Shattering the Glass Ceiling with Irene Park: “From the Lab to the Public”

I am amazed by people who are experts in multiple areas. For instance, Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci was not just the famous painter of Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and The Vitruvian Man, although Mona Lisa alone was definitely enough to ensure his fame. He was also a scientist who worked on hydraulics and civil engineering projects and studied anatomy and botany, among many other subjects. Beatrix Potter, the beloved author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was heavily involved in and a leader for land conservation. Maimonides, also known as the Rambam, was a twelfth-century Jewish doctor and Torah scholar whose work has become part of the backbone of the tenets of Judaism. The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” does not apply to these historical giants. Nor does it apply to University of Michigan graduate student Irene Park.Lab Pic

A proud Cornell alumna, just like yours truly, Irene obtained her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and philosophy before starting her Ph.D. in Genetics at Michigan, where she has published some of her work in the prestigious journal Genome Research and has discovered her passion for science writing. She has learned to manage her time to indulge her love of public communication as a writer for the university’s newspaper The Michigan Daily and as former editor-in-chief of MiSciWriters, a science blog run by Michigan grad students and postdocs. However, a devoted Ph.D. candidate, she spends most of her time on her dissertation topic: DNA.

She explains that her research involves understanding how errors are made in DNA replication and how to prevent them. She says, “DNA is copied every time a cell divides…and an adult body has over 30 trillion cells in his or her body,” and compares the possibility of a replication error to a game of Telephone: the more times the message is relayed, the more likely an error will occur. And an error in DNA replication can lead to cancer, autism spectrum disorder, and even be a factor in mental illnesses.

She is focusing on a specific consequence of DNA replication error called Copy Number Variants, which changes the number of copies of DNA. For example, Copy Number Variants can delete or duplicate at least one of the two copies of DNA obtained from the person’s parents. Sometimes the deletion is harmless; other times it can result in serious and even fatal diseases. Because of the work of geneticists like Irene, we are seeing major breakthroughs in the area of gene therapy that have led to treatments for sickle-cell anemia, cancer, and even hemophilia.

While this line of work is fascinating to scientists and non-scientists alike and is making great strides toward improved medical care, the daily grind of a graduate student trying to obtain results is not always as glamorous as the topic itself appears. Irene makes a very poignant statement, one that many prospective students need to hear:

“You’re in grad school to learn how to think and reason, not to make a huge, splashy discovery. Most of the thesis defenses I’ve been to did not describe groundbreaking work. This is not to say that their work was insignificant in any way, but the main focus should not be getting your paper into the top-tier journals. It should be learning to do good science. Otherwise, you might feel really unhappy when you realize that it took you years of work just to generate that one figure.”

As a former master’s and current Ph.D. student, I can attest to this in a resounding way! I spent three years working on determining an energy profile for an organic solar cell material. Since I’m a computationalist, one of my primary concerns is determining the right model; while this is the easiest part of the project, it is not an easy task. It took about a year and a half just to find the right model that described only 6 atoms of a 100-atom system. A few thousand calculations later, we finally had our profile along with some other explanatory graphs and figures. That was three years of work right there.

While I was working on my master’s, I felt as if I knew very little about my field, especially since I was only studying a small cog in a vast machine. I thought that my work was minuscule, something anyone could have accomplished and in a much faster time span. It wasn’t until after I’d finished and discussed with others what I had studied that I realized the brevity and impact of my results and just how much I had learned. But getting there seemed like an endless saga of setbacks. This is familiar to all grad students, including Irene; and not all setbacks are from faulty data.

Irene addresses a very common problem for graduate students: the work environment.

“There are not many clear expectations for the students…being a graduate student is different from being an employee. There are no job contracts or clear expectations on what you should do or are responsible for. And part of that is intentional since graduate school is all about developing independent thinkers, but I work best with deadlines and clear communication/feedback from people so I found the lack of expectations really frustrating at times.”

She cautions prospective graduate students to not only consider the type of research they want to conduct but also the type of environment in which they want to work. They should determine if they want very involved or very hands-off advisers, what they want to accomplish during their program, whether or not to have multiple advisers, and, if so, how to set clear boundaries so that everyone is satisfied with the outcome. And that is probably one of the most important lessons anyone, especially a graduate student, learns: setting boundaries.

