2022 Fellow Xiangkun Elvis Cao and 2019 Fellow Gladys Ngetich have recently co-authored a comment article published in Nature Reviews Chemistry describing the failures they have both experienced in academia and their careers and the resilience they have built after their PhDs.
The article includes suggestions from both Fellows on how institutions, departments, and advisors can support students by learning to treat failure as an opportunity for reflection and improvement.
Gladys and I wrote this piece on our failures in graduate school to empower the next generation of scientists, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds… – Elvis Cao
Elvis commented: “Neither of my parents ever finished high school, and I encountered numerous failures as I journeyed from rural China to receiving a PhD degree from Cornell University and becoming a Schmidt Science Fellow. Gladys and I wrote this piece on our failures in graduate school to empower the next generation of scientists, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds who may lack relatable career stories. We also deeply resonate with the vision of the Schmidt Science Fellows program that encourages scientists to try, fail, make pivots, try again, succeed or fail better.”
As first-generation students, Elvis and Gladys hope that sharing their failures will inspire others from similar minority backgrounds to be encouraged to pursue challenging situations, build resilience, and persist regardless of the pain and rejection that inevitably arises from navigating PhD research and careers.
Read the paper in full here.