NACME Career Center

Perseverance in Science and Life


May 6, 2015

Olester Benson, my friend and NACME Board Liaison, recently sent me a link to a National Public Radio interview he taped on the subject of ‘Embracing Failure in Science.’ Dr. Benson, a Corporate Research Scientist at 3M, discussed with the other guests the value of embracing failure as an essential part of the scientific process. The guests talked about how, in the history of science, failed experiments were not negative occurrences, but valuable lessons that helped scientists narrow down their search for the breakthrough discoveries that lay ahead. What was the takeaway from the program? ‘Don’t be afraid to fail…and keep on going.’ The idea can be summed up in one word: ‘perseverance.’

This spring, I have been invited to give commencement addresses in two very different parts of the county. On May 9th, I will be the Commencement Speaker for the University of Arkansas’ College of Engineering in Fayetteville, Arkansas. On May 19th, I will be the Commencement Speaker at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, New Jersey. During the commencement at NJIT, I will also be honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters.

As I address the Class of 2015, I will be thinking about their perseverance. Many of these graduates hail from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in the engineering profession. Others are the first in their families to go to college. And all have successfully completed challenging coursework in science and engineering.

My advice to the students will be to retain that determination throughout their careers. During a recent speech to graduates, President Obama echoed these sentiments as well. “True excellence only comes with perseverance,” he said. “That wasn’t something I really understood when I was your age.”

In this issue of NACME Now, we take time to recognize members of our larger family who have received honors and reached milestones. We also announce Elizabeth Ross as our new Chief Development Officer. As a strong fundraising effort is vital to everything we do, Elizabeth will be playing a key role here at NACME. I hope you will join me in welcoming her.




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