tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 31, 2016 4:00am-4:34am EDT
honestly, to me, it seems like just yesterday i was sitting on your side of the podium, as a member of the first class to be entirely educated under the block plan. and now, instead, i am saving up for my own grandchildren's college education. and thinking to myself, what a -- will the class of 2034 still go to college? and i'm thinking, that is probably a pretty safe assumption, because this system of higher education has actually been around since the 11th century. so that is a pretty good run. and when you think of how many changes we have had in just the
last 50 years, and how much technology has changed every aspect of our daily lives, but yet, we still find it essential for young minds to gather on a campus to learn and grow, i think it is a pretty good bet that my grandchildren are going to be on a college campus, and that is how they are going to learn to be independent thinkers. graduations are a time when everyone wants to give all of you advice. your professors want to tell you what to do with your degree. your parents want to tell you what to do with your lives. and graduation speakers try to find lofty truths to prepare you for success. and, you're probably going to forget tomorrow after a good night of partying, anything i have told you. and as your esteemed board chair
told me a few minutes ago, you are not only going to forget what i told you, you are not going to forget how long i told to tell you that. [laughter] marcia mcnutt: with that in mind, let me get on with my remarks. i sort of view life as a high-stakes poker game. advice that is given to you is more or less like cards that you
are being dealt in five card draw. and you have to decide which of those cards to keep and which to discard. when i look at the success that i have had in my own life, compared to that of my peers, i don't think that i necessarily have been dealt any better cards than anybody else. but the only thing that has been different is being a little better at deciding which cards to hold and which cards to discard. so the advice i want to try to pass on to today is, how do you make a decision on which cards to keep, and which cards to discard? what advice is worth keeping, and what advice do you want to pass on? i want to give you some examples from my own career. first, i learned early on in my own career, that you want to discard device from people who cannot imagine you doing things that are outside their own experience. and so they say, this was not in
my experience, so i cannot imagine it being in your experience. and that is the advice they give to you. they want to basically -- they want future generations to have their own fate. an example i encountered was the following. don't to major in physics because there has never been a woman to major in this. wright brothers had taken that advice, i would have had to use a card to get here today. if this comes from a historical -- if this comes from it and
authority figure, you might have a hard time discarding that. what iseed to listen to being said rather the end who is saying it. choicesmore difficult and terms of taking or discarding advice comes from when the advice is actually very well intentioned and it comes from people who are looking out for your best interest. let me give you two examples of this. when i was nearing graduation, i had planned along with my best friend to take a year off to work at a ski resort in sun valley, idaho. and then apply to graduate school one year later. i thought my plan was brilliant. when i talked to my graduate advisor about it, he was horrified. so i said, what is wrong with it?
and he said that he was concerned that i would get out of the habit of studying, thought i would have a part-time job and get used to having money in my pocket, and that i would get derailed from my plan of eventually going to graduate school and that basically, i would never return to school. his concerns actually made some sense to me. i ditched my plan to be a ski bum and i immediately went to graduate school instead. now, i don't want to scare any of you out there who have gap years planned because i ensure that any pursuits you have g in yourap year are much more redeeming than being a ski bum and will actually benefit you in terms of your applications to graduate school, so do not fret.
actually, being a ski bum probably would not have benefitted my application to graduate school. if i had not followed my professor's advice, who knows what would have happened? right now i could be a bartender in idaho wondering about the paths not taken. or, worse yet, rationalizing that it actually was the best i could have done and that i never would have been cut out for anything better than that. i am really happy that i took his advice. another example of advice from someone who was actually looking out for my best interests came from a senior professor at another university when i was looking at my first faculty appointment. and he said to me, don't go to m.i.t..
he said, they will eat you alive. and i remember his words exactly. because they are burned in my brain. and because i generally respected this person's advice, i asked him why he thought m.i.t. would be a bad fit for me. he said it had to do with the expectations placed on junior faculty and he said he thought i would have difficulty balancing the demands on junior faculty with having a young family -- and i had a newborn baby at the time. so i carefully waved at the upside potential of accepting this job with the concerns and the risks and i decided to discard his advice and take the job at m.i.t. years later, after i also gave birth to my twins, and
i received tenure at m.i.t., that same professor asked me, and i quote, how i was surviving working at a pressure cooker place like m.i.t. and i told him m.i.t. was where i went on monday mornings to relax and unwind after my weekend home with the children. pressure iswhat is completely relative. so even relatively late in my career, i will know seek out advice from trusted senior advisors for what i can sitter major life-changing decisions. tofor what i considered major life-changing decisions. after many years leading that monterey bay aquarium research institute, a dream job if there ever was one, i was offered the directorship of the u.s. geological survey or the usgs. everyone i knew had told me i would be declared certifiably insane to move from idyllic
monterey bay to washington, d.c., to take a china pharma aype and salary -- to take it ginormous cut in salary to obtain an equally large increase in bureaucracy. save for one person. an old friend of mine who was a former science advisor, i saw it out his advice right after i met with the secretary of the interior to discuss the position. i told him that secretary salazar, who is also a warmer he, grad, was willing to meet all of my request for elevating the visibility and the prestige of the usgs in terms of its position in the u.s. government.
