When it comes to deciding what you want to be when you grow up, the possibilities are endless. The following information will highlight three relatively obscure college majors that may be of interest to prospective college students who “haven’t figured it out yet.”
Major 1: Oenology
Oenology or enology, depending on your proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, is Latin for “wine science.” That’s right, fans of the fermented grape can actually earn a living by learning the ABCs of winemaking in college and then going on to pursue their passion, professionally, after they graduate.
Formal training programs are offered at prestigious colleges such as the University of California-Davis (ucdavis.edu) and Cornell University (cornell.edu). These are just two institutions that offer undergraduate and graduate level degrees in oenology. It is also worth mentioning that some universities may use the words “viniculture” or “viticulture” instead of oenology to describe the major. Viniculture and viticulture mean “vine care” and “cultivation of grapes,” respectively, in Latin. In essence, this means that viticulture, viniculture and oenology majors all study facets of winemaking.
According to employment-oriented websites such as Glassdoor (glassdoor.com), the median salary for enologists is $50,747 as of May 2016.
More information about this particular science can be found on the American Society for Enology and Viticulture’s website. In addition to providing information about the process of wine making, the organization also provides its members and other interested individuals with access to the following resources:
• Annual online subscription (calendar year) to the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (AJEV), including online access to full AJEV archives beginning 1950.
• ASEV National Conference, with technical sessions, research forums, symposia and industry seminars annually in June.
• Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, presented by the ASEV and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) is held annually in January.
• Scholarship program for students studying enology, viticulture or a directly related field offered to eligible students through (“About ASEV – American Society for Enology and Viticulture,”).
Major 2: Puppetry
Adults who never outgrew their love of puppet shows will undoubtedly be thrilled to know that they can relive their fond childhood memories and pay their bills at the same time. For example, the University of Connecticut (uconn.edu) has provided puppet masters with formal training for more than 50 years via its undergraduate and graduate level programs. Additionally, the University of Hawaii (hawaii.edu) currently offers the following four programs: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre, Master of Arts (MA) in Theatre, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theatre. Each undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate program allows fans of puppetry to learn the craft, hone their skills and follow their passion.
Data from various employment websites suggest that the average salary for puppet masters currently exceeds $100,000. Additionally, according to Indeed , “average puppet master salaries for job postings nationwide are 79% higher than average salaries for all job postings nationwide.”
One way to learn more about the history of puppetry is by joining Puppeteers of America (puppeteers.org), “a national non-profit organization founded in 1937 to provide information, encourage performances, and build a community of people who celebrate puppet theatre.”
The 79 year old organization’s members have included famous puppeteers such as Jim Henson, who was responsible for creating Kermit the Frog; Bill Baird, creator of more than 3000 puppets, which included Charlemane the Lion and Snarkey Parker, and Kukla, Fran and Ollie creator Burr Tillstrom. Additionally, Puppeteers of America holds “160 national and regional festivals to celebrate and share the art of puppetry” and publishes the Puppetry Journal.
Major 3: Packaging Science
Are you the type that likes to keep things nice and tidy? If so, this may very well be the degree for you! Neat-nicks and individuals who want to know more about what boxes that hold birthday presents, other boxes, etc., are made of and how, may want to consider pursuing one or more undergraduate and graduate-level packaging science programs that are currently being offered at the University of Michigan (msu.edu) and the University of Indiana (indstate.edu). MSU staff have said the following about their Packaging Engineering Technology (PET) program: “The packaging engineering technology degree prepares students to become professionals in the challenging and demanding industrial environment of packaging engineering and management. Program instruction is designed to involve students in combinations of classroom learning situations and hands-on laboratory experiences. These activities allow students to explore the use and application of machines and test equipment, learn design techniques, and gain an understanding of the management function.”
As of May 2016, data culled from Payscale.com suggests that individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree in packaging science can command anywhere from $56,000-$115,000 annually based on their specialization.
Prior to or after enrolling in a packaging science degree program, students may also want to consider becoming members of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (iopp.org) to broaden their understanding of this science. The organization “is dedicated to creating networking and educational opportunities that help packaging professionals succeed.”
A very apt aphorism has been repeated by many famous and non-famous people who have chosen career paths that may seem odd to others: “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” As evidenced by the information provided, there are several reasons to consider any one of these somewhat obscure majors.