David Pickett(2002 TA: 2005,2006)
The University of Chicago – Biological Sciences with a
specialization in Neuroscience
The University of Chicago – Video Producer
When I applied to PGSS I thought that science was something set in stone, something that you learned out of a textbook. Of course I knew that all the scientific laws had been discovered at some point, but I didn’t think of science as the on-going process of discovery. I thought of science as the formulas and rules that were left in the wake. And I thought that science could more or less explain everything. At PGSS I experienced science hands-on. I came to realize that science was not a set of answers; it was a method for discovering new answers. I discovered that the world was a much more mysterious place than I had originally thought, a place where every new discovery generates a hundred new questions. I came to understand that science is the single most important human endeavor. I do not have a career in science. After completing my undergraduate degree, I realized I don’t have the dedication necessary to become a scientist. I have not given up on science though. I currently work as a video producer for the University of Chicago. Part of my job involves interviewing scientists and other professors about their latest findings and producing videos( http://research.uchicago.edu/highlights/ ) to explain/display their findings to the world. I hope to continue to find ways to communicate the importance of science to the general public. Aside from this understanding of the importance of science, PGSS also taught me the value of community and collaboration. At my high school the emphasis was put on individual achievement and all classes were fiercely competitive. PGSS exposed me to a world where my peers were truly my peers, people who could challenge me without threatening me. I realized that the world didn’t have to be an endless competition and that in fact, by working together we could all accomplish more than we would alone. This affected my choice of colleges as I wanted to go somewhere that had the same emphasis on collaboration and community. In addition to attending PGSS as a student I also returned two summers to work there as a Teaching Assistant/ Counselor. These were some of the best summers of my life. There is nothing as exhilarating as helping someone understand a complicated problem or idea. These summers taught me the joy of teaching and creating a safe & fun environment for students. I hope to return to teaching some day, because there’s nothing as rewarding. The impact of PGSS on my life has been immense, perhaps immeasurable. I don’t know who or where I’d be with out it.