. Although they would not meet for another two decades, the couple experienced a mutual childhood ignition — the love of volcanoes sparked that within them. 

Brilliantly juxtaposing the unnatural flames of human war with grandiose lava flows and bubbling cauldrons of hot mud, “Fire of Love,” National Geographic’s most complete exploration of the human condition, intersperses gorgeous graphic explanations of geological phenomena with films made by the Kraffts during their adventures. My mouth gaped in awe for 90 minutes straight. The film’s stars are also its creators: Maurice and Katia were world-renowned volcanologists and humble yet incredible filmmakers. 

Often stepping too close to the lava and constantly dreaming about riding his canoe down a lava flow, Maurice, alongside his film camera, is the visionary, capturing dreams for the world to see. Between the more serious topics covered in Sara Dosa’s documentary, Maurice’s “dad jokes” add a comedic lightness that made the viewing experience less overwhelmingly intense and much more fun. 

Katia, less than half Maurice’s size, is the true genius, capturing precise stills of the red, yellow and gray mountains that draw the couple ever closer. Although Maurice jokes that the couple often “erupts” at each other, their love is evident. 

Even as they both note that television appearances, books and films are nothing but the easiest way to pay the bills when they would rather be near the fire, the Kraffts’ filmmaking truly blurs the line between art and science. Utilizing a Wes Anderson-esque God’s Eye perspective, Maurice and Katia zoom out to show geologic scale and zoom in to show their volcanologist instruments at work. 

The documentary, however, does not delve too deeply into the science. As a history major, I was satisfied with the narrator’s calm explanation of plate tectonics and the beautiful visuals that went along with it. But “Fire of Love” is a romance through and through. Simultaneously, it captures Maurice and Katia’s love for each other and their mutual love for the Earth. Possibly disappointing the scientists, though, volcanology methods remain a mystery to me even after two watches.

And when the Kraffts are not there to capture an eruption, director Sara Dosa does an even better job of demonstrating volcanic scale. Katia and Maurice are stuck in France when Mt. St. Helens erupts in 1980, so they could provide no footage, but Dosa compiles a beautiful and horrifying collage: a journalist abandons their camera in a nearby village as ash hurls towards it; a hiker 50 kilometers away photographs an ash cloud that obscures their entire field of vision; and a villager hundreds of kilometers further witnesses the mushroom cloud that ensues mere minutes after eruption. 

Witnessing those images in turn, I couldn’t help but gape. In all honesty, the images are beautiful, but I felt almost guilty experiencing awe at such a destructive event. Dosa soon brought me back to reality. For how awe-inspiring the documentary is, it is not naively romantic.

Katia and Maurice are not religious, nor are they fond of humanity as a natural force. If it were possible to eat rocks, they may never come down from the volcano back into society. 

“We have but this one short life before we return to the ground,” they say. But Katia and Maurice are not nihilistic nor egoistic. When Nevado del Ruiz erupts in Columbia and kills 25,000 people, they spring into action, creating films and action plans to inspire evacuation efforts in other volcano zones. This time, governments listen to the volcanologists, saving thousands of future lives. 

Of course, Katia and Maurice know that their short life will come to an end, and it soon does. In the 1991 Japanese Mt. Unzen eruption, the lovers return to the ground next to each other, buried under a flow of lava, forever enshrined in the flames that created them. However cliché it may seem, I stepped out of DPAC feeling more grounded, more willing to search.

Title: “Fire of Love”

Starring: Maurice and Katia Krafft

Director: Sara Dosa

If you like: “The Alpinist,” “Free Solo,” “Moonrise Kingdom”

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Mark Valenzuela

Contact Mark at mvalenz3@nd.edu