This week, we present two stories about being different, and the ways our differences can become our strengths.
Part 1: Growing up, Amanda Gorman is determined to eliminate her speech impediment.
Part 2: An aspiring scientist brought up in a family of artists, Elisa Schaum feels like a black sheep.
Called the "next great figure of poetry in the US," 19-year-old Amanda Gorman is the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America and a Moth GrandSLAM champion. Her first poetry book, "The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough," was published in 2015. A Harvard sophomore, she has worked as a U.N. Youth Delegate in New York City, a HERlead Fellow with girl leaders in D.C. and London, and an Ambassador for the feminist platform School of Doodle. She has been featured in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Teen Vogue. At 16, she founded the community project One Pen One Page, which promotes storytelling and youth activism.
An oceanographer turned evolutionary biologist, Elisa Schaum investigates what makes some phytoplankton populations better at evolving under climate change than others. She does this because phytoplankton are breathtakingly beautiful, and because they pretty much rule the world: they produce half of the oxygen that we breathe, fuel food-webs and their activities determine whether the oceans can take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. She is just now coming to the end of a position as an associate research fellow at the University of Exeter’s Satellite Campus for Strange People (more formally known as Penryn Campus), and is about to start a junior professorship at the University of Hamburg. Her life pre-science involved a lot of music and dancing. She also likes to write fairly horrific poetry (or, preferably, read splendid poetry) in her free time. Originally from Belgium, she has lived and worked in the Netherlands, Germany, France, South Africa, Italy, New Zealand and the UK.
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