People of Science

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Paul

Senior Electrical Engineering student at the University of Washington, recipient of a NASA space grant and a Mary Gates Endowment for Research grant, and kickboxing instructor.

What Does That Mean?

I want to push the boundaries of space exploration and also bring non-invasive medical technology to the biomedical field. There is a mix of humbling and thrilling (like MMA fighting) and a large dose of the unknown. Space exploration challenges our understanding of the infinite cosmos. Through biomedical engineering we can change lives and bring cheaper, non-invasive health care to people suffering from diseases. Both fields are investments in the future of humankind.

Why Engineering?

When I was 18, after hard sparring at a training camp, I came across a podcast featuring Joe Rogan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I was captivated by Tyson. He spoke about the powerful role of engineers as modern day problem solvers and the reason scientists are able to make the leaps and bounds that we all get excited about. I just wanted to be an engineer at that point, it was such a gangster role...an engineer.

Why do you March For Science?

I generally support anything to do with science regardless of affiliation to politics. I want to be everything from protector of the nerds to an active participant in protecting science-backed decisions on legislation.

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John

I’ve been interested in science for all my life that I can remember. I read things like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, and I was always tinkering with things and trying to figure out how they worked. Advertisements for chemistry sets were filled with pictures of glasswork and all sorts of dripping stuff - it looked mysterious, and that made me very curious, so I started playing around with them, and when I got into chemistry classes in school, I liked them. The challenge of discovery and understanding relationships between atoms and molecules, putting things together - it’s a quest for better understanding of the world around me.

You know, chemistry has a stigma, that’s it’s difficult, and somehow I didn’t get the message. That’s a good thing, because it’s not difficult, and it is related to so many things. The main part of being a chemistry  professor is teaching chemistry, passing the techniques and information on to students. My biggest contribution is trying to help some youngsters get into a field that is useful and needed.

Why do you March For Science?

I think the March for Science shows a solidarity with fellow scientists in the sense that hey - we’re all in this together, and we’re going to stand for truth and for policies that most of us believe are valid conclusions, whether it’s climate change or stem cell research. We want to be advancing at the forefront of this stuff, trying to give people a better life.

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Bergen

Founder/CEO, HiveBio Community Laboratory

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

If you want to learn laboratory science, you have to be academically or professionally affiliated with a lab. Through the do-it yourself (DIY) model, we create a space where we can teach and learn lab science, and curious students and scientists can even conduct their own re-
search.

WHY DIY?

I studied psychology with a neuroscience focus at a school that did not have lab space. That was limiting. Growing up a punk rocker, I made stuff that was needed. Necessity creates innovation. The DIY community model allows me to create a space where no one else has to hear the “no” or feel the frustration that I felt.

Why do you March For Science?

The results of scientific inquiry should be open and accessible to everyone, not obfuscated by people in power for personal gain.

 

Martine

Mechanical engineer

What inspires you?

When I was a teenager I got a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that I love to drive. I still drive it to this day; and that car was the first thing that inspired me with a passion for good design. Every detail in that car is well thought out. For example, the windshield washer fluid is powered by the pressure from the spare tire. Ingenious things like this really helped me understand that best design is not always the most complicated design. This realization filled me with a passion for finding those simple, beautiful things that can make our lives easier and better.

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to see all the different pieces come together. I get to see mechanical engineering intersecting with software engineering in a way that most people don’t get to see. In the end, I believe that what will save us will be a confluence of events where unlikely people get together to solve the world’s biggest challenges.

Why do you march for science?

We need to march for the truth. I think the world is becoming a scary place, where things that seem obvious are treated with doubt and scorn from the highest level. We need to fight to keep the world a rational place, not a place that presents “alternative facts,” but a place that picks up and closely examines the truth.

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Neal & Lucy

Neal is a Virologist and Vaccinologist at Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute.

What does that mean?

I make vaccines for neglected and emerging diseases; and focus on ensuring everyone has access to our vaccines.

Why infectious disease?

When I was younger, and trying to figure out what to study, someone told me that if you take the world as a whole, most people don’t live long enough to die from cancer. That’s changing, and is probably no longer true, but that’s how I got started working on infectious disease.


Lucy is an Assistant Professor, Laboratory System Strengthening, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health at University of Washington.

What does that mean?

I travel the world and work with governments in resource- limited countries to improve their laboratory systems including training laboratory staff and supporting policy and regulations that improve medical laboratory quality. This helps us by enabling other countries to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before they can spread.

On The Future:

People tend to think that technology solves all the world’s problems, but in my experience, it really comes down to the people. For now there is so much to do! Though someday I’m going to stay home and grow flowers and vegetables.

Why do you March For Science?

As a global community, we need investments in people, including science education to keep our world healthy, safe and prosperous.