Irene is, unfortunately, not the only person to experience bullying in academia. Even though she has had very supportive advisers and committee members and her conflicts have involved other faculty members in her department, she believes that bullying is becoming even more of a problem because it has gone unchecked for so long. And sadly, many instances of bullying involve the adviser’s abuse of power towards his or her graduate students. It’s true that graduate students exist at the pleasure of their advisers, who control everything: funds, materials, equipment, and the date of your graduation. And when one person holds that much power, the working relationship can rapidly fall apart.

Coming from a Korean family, Irene says that she was taught to put the needs of the group ahead of her own. So when it came to bullying, she was hesitant to speak up for herself, believing it could cause friction and make things more tense for others. However, she has learned the balance of picking battles: it is okay to defend yourself and to voice your concerns and ideas; however, remaining silent, as long as no one is being hurt, is not a sign of weakness.

Although Irene has had to endure many adversities throughout grad school, which included trying to decide whether or not to continue with her program, her science writing have provided her with joy and purpose. Her desire is to become a science writer and “to bring the science from the lab to the public,” something that is desperately needed in today’s anti-science climate. She further states, “Many academic projects, especially basic science research, are publicly funded, so it only makes sense for the public to know what researchers are doing with their money. I believe that type of transparency will raise the public’s trust in scientists, too.”

She believes that in order to convey her message, understanding her audience and finding common ground with them is essential.

“I think people sometimes dismiss the power of emotional empathy when it comes to persuasion and assume that laying out the facts is enough. Facts are important, but you have to come up with an angle or a message that really resonates with your audience — otherwise you sound like a broken record just citing facts over and over again. Knowing a diverse group of people helps me see and realize what others might think of current issues, especially for controversial ones.”

This is valuable advice for not only communicating science but also addressing biases. As an Asian-American woman in STEM, Irene says that she does not expect complete understanding regarding the issues women and Asian Americans face; but she does hope for a willingness to be aware and to be an advocate for change.

“You have to really SHOW that you’re open-minded, and you aren’t just saying it to relieve your guilt. Wearing the safety pin or saying something like ‘my door is always open’ or ‘my prayers are with you’ means nothing if I don’t feel like you will genuinely pay attention to what I have to say and implement (or at least try) the necessary changes to fix the problem. The mismatch between the actions and words/representations can quickly lead to mistrust.”

And she believes a call to action is in order to change the way women and girls are exposed to STEM. She says that labeling traits, such as emotions and interests, as ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ is problematic, and that one of the biggest issues now is not just about accepting women into STEM but keeping them interested in it. Considering the rampant sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace, it is understandable why many women leave their careers. “…ignoring sexual harassment directed toward female academics (especially if the harasser is a big-name, famous researcher or faculty member) sends a very clear message about the work environment. Why would anyone want to work in an environment where they have no voice and where their safety is not guaranteed?”

With people like Irene Park at the helm, women will continue to find their voices and the courage to use them.

Be Kind

This piece is especially difficult for me to write. I am not ashamed of my illnesses, just like I think there is no shame in having asthma, diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. But it isn’t information I volunteer unless I am speaking with people I feel are trustworthy. However, in the last week we have said goodbye to Kate Spade and Anthony Bordain, both of whom committed suicide, and I feel it is important for me to share my own story.

I have type II bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder. In fact, I most likely have OCD, but because I never disclosed my compulsions until after I had been placed on medication, I cannot be officially diagnosed with it unless I were to stop all meds and have my behavior monitored. Considering it took almost twenty years for me to start therapy and an additional four years to receive the correct diagnosis and combination of medications, that is something I’m not willing to do.

I was never abused as a kid. My parents disciplined us, but they never hit us. I was never raped or molested. I never witnessed or experienced anything traumatic until my grandmother died when I was nineteen. I grew up in a warm and generous family, attended parochial school, and never worried that I would have food to eat, clothes to wear, books to read, and a house to call home. If someone were to watch a movie of my life, they would probably call it idyllic; I had more than most people could ever hope for. But I was not happy.

