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President's Message: 2021 Reflections

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2021

We will be faced with the Coronavirus and its variants for some time to come. Over the past two years, we all have learned to adjust our daily lives by working either part-time or full-time from home, limiting time with friends and family, and learning to tackle important new scientific research in different ways.

The pandemic has provided us with a silver lining in science which is evident from the 3M State of Science Index 2021. This report has tracked attitudes towards science since 2018, expanding to 17 countries this year.  The 2021 study reveals four key themes:

Science is driving “hope” for a better world. With the progress made in fighting COVID-19, 91% of respondents believe scientists are critical to our future well-being.

  • The pandemic has renewed our focus on STEM. Scientists and medical professionals are inspiring a new generation to pursue science-based careers.
  • The pandemic has brought a sense of urgency with the world calling for solutions for environmental issues.
  • Science is a catalyst for unity and collaboration. Because of issues like pandemics and the environment, countries need to learn to work together for solutions.

You can learn more from the report HERE.

The pandemic has provided a silver lining for ARCS Foundation. We are fortunate we live in an era of technology.  Although we are tired of Zoom meetings and want to meet in person, the pandemic inspired Zoom to expand its platform to provide ways to connect socially and allow us to continue our work efficiently.  More than ever ARCS National and ARCS Chapters have shared their virtual educational programs with the entire ARCS community. 

Recently, the San Diego and Minnesota Chapters invited others to attend their virtual programs on Coronavirus-related topics and I know you will find them extremely informative. 

  • One of the mysterious side effects of COVID-19 is the loss of the sense of taste and smell. In the medical field, it’s called anosmia. A less publicized side effect that follows many COVID-19 patients is parosmia where scents and flavors become distorted. A physician and researcher at UC San Diego and one of her patients tell the story. Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, ARCS Minnesota Scientist of the Year, was recognized for his research in infectious diseases and contributions to help us understand the complexity of the coronavirus pandemic. He is nationally recognized in his field and in 2020 he was named a member of President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board. He provided up-to-date information about COVID-19 and addressed concerns about this ever-changing challenge. Watch HERE.

Throughout the year we have shared many scholar videos as they talk about their research and how ARCS Foundation has impacted them. As an ARCS Oregon member, I’m very proud to share a video in this newsletter of one of our stellar scholars, Mollie Marr, who is in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. Mollie is one of our shining stars!

Thank you all for your time, talent, and treasure as we continue to Advance Science in America. May you have a relaxing, healthy, and joyful holiday season!

Caron Ogg

ARCS National President Caron Ogg headshot