Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, March 9

We are very fortunate at St. Austin to be serving the community of the University of Texas at Austin because UT is a world class school. Recent evidence of this was provided by a full page ad in the February 18, 2014 New York Times, listing the winners of the 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships. The 126 fellowships represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Of the 126 fellowships, going to all the prestigious schools in North America such as MIT, UC Berkeley, U of Chicago, McGill U, John Hopkins U, Stanford, Princeton, Boston U and many others, THREE were granted to researchers at UT Austin. They were Guangbin Dong in the area of Chemistry, Pradeep Ravikumar in the area of Computer Science, and Amir Mohammadi in Mathematics. Congratulations to them!

Now perhaps you notice something a bit striking or unusual about these three names. It immediately jumped out at me, and that is of course that all three of these researchers are MEN. I am sure that there are also women doing very fine research at the University of Texas at Austin, but I guess it was just not their year for this research award. I look forward to this being redressed in next year’s Sloan awards.

Another thing to note, which may have slipped by you, is that these three are not traditional central Texas names. “Guangbin” is probably not a common name in AISD, and Ravikumar and Mohammadi probably are not either, at least not this year. In fact, it is highly probable that all three are either immigrants or children of immigrants.

This reveals to me two interesting things: The University of Texas at Austin is a world class research institution that draws brilliant people from all over the globe. Secondly, immigrants are VITAL to keeping the United States at the forefront of scientific research and keeping our economy healthy and strong. Thank God for immigrants!

God Bless,

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