I don’t understand how or when it all started. My parents told me I was a very happy baby and only fussed when I needed to eat, sleep, or have my diaper changed. I did, however, cry if other children around me were crying or throwing tantrums, which would cause me a great deal of anxiety. Even at a year old, I was hypersensitive. But other than that, I was very laid back and cheerful. I loved learning even then, and my mom had taught me how to read, write, and count by the time I was three, right around the time I started preschool. I was looking forward to being in school like all my brothers and learning more all the time.

And then the first day came.

I walked into a room full of toys, books, paper, crayons, scissors, and glue. Basically, any 1990s toddler’s dream come true. My mom stayed with me for part of the day but explained she would leave for a while and come back to get me later, which didn’t bother me in the least. But when one of the other kids had a meltdown after his mom left, I started to panic. After that, I hated school.

Everyday from preschool through fourth grade, I bawled my eyes out whenever my mom dropped me off at school. For the first year, instead of playing with the other kids at recess, I would sit on a bench and ask the teacher’s aide, “When is my mommy coming to get me?” In fact, my principal wanted to hold me back because I wasn’t sociable enough, an idea my grandmother, a retired schoolteacher, nixed and assured my parents I would grow out of that in my own time. She was right; I did eventually grow out of it. And fortunately my parents listened to her or I would have been nine years old and still in preschool.

Along with the constant crying, I was painfully shy, and it didn’t help that I was one of the tallest kids in the class. Imagine that: not wanting anyone to look at you but being the most easily noticeable person in the room because you stand a whole head and shoulders taller than everyone else, including the teacher! But when I turned eight, it only became worse because that’s when the compulsions hit.

My parents explained sex to me when I was four; I didn’t know all the details, but I knew what was supposed to go where in order to make a baby. And yet when I was in third grade, I became obsessed with the notion that if I accidentally touched someone (or even if my DESK touched someone) that I was having sex with them. It sounds ridiculous, right? Even I thought it was ridiculous, especially since I knew you couldn’t “accidentally” have sex with someone. But even though I logically knew that what I was doing was irrational, I couldn’t help it. The compulsions would last a few months but they never completely went away; they just changed form.

Eventually, I grew out of that and became obsessed with cheating: what if, as I was walking by someone’s desk and I saw their papers, I was cheating? My solution to this: always look down. You can imagine how well that worked. Then I moved on to being obsessed with going to hell, believing that every little thing I did would damn me forever. This resulted in my constantly praying to God for forgiveness. Also, we were warned around this same time by teachers and pastors about sex sin and not to lust after anyone. So once again, I resorted to not looking at anyone.

Can you imagine sitting at a restaurant table and seeing someone like me pass by? Someone who can’t look anyone in the eye and mutters to herself, who jerks her head away if someone walks near her? What would you think?

I knew I looked weird. My actions didn’t make any sense, but I still couldn’t help what I was doing. And it just kept getting worse. I was afraid of driving because I didn’t want to accidentally hit someone and not notice it, which would result in my being charged with a hit-and-run and the complete ruin of my life. Again, I don’t know how you can “accidentally” hit another car or pedestrian and not notice, but it worried me.

If I thought I’d hit something (which was because I’d run over a pothole, very common occurrences in metro Detroit), I would circle around the block to see if a car had pulled over or if a cop had been called. I would plan my route so that I could minimize the number of times I had to change lanes because what if as I was looking over my shoulder I veered too far to the side or someone darted out in front of me? It took me twice as long as other people just to go down the street to get a Slurpee.

But perhaps my biggest obsession of all, one that started around the time I entered school and has stayed with me ever since: perfection.

I had always been a serious student and would panic over every exam and quiz, even in early elementary school. I was probably the only seven-year-old who cried over a 90% on a spelling test. Perfection was always a big deal for me, and I felt that if I wasn’t perfect, then I must be a failure. This continued through college and graduate school, with regular anxiety attacks. I remember one semester I was consistently running on only three to five hours of sleep a night and was either attending lectures or office hours, studying, or doing homework.

I could barely sleep because my mind was always racing about the course material and all the questions I had. I kept a notebook with me wherever I went so I could write down all the questions I had, most of which I already knew the answers but still wrote down “just in case.” I even took that notebook in the bathroom while I showered. I was so tense all the time that I became a hazard in my chemistry lab.

