There are times when personal and professional interests directly cross, and this is one of them. Those who follow this blog know that I almost exclusively write about education, but have upon occasion shared something from or about our rock-star daughter, Cassidy in her role as incredible scholar athlete and big thinker. Today it is our son, Josh, who yesterday successfully defended his PhD in Chemical and Systems Biology, a department within the Stanford University Medical School.
Words don’t really work when a dad tries to describe the pride he has at a time like this. Josh is the first of our branch of “Lichtman” to ever attain a doctorate degree, and to do so in that field at Stanford…well, it doesn’t get much better.
And here’s the lesson for educators and other parents. Josh has always been a really great kid; I don’t know that anyone has ever had a negative thing to say about him. In high school he was an outstanding athlete and a very good student, but not the top student in the class. He did not go to an Ivy League as an undergrad. He went where he could pursue a passion, study hard, become part of the service learning community, engage with friends, and break his baby teeth on some basic research. And all of that stuff prepared him to be attractive getting accepted to Stanford for a PhD, which is pretty darn tall cotton.
May of us are starting to ask: why are students allowed to pursue creative areas of interest in kindergarden and early elementary, and then not again until graduate school? Walk around your school if you have young ones there, or go visit another school, and you will see what I mean.
We are all busting with pride over Dr. Lichtman; he knows and can articulate stuff way beyond my ken; and he will put it to use trying to make the world a little bit of a better place. It is a very good day.