Drue Sokol, Photo Editor

This fall, UR introduced two new majors — audio and music engineering (AME) and digital media studies.

AME unites music and engineering, two subject areas that are immensely popular amongst UR students. Digital media studies also bridges the gap between the sciences and the humanities, allowing students to discover production technology while studying the cultural impact and evolution of media throughout history.

Both new majors are indicative of the University’s plans to expand more deeply into its traditional areas of strength while embracing the new opportunities created by 21st century technology.

Additionally, a new building dedicated to digital media studies is being erected on campus. The new Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation is scheduled to open at the start of the 2013-14 academic year.

Freshman Cole Oppedisano feels that the new AME major, and subsequent resources, were a big pull to the school for him because of how unique it is. Even though he decided on his major the summer before his freshman year, it was still a factor in his decision to come to UR.

“I try to focus everything I do around music since that’s the best definition of myself that I can get,” Oppedisano said. “Why not go into a profession that has that focus?”

The AME major focuses a lot on electrical engineering and is just as rigorous as the other engineering majors, with the opportunity to take only four elective classes outside of the program — three of which must be a cluster.

Many AME students have career goals that lie in the music industry, but because the major is still heavily focused on engineering, it gives undergraduates a little more choice down the road.

“In case [my four-year degree] doesn’t work out, I’ll take a fifth year and get my electrical engineering master’s,” Oppedisano said.

Regardless of the flexibility, most AME majors start off intending to work in the music industry, just as Oppedisano does.

“I want to work my way into the music production scene in [the city of] Rochester and build my own indie label,” he said.

Unlike the heavily science and engineering focused AME major, the new digital media studies major grants a Bachelor of Arts degree and focuses on digital media projects and related social science concepts.

This reduced technicality lets more students take advantage of the courses and resources.

SA president, senior and future Take Five Scholar Roshal Patel planned his Take Five program around the creation of the new digital media studies major.

“This is my first semester taking [those] courses,” Patel said. “I can honestly say I’m enjoying them.”

While upperclassmen can still take advantage of the courses and eventually the new facilities, both majors are technically only available to members of the Class of 2015 and beyond.

“Although it is unfortunate (for me) that I will only have the opportunity to utilize the new building for one year, I am still very excited to have this opportunity,” Patel said.

Even though the new building will provide many more resources for students, the majors already involve a high level of creativity and novel learning exercises.

“I’m currently building a guitar from scratch, which I don’t think you do in other courses,” Oppedisano said. “So that’s pretty cool. It’s going to be a blast when I finish it.”

Herman is a member of the class of 2016.

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