Labs are nerve wracking for most people, and rightfully so. They are not safe places, and all precautions need to be taken to ensure everyone’s safety. For me, though, taking every precaution meant not doing anything, including drying a test tube, unless the TA approved it. I was so anxious that my hands would shake, which caused me to squirt concentrated sodium hydroxide or hydrochloric acid everywhere EXCEPT into my freaking graduated cylinder!

My anxiety wreaked havoc on me, but as I got older, I faced a new demon: depression.

Many times as a kid, I thought that if my life were to continue as a series of compulsions with extreme anxiety, then life wasn’t worth living. But the first time I ever contemplated suicide seriously was probably around fifteen, which is when I first self-harmed. I took a razor to my leg and hacked away until I had deep bloody cuts all along the length of my shin. When my parents found out, they wanted to take me to a therapist, which I stupidly begged them not to do. I thought that by having to go to therapy I was some psycho freak. I promised I wouldn’t do it again, and I kept my word for the rest of the time I lived under their roof. But self harming became a bigger issue about ten years later.

The first time I ever felt despair so deep I thought I would never get out of it was when my grandmother died. I had lost one of my best friends and then lost one more when her sister, our second grandma, died four months later. I alternated between despair and uncontrollable rage, which was the bipolar rearing its ugly head. I don’t know that I ever fully recovered from their deaths, but I was told that it was probably what triggered the bipolar to make its appearance. While I was only nineteen when it happened, which is a bit young to start displaying signs of bipolar disorder, my doctor told me that it would have come out no matter what; their deaths just triggered it to come early.

This started a vicious cycle of anxiety, depression, rage, and random bursts of energy. As I was doing research, my compulsions came back in the form of checking my data over and over again out of fear of possibly publishing incorrect results. Any scientist worth her or his salt will rigorously check the accuracy of their data, but what I was doing was obsessing, not validating. I would have my data in one table and the experimentalist’s in another right next to each other and would go line by line to see if they matched…at least three times. I could see they matched but worried I had missed something or maybe that because I wanted them to match that my mind was playing tricks on me. I had to check three times and if I was distracted or thought I overlooked something, I had to start again.

Needless to say, I wasn’t making much progress.

The stress of graduate school and my illnesses, which at that point I still thought I would “get over,” became too much for me.

In August of 2012, I tried to commit suicide.

Imagine waking up to policemen standing over you in your apartment, waiting for you to make a coherent thought because you have more pills in you than a pharmacy and are higher than a kite. Then imagine having to drink charcoal to counteract all the drugs in your system.

Have you ever had to drink charcoal?! I thought I was going to vomit all over the sidewalk from drinking what tasted like Satan’s piss.

While there hadn’t been any internal damage, I was still a huge risk and was admitted to the mental health unit. Keep in mind that I was in Ithaca at this time; the hospital was small and didn’t really have an official psychiatric ward. There were no strip searches or locked cells or white scrubs in which we had to shuffle around. Yeah, they checked my belongings to make sure I didn’t have any sharp objects or shampoo with an alcohol ingredient. They had bed checks every thirty minutes while we slept. The doors to the unit were locked and we weren’t allowed outside without a chaperone and only if the attending psychiatrist approved it. We could only have visitors for an hour at a time, two hours a day. And yet that was the most relaxed I’d felt in a long time.

Most of the other patients were drug and alcohol addicts waiting to go to a rehab facility and some were like me: people with anxiety and depression trying to find the right medication. We could read books, listen to music, play ping pong, and watch movies. We attended group and individual therapy sessions that taught us coping mechanisms and how to give voice but not control to our fears. But mostly we just talked to each other and listened to each other’s stories.

There was no pressure to perform or to be the best; we all were there because we needed help. There was no judgment but there was a mutual understanding and a sense of camaraderie in our fight against our respective demons. Oddly enough, for the first time, I felt like a normal person.

Here we were, some of society’s misfits, all banding together to support each other through our difficulties and our adjustments to treatment. We had all hit rock bottom and looked death in the eye but had survived. We gave each other hope to keep going and make better lives for ourselves. We tried to make ourselves and each other see that we had a purpose in this sometimes tragic but still wonderful saga we call life.

I left after a week and was able to take off a semester to recover. And while I am so happy that I was unsuccessful in my suicide attempt, I hesitate to think what would have happened if the few people in whom I had confided hadn’t kept a close eye on me and called the campus police to check on me.

