“Keep Going”: a take home inspiration from Graduate Student Breakfast

Eating breakfast and getting inspired? That’s the best possible start of the day for a graduate student. Two panelists at the Graduate Student Breakfast, Dr. Jeane Small from Quantum Northwest and Dr. Hugo Sanabria from Clemson University shared their inspiring life stories that many of us could relate to.
“Keep going, because science needs you” was one message resonanced over and over again during the entire breakfast session and even later, on my head.
It was an excellent opportunity for the graduate students to share their questions and concerns with two senior scientists and seeking advice. Questions were about recovering from frustration, work- life balance, plans after graduation and many more. Both the panelists emphasized on finding passion in ones’ own research, it’s hard to make a real change otherwise. “If you don’t have passion for your research, you are not doing it right”, said Dr. Sanabria.
Dr. Small shared her experience of pursuing her graduate studies and academic career as a Professor against all the odds which was very motivational, specially for young female scientists. She also epitomized how she used her parental skills to her class while teaching and later, on her career at her own company. Every skill set that you develop can be utilized in many ways -was her message towards us.
After the session, few of us had a chance to talk to Dr. Small and to me, that was the best part. An Iranian student shared her frustration in the changed situation for past few weeks. It was heart wrenching to all of us. Besides all the pressure of graduate research life and uncertainty about next career goal, this extra tension must be unbearable to those, who are going through it right now.
“No matter what, keep going, because science needs you, we need you” was Dr. Small’s compassionate response to her and to all of us. And that was the most inspiring conversion I was part of in this BPS till now.

Later on, I went to a platform talk that I have been planning to attend since the beginning. But to everyone’s surprise, the presenter was someone else, the PI of the student who was originally planning to present. But she could not come because of her Iranian passport and traveling from outside USA.She canceled her flight during the executive order and did not feel welcomed to book it again. But that could not bar her excellent work to be presented at the BPS. It was another vibe of Dr. Small’s message ” No matter what, keep going, because science needs you” , to me.

This BPS has been very reassuring to me as an international student. I feel welcomed again after a while. I now know, I will keep going, no matter what.

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