Monday I was inspired by a pint-size genius. She was a speaker in my favorite class ever, Me Inc. Her journey to find her calling is by far the most interesting I have ever heard.
Jennifer Miller graduated from Fordham with plans to become a NASA theoretical physicist (nope, not kidding) but decided that being a bioethicist and creating a company called Bioethics International (BEI), a nonprofit that provides education, training, advisory, and media services for the healthcare industry, was something that the world needed. Jennifer works extensively in the area of disaster and pandemic preparedness ethics, co-chaired the 2008 United Nations affiliate bioethics conference, founded the World Council for Ethical Standards, and was appointed to Obama’s new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. This is an eighth of what she has accomplished before the age of 30. Naturally, I hate her.
No, I’m kidding. She was great. Truly inspirational…she can barely sleep at night because she knows so much more needs to be done. She lives and breathes her framework that ensures the entire world has the means to get to a doctor and that those in Third World countries are not guinea pigs for Pfizer. She’s nothing short of amazing. I don’t think I have ever been in the presence of someone who has so followed their passion with such fervor and relentlessness.
As I’m trying to find my own passion, I do realize one thing: I am done. I cannot get out of bed and do this anymore. I cannot stand on this subway packed in with the multitude of unhappy people heading downtown on that God-forsaken 6 train. I cannot enter this elevator at work for one more day, to go to my cube…and fake it. There’s got to be more out there than this. Especially when I experience true inspiration in a small classroom on West 60th. I like to fancy myself a rather intelligent gal. While I am not getting my PhD in bioethics, I still have a lot to offer this world. And the people in it.
Allow me this brief moment of positivity. It doesn’t come often…maybe about as frequently as Hailey’s Comet. But what I know…is that we can make anything happen. At 25, did Jennifer think she could start a business whose success would be measured in how many thousands of lives she saves? I doubt it, but without a dream, she would not have stood a chance.
One of her daily goals is to obtain a “greater understanding and promotion of human dignity.” If we could wake up every morning with that goal in mind, I have no doubt all of our Tuesdays would be better.
To quote Discovery’s motto: The World is Just Awesome. And it’s much bigger than this tiny apartment on 73rd St.