Google chief Sundar Pichai recently took to Twitter to compliment an astrophysics student and called her inspirational. Sarafina Nance, the student in question, is a 26 year-old astrophysicist researching supernovae. Nance spoke about how far she has come from four years ago when she thought she would have to quit physics.
Nance said that she scored a 0 on her quantum physics paper four years ago but has come a long way since then and is in a top tier astrophysics PhD programme. Her inspirational message said that grades don't mean much in the long run. "4 years ago I got a 0 on a quantum physics exam. I met with my professor fearing I needed to change my major & quit physics. Today, I'm in a top tier astrophysics Ph.D program & published 2 papers. STEM is hard for everyone - grades don't mean you're not good enough to do it," she said. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
4 years ago I got a 0 on a quantum physics exam. i met with my professor fearing i needed to change my major & quit physics. today, i'm in a top tier astrophysics Ph.D program & published 2 papers.
STEM is hard for everyone-grades don't mean you're not good enough to do it.- Sarafina Nance (@starstrickenSF) November 20, 2019
Her inspirational messages led Sundar Pichai to share her post. "Well said and so inspiring!" he said. The post has been liked by more than 13K users so far. Her story inspired people to share their own.
Well said and so inspiring! https://t.co/qHBwdv3fmS- Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) November 21, 2019
A user said that she was told by an undergraduate professor that she doesn't have the "brain for science". Four years later she received her graduate degree in science from Stanford University. Another scientist said that he nearly failed his first year of undergraduation and bombed his GRE but has become the Chief Scientist of Keck now.
"One undergraduate optics exam was so bad I left after 10 minutes without writing anything other than my name. I now have a PhD in applied laser physics and about 17 years experience in optoelectronic sensors. I got there in the end," said a physicist while another professor wrote, "As an undergrad I got a C+ in plant ecology. I was devastated because that was my major. I talked to the prof who encouraged me to continue. Got my PhD and have been a plant ecology prof for 20 years. STEM is hard, grades don't matter as much as determination."