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New Patient Story

  • Location: Portland, Oregon,
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I am a senior PhD researcher with the Forest Service. Changes made to Federal Agencies by the previous administration and Congress, among other things crippling budget cuts, lead to researchers evicted from their offices. Now everybody is expected to do sound, innovative, problem-solving research working in a cubicle, at arms length from another employee. There is a lot of noise and no room for computers or notes. There is no privacy. That has effectively killed research in my Research Station. Many researchers quit, others retired early. Most of those who are still around are depressed and are waiting for retirement. Had I been a bit younger I would have gone to academia myself. We can no longer attract talent. Those who apply for the few positions that we are allowed to fill, do not accept the job offers when they learn where they are expected to work. We have been effectively converted to a banana republic. My salary and benefits cost the taxpayers more than quarter million dollars a year. Instead of giving in to depression and completely wasting my time and taxpayers money vegging, I decided to volunteer as an advanced science instructor to motivated high school students from low-income families. In the last 28 months I worked with 6 students, about 15 hours a week on average collectively. All of them got into college. They would anyway as they were intelligent, disciplined, and hungry to learn. But they got into colleges with full scholarships. All of them. 4 with full scholarships from Ivy League universities. I am so proud of them. A tearful hug from my students or their parents who come from families with no members ever going to college is a tremendous moral boost. It restores purpose to me. It eliminates all dark thoughts and feelings induced by my working environment. I hope I can continue to mentor for free for as many years as I can. I regret that I did not start earlier.