Hey, guys. Going to transfer to Emory and really excited about it.
One thing that got my attention is the fact that Emory has not produced any Nobel Laureates. Not that it is important or not, but I kind of expected a prestigious and academically accredited university like Emory to have produced at least two Nobel Laureates.
Anybody have any theories why Emory has not produced any Nobel Laureates?
For one, a large percentage of top 20s (especially the newer among them) do not produce Nobel Laureates from their undergrad. programs (and 2 seems like a random number). They tend to have attended X prestigious school for a graduate program. 2nd, Emory only recently became particularly reputable and became a research university only in the 90s. 3rd, the student body is too skewed toward the professions and the interest in non-professional program scholarship has yet to catch up with the increased prestige of the university. Fortunately, we have pulitzer prize winners, astronauts, and plenty of others that are well accomplished. However, it is unfortunate that Emory doesn't implement programs or a curriculum that inspires more people to go into academia, especially those interested in science. Fact is, Emory is not known for intellectuals at the undergraduate level. This is something we need to fix because we have the potential to be a school with a high level of scholarly inquiry that may indeed by a place that eventually does catch up with its prestige and produce a Nobel Laureate. However, the school has to reorient itself so that it creates and encourages big thinking and more of a life of the mind vibe on campus. This should be easy to create as we don't have things like D-1 sports enveloping the social scene on campus. I would also imagine that implementing programs that foster creativity and innovation would help significantly. And also, some departments are in a "teach to please" phase that leaves students happy with their grades, but certainly does not inspire them to think deeper than normal about content. These critical depts. can help by being more rigorous and requiring this level of mastery and curiousity in its courses instead of constantly yielding to the whim of pre-professionals who need to keep their grades up. I've compared Emory to other very top institutions and it is definitely lacking here and too willing to bend over backwards to make students pleased with their grades without them having to do much work in many cases. Other schools give you very tough content, exams, and assignments that make you really engage the material, and then curve in the end. The tendency among many Emory professors is to water the coursework down below the student's supposed ability so that they don't have to curve. Often this involves eliminating or several reducing out of class assignments that allow students to grapple or struggle with material, keeping the reading load minimal, and making exams easier after giving a hard one (as opposed to holding ground on a standard until students get with the picture). There is also the fact that many science professors here still do completely multiple choice tests (especially in biology and neuroscience) despite their sections being significantly smaller than those at peers. Needless to say, these exams don't really require a mastery of the material that may have resulted from serious engagement with it (many require "applied regurgitation" and no analytical skills). There are just all types of tactics to keep students happy with their superficial progress until they take, say, the MCAT. Students do poorly on it and leave the school uninspired by their coursework. However, one may claim that they did not seek inspiration (they sought a GPA) and got what they deserved. These people will be a solid majority at most top schools, but the problem at Emory is that the minority who do want to be inspired are not really supported by a system that has been molded to cater to those who do not want it. With that said, if you cherrypick coursework correctly so that you do take great courses and professors that force you to think deeply or even outside of the box, you can indeed be inspired. It just sucks when not that many of the peers in said classes are there for the same reason and do not share your level of interest. Anyway, Developing a "life of the mind" spirit takes a long time to develop. Even top schools like Duke and Cornell actually have been known to have trouble with this and both actually do have lots of students going into PhDs.
I am however now a little disappointed by what you had to say about Emory's intellectual students. During high school and my freshmen year at a New York City college, everybody knew me as an intellectual.
Bernie, is it true that Emory hosts a small intellectual community? I am asking because I would like to meet more individuals who enjoy the fruits of education and knowledge, and it would be very disappointing if I end up meeting the very thing I was trying to escape in my City college.
Don't worry about it, get here and do what you want. If you are really worried about this, maybe you can inspire yourself to be in a position to be a Nobel Laureate. I promise you that it is possible. You just have to be very independent and seek out peers that have a similar level of passion about scholarly activity and stuff. I actually had several of such friends. They tend to fly under the radar, but they definitely exist and are amazing. An example of a cool person (Izmaylov) I once mentored for organic chemistry is this girl: Student ink: Emory tops list of best colleges for budding writers
Amazing! I think there will be even more of such to come in the future as the university continues implement its creativity, art, and innovation initiative. So I don't know if we'll necessarily produce a Nobel Prize winner in the near future, but the array of accomplishments will become more diverse as culmination of this sort of talent is encouraged. However, I still stand by what I said when I mentioned that a lot can afford to be done at the curricular level to promote this sort of inspiration and engagement among all UGs. Emory is solid, but can use improvement in such an area so you definitely are justified in bringing it up.
Again danieltransfer, Don't worry about it. Emory will likely on the whole be more interesting than the situation at your current college because of the diversity. I think the diversity (initiatives that emphasize it and spark debate about it) helps create some sense of intellectualism with regard to social issues than would be seen at many other peer institutions. We just don't have much of it in key areas such as the sciences and that's what makes me a bit bitter. However, I think interdisciplinary centers like the Center for Ethics help at least encourage students to come out and talk about the various implications of science in society and I would argue that such events get decent turnout. As for your specific question: yes, Intellectuals are quite easy to stumble upon, surprisingly. It's just, naturally, not the campus's "state of nature" (may be inappropriate use of this term). I think we're getting somewhere in the intellectualism arena (at least as compared to when I came in as a freshman), but efforts could afford to expand to something on a much larger scale. As for finding the intellectuals. My observation, is that humanities and social sciences are where you are likely to find many. Many of those classes have students that are very passionate and want to engage and debate serious issues in context of the course content both in and out of class. You'll find some of this in the sciences, but again, you need to cherrypick (if you take an easy path, you're screwed in your quest) and it will not be as obvious. I think the chemistry and physics departments are those with some of the more unconventional students. Get in touch w/those majors or even be daring and take an upperlevel in such an area (even if pass/fail) if you have the confidence and competence to do so. People would find out how amazing Emory is if they took more risks and stepped outside of their comfort zone. Being around people who are perhaps goofy and think outside of the box can inspire one to think a little deeper themselves. However, one never meets such people when they are afraid to take a course with them or even ask them about their work. Also, join programs that spawn from some the key initiatives on campus. The Intereligious council is a good example. You will meet very interesting people in such organizations who are obviously willing to step outside of their comfort zone and engage in civil dialog and discourse on sensitive topics.
I think they do, but they are asking more about the UG student body and its inspiration and not the faculty (I'm sure many outsiders appreciate how awesome the faculty is). As in, is the environment for UGs conducive to inspiring someone to go on to make a life changing discovery or contribution worthy of a Nobel Prize?
daniel, seek me out. I'm also a transfer for fall - interested in MD/PhD. I would really like to talk about science!
I get sick of the typical pre-med who is prestige driven (in fact, already had a newly admitted freshman message me on FB and ask what the transfer process is like so he could transfer out of Emory and into an Ivy...sigh).
I hope to contribute to Emory's intellectual community, among other things, so I would enjoy talking with you!
Will definitely want to meet up and drive up the intellectual community at Emory. I have to admit that I also applied to Ivy leagues for transfer, but ended up being rejected. However, unlike others I am more than glad to transfer to Emory and will never take a ivy league rejection seriously.