I suffered in silence for so long; in fact, even after I left the hospital, my road to recovery was anything but easy. I struggled with the medication I was taking, so much so that I decided to leave Cornell with a master’s degree instead of pursuing my doctorate. Because I was only able to find part-time work after I graduated, I didn’t have health insurance for four months, which meant I couldn’t go to therapy or be on medication. I resumed self-harming, which is still a problem even now although it has been less severe due to the medications. It wasn’t until four years after my suicide attempt when I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive situation that someone mentioned to me that I might be bipolar, something which was later confirmed by my therapist and psychiatrist.

As it turns out depression (called “major depressive disorder”) and bipolar disorder (formerly known as “manic depressive disorder”) are sometimes hard to distinguish from each other. For bipolar, there are two types; type I is characterized by depressive cycles with hypermanic episodes. This hypermania involves feelings of grandiosity, excessive indulgences, and/or the lack of the need for sleep for days on end, among many other symptoms. Some people who are type I bipolar may experience psychotic episodes.

Not to be snide, but I always found it funny when I was asked during psychiatric evaluations if I experienced hallucinations. How on earth would people know if they’re hallucinating if they already have trouble distinguishing the real from the imaginary? Fortunately, I am around enough people on a regular basis that if I were to start hallucinating, someone would catch it very quickly.

I am classified as type II bipolar, which means I have extensive depressive episodes with “hypomanic” episodes interspersed throughout. Hypomania is not as “intense” (for lack of a better word) as hypermania but still involves sudden energetic bursts that can result in rash decisions and lack of sleep, among other problems. In fact, my waves of obsessions and compulsions most likely occurred during manic episodes, which eventually die down and later return in another form.

Over the last twenty-four years, very few people have understood what I’ve experienced. They didn’t know why I couldn’t just make up my mind to be happy, why I couldn’t exercise “mind over matter.” I didn’t understand it either for a long time, until it was finally explained to me that these disorders are physical illnesses brought on by faulty neurotransmitters. How can I convince my mind to overcome my circumstances when it has been damaged by a neurological defect?

Why have I disclosed all this information to you? Because this is not something openly discussed. Most people know the signs and symptoms of heart disease, pneumonia, and the flu, all of which are common occurrences. But not many people understand or recognize the onset of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses, many of which affect millions.

There is still a stigma associated with mental illness, one that is preventing people from getting the help they desperately need to live fully-functional lives. Mental illnesses are physical illnesses. While they are not fully understood even in the medical community, they are real and the people who suffer them need compassion. They need to be heard and to feel as if they matter. Because they do.

Please, educate yourself on these illnesses; donate to research; lobby for more government funding; volunteer; be trained to work a suicide help line. Call the loved ones you know who suffer from these and assure them that no matter what, you will be there to help them. Don’t preach at them; don’t quote Bible verses at them; don’t tell them it’s a spiritual problem; don’t tell them how to feel. Just be kind. Be compassionate. Be understanding.

Be there.

Peace, Prosperity, and Organic Photovoltaics,

Chic Geek and Chemistry Freak

Landing Among the Stars

One of the key things you learn in mathematics is the difference between a variable and a constant. We can deduce what these mean just from using the English language: a variable is something that changes and a constant is something that doesn’t. For instance, if you have a function that depends on x, we can define x as the variable. Its value can change, which means that the output of the function changes as well. However, numbers like 1, 2, 50, 72905, etc. are constants; their values will NEVER change.

Functions can be a tricky concept to master when they are first introduced. The idea that you have two letters (f for function and x for its input) that are actually numbers, which can change depending on the value of x, is not intuitive. Constants are easier to grasp: no matter what, they stay the same.

Amazing how mathematics so accurately describes human nature.

I have a difficult time with change. On my last day of undergrad, I cried all the way to my car. I was getting ready to leave for Cornell to start grad school, something I had been anticipating for months. I was going to further build my credentials as an engineer and make strides toward my goals. Plus, I had lived at home during college and would finally have a place of my own. I finally felt like I was spreading my wings.

