Callooh! Callay!

May 28, 2008

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.
               — Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1832-1898
                   English author, mathematician, and clergyman

I have an announcement to make:

Lynn DeAngelis has a job!

She will be working as a lab technician in the production department of a company in southeastern Pennsylvania that specializes in the conjugation of affinity-purified secondary antibodies and purified immunoglobulins. Their products are sold primarily to scientists in universities and research institutes worldwide who are conducting research in the plant, animal, and biomedical sciences.

Because I have a prodigious Latinate vocabulary, I can pretty much figure out what all those words in the first sentence mean, at least individually. I’m less clear on what they mean when grouped together like that, but I’ve written them down on a sticky note and am practicing saying them to other mothers I might encounter at the supermarket. And I certainly don’t know what a young scientist who can truly say that the ink is not dry on her diploma (they’re produced and mailed weeks after commencement) does all day while she’s conjugating and purifying the antibodies.

But do it she will, beginning June 9. That means she will be employed in a professional capacity in the field she prepared for, less than a month after graduation. And she got this job entirely on her own, through her own pluck and determination. The company did not recruit on her campus and did not advertise any openings. She saw the building and the scientific-sounding name while on her way to her boyfriend’s family home (it’s about a forty-minute drive from the apartment she’s taken), found out what they did there, and sent them an unsolicited letter of interest. They interviewed her last week (she had a feeling they liked her when they took her out to introduce her to the resident goats that provide some of the raw materials for the immunoglobulins) and called her yesterday. (And okayed some brief time off without pay to go to that important wedding in Utah!)

Only last week, Lynn expressed some fear about the future. The future has always been scary, I told her. One of my favorite movie scenes is from a very old Disney pic about Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, a Revolutionary War hero. In the scene, the Swamp Fox’s nephew, Gabriel Marion, who is in his late teens, has a conversation with his sweetheart about their future. He’s going to fight along with his uncle, and the sweetheart expresses fear and says this is a terrible time to be a young person. He tries to console her, and tells her that it is an exciting time to be alive and young, for despite the war and the risks and everything else, there is hope.

I believe that is true for today as well. People like me, the poets and the dreamers, the do-gooders who want to reform education, end poverty and hunger, and teach the world to sing will be able to do that because people like Lynn will be working to figure out how to build schools and houses that keep us warm and safe more efficiently and grow crops that feed more people in better ways.

Congratulations, Lynn. I am chortling with joy.

To be included on the notify list, e-mail me:
margaretdeangelis [at] gmail [dot] com (replace the brackets with @ and a period)

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