“I think young people have an advantage over people like me and my generation in that now there are many opportunities, through science fairs, through museum programs, things on the Internet; and the people who haven’t been in touch with a scientist can see them. In fact, you can even see on the television shows where they talk about the use of science – for example, CSI – so that young people now have an opportunity to see others like themselves doing science. And so it’s not something that is impossible or completely foreign to them.
I think this is healthy. In fact, one of the things I tell students as I get an opportunity to talk to ‘em about my career and about science and engineering, in general, is that they shouldn’t let others define who they are and what they should be interested in. If they’re interested in science, then there are opportunities. There’s plenty of role models out there now on television and elsewhere in society to show that it’s possible to pursue that type of career.”