Picture by Will Folsom

LMC is not an acronym Georgia Tech students hear very often. Unlike the many IE and CS students that roam Techwood Drive, LMC majors are few and far between in a school home to 27 thousand students. In fact, LMC students make up only 0.5 percent of the undergraduate population at Tech. Housed in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the School of Literature, Media, and Communication attracts individuals who are interested to learn how the humanities shape and are shaped by science and technology.

Lauren Moye, first-year LMC, has diverse interests and was attracted to the program because it is accommodates students like her.

“When I was looking at schools, I knew I have always loved liberal arts and wanted to pursue a major in that area,” she said. “But I chose Tech because: one, I knew that it was a great school, and two, that it was a really good combination of everything I was interested in. It’s forward thinking and also marketable,” Moye said.

Other students choose to add LMC as a second major in order to further explore their diverse intellectual curiosities. This is what Alice Barsky, fourth-year LMC and Public Policy, did during her third year.

The year has started off well for both of these girls. Moye loves her first taste of LMC classes and says, “I find everything we are learning super interesting. The professors are amazing and at the top of their fields. The classes are all tailored to exactly what you like, so if you don’t want to learn about Shakespeare you don’t have to.”

Barsky is taking classes as well as interning at Allied Integrated Marketing, a company that focuses on publicity and promotions for major film studios. She works directly with the Walt Disney Company and reaches out to organizations in Atlanta and other cities to promote movies that are soon-to-be released. Barsky’s unique combination of degrees and experiences has further expanded her future opportunities.

“I think especially being in two schools, I have experienced a lot of really high level research that I wouldn’t have found at other top tier universities,” Barsky says. “Within LMC, I think that the places that our alumni go are interesting because they don’t always go into traditional liberal arts careers, so you have a broader network and more exposure to different career paths.”

Barsky herself is looking into different possibilities for graduate school, considering programs that allow her to do more research on topics that fascinate her, particularly the effects of entertainment and pop culture on America.

As a fourth-year, Barsky has had plenty of time to rehearse the answers to the million dollar question — why choose Tech for liberal arts?

“I think the question is easily answered by the rankings of the school,” she replies. “A lot of people are unaware of how highly ranked our liberal arts school is. I think it’s important to immerse yourself within the school you choose, and that takes away some of the pressure [liberal arts student feel to justify their place here].”

Although the idea of studying a non-technical subject at a technical institute may seem odd to some, LMC students at Georgia Tech are potentially at the best place in the country to earn their degree. Academic and industry leaders consistently state that the School of Literature, Media, and Communication is “nationally prominent as an innovator in humanities approaches to media and technology” and that the program is “arguably the best place in the nation” for this focus.

The facts back this statement up. Tech humanities grads are the highest earning of any public university in the United States, and only fifth overall (public and private), according to NerdWallet, with a median starting salary of $51,000 in 2015.

Moye believes the success of Tech LMC students upon graduation stems from the school’s unique ability to bridge the traditional separation between the technological disciplines and the liberal arts.

“It’s because we are required to be so multifaceted. We have a wide range of skills and abilities,” she reasons.

According to the program’s website, LMC students “excel in critical thinking, analysis and synthesis, and are particularly distinctive in their abilities to solve complex problems” because their studies “link computing, engineering and science with culturally informed viewpoints and ethically grounded inquiries.”

Moye understands why people are confused when she introduces herself as an LMC major, but in the short time she’s been a
Jacket, she says she has already begun reaping the benefits. She hopes engineers and non-engineers alike come to realize the value of a liberal arts education, especially here at Tech.

“Even I wasn’t sure about coming here as a liberal arts student,” she said, “but I am really, really glad I did.”

And, considering the evidence, she is certainly not the only one happy to be receiving an LMC degree from Tech.