Interdisciplinary Success Story

“How the interdisciplinary made the clean up of Hurricane Sandy in the North East U.S a success story!”

Sometimes, one person, or a group of people who specialize in one discipline, cannot formulate a solution to a problem without the help of others. Sometimes those other people have specialization in a field that is nothing like the other. Other times, it takes a group of people from different disciplines, to work together to formulate a solution. This is why interdisciplinary studies is important. It allows one individual to know more than one set of skills to help create solutions to problems. This is why the interdisciplinary is so important and there are several examples around the world that show how important it is. Without it, we wouldn’t have solutions to problems that involve more than one specialization. For example, the problem of climate change cannot solely depend on environmental scientists. It needs to be looked at using fields that contribute to the problem of climate change. We need people who specialize in environmental science, meteorology, geology, political science, engineers, etc. Many people pitching in to create a solution to a problem.

One success story I would like to talk about is the aftermath cleanup associated with Hurricane Sandy back in 2011. In October 2011, Hurricane Sandy made its way up the east coast of the United States. Meteorologists warned residents of the east coast that it would be a powerful storm with catastrophic rain and damaging winds. As places did the best they could to prepare for the storm, there was immense damage after the storm that wasn’t able to be prevented. Trees had fallen on houses and power lines, flooding occurred in low land places, houses, roads, and structures were damaged from the wind and rain, and millions of people were left without power. The aftermath was severe, especially in the North East. When it came to clean up after, many different people were contacted in order to fix the damage that was created. Environmental Scientists and Hydrologists were able to help because of their knowledge of landscapes that were affected, and areas that exhibited flooding due to their surrounding environment. They were the ones who were able to assess the damage from a scientific perspective so they would allow others to help the situation by letting them know what they could and couldn’t do to prevent structural damage for future events. They then communicated with the towns, cities and counties that were affected so that civil engineers and construction workers could figure out a way to rebuild any houses that were damaged and fix any roads that needed repair. The scientists would let the civil engineers know what they can and can’t do based on the landscapes that were affected. Once that information was communicated, they were able to work with construction workers to fix the damage. Electricians worked together with the construction workers so that power that was lost from the storm could be restored. With the cooperation of different people who specialize in different disciplines, these towns were able to be restored back to the way things were before the storm. Working with the interdisciplinary allowed these things to be done in a reasonable time frame so that people could continue with their daily lives.

The interdisciplinary helps to strengthen one’s problems solving skills. It allows people to think about different aspects of a problem and come up with a viable solution. If more people studied in Interdisciplinary Studies, they would be able to look at real life problems through different perspectives which people that specialize in one discipline may not have thought of before. This is important in the future for people to understand more than one discipline, because it would allow for new ideas and solutions to be created thus bringing different skill sets to a situation, and understanding how to make use of these different skills they have for better solutions. If more people worked together on events like this, it would allow for better communication through the disciplines which would allow people to think of new things that nobody in one discipline could have thought of before!

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  1. Such an inspiring success story! This shows how important Interdisciplinary is and how people can put aside their differences and use their knowledge from all different disciplines to collaborate restoring the damaged northeastern part of the country.

  2. I’ve read a number of posts about interdisciplinarity and disaster relief, and it seems like in some ways disaster responders seem to understand the imperative of the team-oriented approach. Maybe it’s because the problems are so grave and complex, and people realize that they simply can’t be fixed by any one perspective working in isolation, but the lessons we see from successful responses like the one you outline here should be instructive to us that interdisciplinary approaches make the most sense when the challenges are complicated and significant…. Great post!

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