This week I spoke at the North Carolina Commodities Conference in Raleigh NC. Turns out that two of the undergrads that worked in my lab used that experience to find great positions in Research Triangle Park. Both are doing very well and I'm super proud of them. I had a chance to grab a beer(s) and catch up with them.
Visiting with two former students, now in great careers. Those are the papers we co-authored while they were in my program.
As strange coincidence would have it, Dr. Qinghua Gao was also at NC State. Qinghua is one of my best friends in the world. We had such a wonderful time working together for a year back in 2007, and I've visited his lab in Shanghai several times since. His wife is a scientist and is working on a project at NC State. He's here for a month or so, and it was great to get together. His son has gone from a baby to a second grader in a very short time.
With my friends from Shanghai.
When I signed up to work as a university professor I never realized the lives that would accidentally change, especially my own. The relationships we build in the laboratory are durable and deep, stemming from a common intense pursuit of answers to a common question. There's a great respect and admiration that grows from revisiting the lives of the people that stopped under our lab's tree a bit before pushing on to the next (more exciting) steps of their journey.