“Science can be a great ambassador. We don’t have a political agenda. We have a passion for discovery….You are the future of research.”
These were some of the closing words from geneticist Elaine Fuchs who addressed high school students live and online around the world today as part of the World Science Festival’s annual Pioneers in Science event. Kids from NYC, Chicago, South Virginia Beach, and Afghanistan engaged Fuchs with smart questions about working in the politicized field of stem cell research, about the future progress for stem cell therapies, and about how being a female scientist has impacted her work and her perspective. “There have always been more women interested in the life sciences areas of science…I didn’t feel pushed into one field or the other because of my gender.”
Fuchs emphasized the importance of support for and work in researching basic science that helps pave the way for new discoveries. She also emphasized that her ongoing passion for her work is what breaks barriers, and that students should focus on what they are passionate about. “The way along the road to discovery is long. The ability to persist in times of failure, not success, is key.” Given the many students in the room who sought her autograph after the event, and even a few hugs, she succeeded in inspiring some young minds and hearts.