“Every major is engineering”: Futurist Society Looks to Expand

By Luke Jankovic, Contributor

The Futurist Society collaborated with Don Mackenzie, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Washington, to speak last week Friday on the sustainability of electrical vehicles, and the overall positive outlook he had of the future of said vehicles if proper funding could be secured.

The club, which is dedicated to the discussion of future technologies and their application in society, recently celebrated their first anniversary. They are affiliated with a national network of two other chapters located on the West coast on the U.S.

Club president and engineering major Kiersten Thompson ‘24 took on the daunting task of building the Manhattan College chapter last year. 

“I grew into it, over time,” Thompson said. 

The club currently has 19 active futurists participating in their regular discussions, ranging from automatic-driving vehicles, to electrically-powered aircrafts for public transport and more.

For science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, this club is a paradise that lines up perfectly with their major, where they can incite great conversations meant to enlighten and strengthen their choice in the many possible fields of work that the campus offers. But what about the non-STEM aligned denizens of the campus, and their perspective on the future? How are they represented?

To better connect with the non-STEM students on the campus, many of the members of the society have begun to operate under the motto “STEAM over STEM”; this means placing emphasis on art alongside the four classic STEM fields. 

“The only way to have meaningful discussions is with a diverse group of students and majors,” Thompson said. 

In the future, she even has ideas of holding meetings in multiple buildings, depending on the topic, like RLC for STEM-minded students, and Kelly Commons for those with a general interest.

Kayla Reyes ‘25, vice president of the Futurist Society, is a computer science major who was among the first to join the club, and moderates both physical and virtual meetings. She told The Quadrangle she relates to the difficulties of garnering mass public appeal for topics seemingly geared towards STEM students. She also shared the president’s desire to attract students who may be outside of the perceived reach of futurism on the campus. 

Reyes, along with Thompson and the club’s board, have approached this dilemma by dedicating discussions to all topics relating to technology, as a means to promote creative freedom among individuals. 

“Every major is an engineer … you’re engineering if you solve problems,” Reyes, who is also a visual artist, said. 

Reyes said she believes that artists can use technology to facilitate their creativity which, in turn, breeds more new technology. This echoes the “STEAM” ethos the club so proudly wishes to share, and shows a significant push to unite the divide many see between art and industry.

Will Reed ‘25, a chapter officer on the club’s Discord server, also details bridging the gap between technology and personal interest. With hopes of working in the railroad industry, he said he feels the club’s ideals of innovation through artistry align with his dream of working either in railcars and railways of the future.

 “Everyone should be aware of what the future has in store,” Reed said.