The gospel of mentoring
John McConnell, freshly retired physicist, did a mom a favor and it changed his life. No doubt it has and will change many more lives, too.The woman’s son, a third-grader, was completely swallowed up in his fascination with electricity. Reluctantly, McConnell agreed to meet the boy.The kid’s in college now, one of the recognized geniuses in the field already. He’s won over $500,000 in science and engineering awards. But he could as easily been lost to boredom at an early age.McConnell today is one busy 75-year-old, perhaps working harder than he ever did in his career at Los Alamos. This week he was preaching the gospel of mentoring to Rotary Clubs at each end of the valley. Not just scientists, but all of us should be thinking this way. That’s his message. It makes sense.Working with the kid helped motivate McConnell to set up the Western Colorado Math and Science Center in Grand Junction. Students from elementary school to college have visited and learned from the displays there, including some from Eagle County, he says.The center is located at 2660 Unaweep Ave. and open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information call (970) 254-1626 or visit http://www.sithok.org.The kid inspired the retired physicist. But so did fear, fear of interest in science waning in the United States. We need a few more McConnells.Vail, Colorado
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