Before attending the EGU conference, I always thought of Rollins as a good school, but at the EGU’s Early Career Scientists (ECS) Debate I learned how valuable my education at Rollins has truly been. The debate wasn’t a normal debate — it turned out that the attendees were actually the ones participating. So as each person arrived, they sent us to tables with 7-10 people each and gave us the question, “should early career scientists use time to develop transferrable skills?”
At my table, there were two people from Germany, one from Switzerland, two from Iran, and one from Turkey. Among the seven of us, I was the only undergraduate and the youngest there, two were professors, one owned her own scientific tech company, and the rest of them were in graduate or Ph.D. school. It was slightly intimidating at first, but once we started conversing, I felt like I had plenty to contribute. Due to the vagueness of the question, we first examined and developed what we thought they meant by and our own definition of “transferrable skills.” Then, another supplementary question we considered thoroughly was, “what are some concrete skills?” For this question, I listened to the entire group as I tried to arrange my thoughts. Once everyone had spoken, I spoke about my double major in chemistry and music, Rollins’ liberal arts education, and how both have led me to believe that the most useful skills in any situation are communication, creativity, and adaptability. The group was impressed with Rollins’ values and methods, and we actually talked about how we could apply them into our research/lives. Having these conversations and getting to hear the opinions/experiences of this eclectic group gave me an unprecedented appreciation for the global community Rollins teaches and cherishes. It’s something I’ll never forget.