14 April 2009

Nerd alert.

aka: The Joy of Science.

Okay, so I am a nerd. I fully and willingly admit this, dare I even say I am proud of it. As a Biology major (Ecology, Evolution & Behavioral Biology to be exact- even nerdier, right?) I spent a fair chunk of college holed up in our science building (Oh Chamberlain, how I miss you and your musty corridors, odd murals and clunky, green elevator) or working on lab assignments. But far and away the coolest thing I ever did in college was meet Jane Goodall. Yes, THE Jane Goodall.

I was taking a primate anthropology course (ugh, the memories, that class was h-a-r-d) my Junior year and she came to our wee college to talk to the whole campus and community about her experiences and her project Roots and Shoots. Our class was lucky enough to get to have lunch with her, chat and get her to sign our books (A Reason for Hope, it is a great read by the way, go read it!). She is so amazing, so wise and patient and kind and adventurous. Passionate. She is a pioneer- for scientists, for women, for educators and advocates. As Stephen Jay Gould said, "Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees represents one of the Western world's greatest scientific achievements." She is what science is all about... not stuffy professors who sit behind big desks, tenures and grant money. She is 'boots on the ground'... She is the real deal and she is everything that I wanted to be when I was in college.
Anyway, the point of this whole post is that today I saw an article about her at salon.com... I read it and I could feel the excitement building in me again. (By the way, go read it because her story is fascinating as is she... it isn't overly scientific, I promise!) I started thinking about how important all of this is, how important it is to teach future generations about their world, remembering how fun and thrilling science can be... discovering new things, putting the big picture together, understanding how and why our surroundings are like they are. I got excited about science and biology and all the things I loved about my degree in college again.

Yes, I know, the nerd sirens are going off. But here is the point: I am going to quit my job when Swiss comes home and go be a high school biology teacher. I am crazy, I know. But it has always been one of the options on the table... having such a visceral reaction to this article stirred up all sorts of 'emotions' that working in a clinical lab under government regulations had stifled. I can pass on this excitement and passion to at least a few kids, I can share knowledge, be creative and teach kids to think critically, to appreciate their surroundings and not be afraid to challenge the established dogmas. I know there are all sorts of issues that surround teaching and working with high school kids, I'm not naive. But I am excited about this and I have Jane Goodall to thank for it.

Thanks Jane, and happy 75th Birthday!

6 comments:

LopsidedMom said...

I am so excited for you, I can't even tell you. To have that moment of clarity is a complete gift - run with it!!! I spent this morning observing a high school science class, learning a presentation that I will be taking over soon - you would be perfect in that setting.
We saw Jane Goodall speak in Seattle, in the National Geographic Explorers Lecture Series. She was - is - amazing!

Bette said...

I can feel the excitement coming through your words. How wonderful are those aha moments! I'm so happy for you.

liberal army wife said...

She is one of my heroes. your plan sounds wonderful!

The Army Wife said...

Tuck, I think this is a WONDERFUL idea! You've been stressing about what to do post-deployment, and I think this is good. You have such a passion for science, sharing it it awesome!

Way to go :)

Jennifer said...

What a fabulous idea!
You will inspire kids with your passion for the subject. They'll be lucky to have you!

Meghan said...

This is so exciting and awesome for you!! Like the others said, you really can tell you are passionate about this! Congrats :)