Following Your Dreams with Pritzker Lecturer Dr. Jamal Moss

This past week, Parker hosted its 15th annual Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence: Dr. Jamal Moss, deputy director of Auke Bay Laboratories and supervisory fish and wildlife administrator from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), visiting all the way from Alaska for a jam-packed full day of educational enrichment.

After members of the Science Department welcomed him, Dr. Moss met with the entire 7th grade to cover a range of topics, from his roots in the Chicago area to his work in Alaska and, finally, climate change, to name a few. After a brief respite to enjoy the special Spring Choir and Band Concert Morning Ex, Dr. Moss met with members of the Upper School Underwater Robotics team to discuss the types of robotic equipment he has used in his almost-19 years of experience leading trawl-based fisheries oceanographic surveys in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and as the principal investigator on projects focused on the ecology of juvenile salmon, marine fish and ecosystem processes. Following this working discussion-based lunch, Dr. Moss met separately with the 9th and the 6th grades to have developmentally appropriate discussions based on their lessons in class, his work and the changing climate’s effects. Following his school day at Parker, Dr. Moss joined Principal Dan Frank and the Science Department for dinner in the Kovler Family Library, where faculty members picked his brain on topics like education, climate science and even adapting to life in Alaska, among many other topics.

After this busy day, it was finally time for Dr. Moss’ lecture as the Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence. To the collected audience gathered in person and online, Dr. Moss spoke freely and honestly about his life and work. He described his admittedly convoluted path from Chicago to Alaska, where he worked as a research fisheries biologist. Most importantly, he detailed the importance of discovering your own path to “realizing your dreams,” even when you find yourself at the absolute rock-bottom in your life—especially if you are looking at a path where the faces that look like you are few and far between because you never know what you may find along that route or who you may inspire.

Parker is happy and thankful to Dr. Moss for traveling all this way to spend time motivating the community with his real-life experiences. In addition, the school is fortunate and grateful to the Pritzker family for providing these enriching educational experiences with thought leaders from around the nation. By interacting firsthand with these scientists, inventors and engineers, students see how individuals incorporate and handle the concepts they are learning in class in the real world.

Click here for photos from this visit.

The Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence program was created by a gift to Parker in honor of engineer, industrialist and philanthropist Robert A. Pritzker ’44. This program aims to expand science education opportunities at Parker and foster an ongoing dialogue among students and teachers about current issues in science. Previous speakers include Dr. Leon M. Lederman, Dr. Paul Sereno, Dr. Russell Mittermeier and Christina Mittermeier, Dr. Edward “Rocky” Kolb, Dr. Ka Yee Lee, Dr. Don Hillebrand, Dr. Matthew Tirrell, Dr. Elizabeth Gerber, Dr. Sian Beilock, Dr. Wendy Freedman, Dr. Rick Stevens, Dr. Eve Van Cauter, Dr. Dinee Simpson and Dr. Farah Fahim.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.