But I was leaving the comfort of familiarity. I had made friends at college, many of whom were staying in the area for jobs. Most of my family lived in adjoining suburbs; there was always someone I could visit if I needed to see a friendly face. The people who had mentored me were at my school, and I had grown accustomed to that place as if it were a second home. Leaving that for the unknown seemed ludicrous.

I’ve never been a very social person. How was I going to make friends all over again? Trying to make friends in college had been hard enough. What if I had no one to talk to? What if I was still going to be the same awkward pain in the neck I’d been in college? What if I always felt lonely? What if my friends at home forgot about me?

What if I failed?

That was definitely my greatest fear. If I stayed home, I couldn’t fail because I hadn’t tried. That sounds logical, right? But J. K. Rowling said it best: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”

We all have dreams and desires. Even as I approach thirty, I love to daydream about what I’m going to continue doing with my life. Sometimes, my goals seem too lofty and I tell myself that it will never happen; I should just comfort myself with daydreams, not aspire to them. And then I realize that what I thought was common sense telling me to play it “smart” was really fear telling me to play it “safe.”

I have dreams of being a respected quantum chemist and engineer, a published author, a teacher, a mentor, and an advocate for women and minorities in STEM. I want to be the type of leader in whom people can confide, who will listen and encourage employees and colleagues so that they can obtain confidence and achieve their potential. I want to make an impact in all of these fields so that whoever enters them will have the greatest experiences of their lives. I want to see people embracing challenges with confidence, not running away from them out of fear of failure. But in order for me to help implement this change, I myself need to change.

I need to conquer my own fears.

This world desperately needs change, and, more importantly, it needs people willing to be vessels for change. That has never been an easy task. One of my favorite quotes by M. Mead is this: “Upon the gifted among the misfits lies the burden of building new worlds.” It’s so true that people whom others deemed as misfits and oddities were the ones brave enough to take risks and revolutionize their respective fields.

Marie Curie was a woman, which in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was practically considered a handicap when it came to being a scientist; she made advancements in radioactivity, which led to her first Nobel Prize in physics, and discovered the elements radium and polonium, for which she received her second Nobel in chemistry. Srinivasa Ramanujan was a famous mathematician who attended Trinity College at Cambridge and became a Fellow of the Royal Society while he was working for G. H. Hardy; given the many contributions he made to the field, no one would have guessed his poor background and lack of formal education beyond high school in India. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born during the Depression in Georgia, a part of the Jim Crow South, and suffered from depression and twice attempted suicide. He became the face of the Civil Rights Movement.

It’s easy to look at these heroes and think to ourselves, “Yes, but they were strong; they knew how to persevere. I’m not like that. I can’t adapt to change that well.” History doesn’t always tell us how people felt; most likely, each of them didn’t feel capable of performing the task at hand either. But they did figure out a way to overcome their doubts and become leaders for change, regardless of their gender, race, and even their age.

Leaders come from all backgrounds, and age is no exception. Curie had earned two degrees by the time she was seventeen, at which point she began working with future husband Pierre Curie. Ramanjuan was twenty-six when he first traveled to England and made a myriad of discoveries before his death at thirty-two. (As a side note, Newton was formulating calculus at twenty-three, Einstein had discovered relativity by twenty-six, and Queen Victoria became the Sovereign of the British Empire at eighteen.)

Social change has also been a young person’s cause. Thomas Jefferson was only thirty-two when he penned the Declaration of Independence. William Wilberforce became a British politician at twenty-one and took up the cause of abolition at twenty-eight. His friend, William Pitt the Younger, became the British Prime Minister at twenty-four. Barbara Johns was only sixteen when she led a strike against the racially-segregated Moton High School in Virginia. And in today’s times, we have Emma Gonzalez, an eighteen-year-old survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and one of the organizers for “March for Our Lives” for gun control. (When I was a high-school senior, I spent the year applying for scholarships and planning the party I’d have before starting college. Emma spent hers being an advocate for school safety and gun law reform.)

We need our young people, the world’s future leaders, to be involved in change. They should be taught early not to fear it or the setbacks that come with it. They should be encouraged to take chances and learn not only from classrooms but also from experience. Maybe then we will have people who are less interested in playing it safe and more interested in playing it smart.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Les Brown

Peace, Prosperity, and Organic Photovoltaics,

Chic Geek and Chemistry Freak