this mentor that i met with told me, and i quote, in this case, he said, you cannot turned on the position. -- turned down the position. it is not about you anymore. it is what is in the best interests for the nation. if you turn down the position, there will not be another opportunity like this to help the usgs and the nation. so, i took the job. so, that is all i am going to say about advice given to me. now let me turn to advice i'm going to give to hear which -- you were all going to forget tomorrow, but, it is my job as your commencement speaker to at least try. the first thing i want to say is i want to encourage you all to embrace diversity.
studies show that high-performing institutions and high-performing individuals have open minds and welcome those who come from different backgrounds and look and think differently than they do. just as an example, the proportion of papers that are published in my journal of science with an international complement of authors has skyrocketed in the last 20 years and there is a direct correlation between the acceptance rate of articles from various nations of the world and how welcoming those nations are two students and researchers from other countries. when i go to a nation and i get complaints from that country about, why don't you accept more papers from our country? i will say, look at the makeup of the people in your level yourries, -- in laboratories, they are all from your own country.
if you want to internationalize, you will get more papers accepted. the next important piece of advice is take climate change seriously. [cheering] i am truly alarmed at the fraction of americans who either doubt that climate change is happening or believe that it is not a serious issue. the amount of misinformation that is spread by all media channels and the amount of money that is spent spreading misinformation is truly staggering. for that reason, part of deciding what advice to take is knowing what are the trusted channels of communication. the vested interests trying to confuse the message are very determined. for example, i heard one politician the other day publicly state that 97% of scientists dispute that climate
change is happening and it is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. in fact, the truth is just the opposite. 97% of scientists agree that climate change is happening. in fact, it is hard to find many issues about which scientists have that degree of consensus. now, science alone cannot say unequivocally what is the best response to climate change. we know that we can mitigate, we can adapt, and we can intervene in fact, we need to do some combination of all of those three. but we can say with the possible outcomes are from those scenarios, including doing nothing. we know that doing nothing is the worst possible response. scientists also agree that, right now, wars, famine, disease outbreaks, increased storm intensity, rising seas, droughts, fires, heat waves, and other calamities have 40 been attributed to climate change.
-- have already been attributed to climate change. everyone can do something about climate change, and how we live our own lives in the ballot box and in the values we teach our children. i fear that if we don't, it may not be a very happy world for our children, for your children, and for your grandchildren. my next piece of advice is to live a life of integrity at all costs. unless you plan to make your living as a rock legend or a foreign star, two of the few careers where a shady reputation is better than a good reputation. a good reputation separates those who succeed and those who fail. you will spend a lifetime building reputation for integrity that can be destroyed by one ill-advised decision. i will give an example from my own life. when my children were young, i
hired a professional nanny to take care of my children when i could not be home, especially since i was gone a lot as an oceanographer doing fieldwork. from day one, i made the decision to pay all required social security and other taxes associated with hiring in-home help. because it was the right thing to do. there was a famous case in the 1990's when a number of female nominees for attorney general of the united states were exposed as unfit for the job when background checks uncovered and that they as working mothers had been paying their household help under the table. the scandal became known as nanny-gate. it was no matter that it was possible that any number of male nominees for high-level cabinet positions had also had household
table,ing paid under the but no one had ever bothered to ask them the questions. but when the call came from the white house asking if i would be considered for the directorship of the usgs and whether i could pass the intrusive background check, i was happy that i could answer yes. finally, i hope you will quickly learn which advice to take and which to discard. even at advice i have given you today. one part i have learned from experience never to discard is uberstylish daughters tell me, no mom. don't wear that.
i listen. my dream for you is that you will get to the point that your decisions will no longer be about you because they are so much bigger than you. it is at that point that you will feel you could do something of true significance. i want to steal some words from daniel morrison's song today. when i was director of usgs and salazar was secretary of the interior, that was a time when there were actually five graduates of cc in the obama administration and when you think of that, for a small liberal arts college nestled at the foot of pikes peak to have five graduates in washington running the government, it echoes so many of the words from morrison's song. up and above, be on the peak, though few we are with tenacity and ferocity, like tigers soon
you'll see, i hope that all of you will do something of true significance and i look forward to seeing all of your accomplishments. godspeed to you, class of 2016. go out and live lives of true significance. thank you very much. [applause] announcer: the graduates le moyne college heard from nasa astronaut and former cia intelligence officer jeanette epps for their commencement. she told the graduates to follow their own interests pointing to her own career as a lesson. this is 15 minutes. [applause]
ms. epps: congratulations. it is a complete honor and joy to be here. congratulations students, parents, and faculty. i am so honored that linda would ask me to do this. i am completely blown away by it. i am very excited for you, the graduates, because of the opportunities that lie before you. it was a long time ago that i was in your seat, about 28 years ago. i was extremely awkward and shine but i was bursting with faith and that i could be successful. --pite having that they,
that faith if someone told me , that i would give the commencement speech at lemoine one day, i would not have believed them and most of my contemporaries would not have believed them. over the past 28 years, as a look back over my career, i have been truly blessed and i implement away by some of the things that i have been a part of but it all started here at le moyne college. and so over the years, i have had many students ask me, how did you get those opportunities? well despite having worked at the cia -- if it were i would have to kill you so let's not go there. [laughter] what i would like to do is tell you a few stories about my career path and how that awkward girl became your commencement speaker today. hopefully i will be looked to import a few things that worked in my career and may work for you. while i cannot guarantee that you will get everything that you want by doing these things, i
think you will become more successful in satisfied with your careers. what worked for me? the biggest thing that worked for me was that i did not let anything define who i was. what career i would choose, nor my capabilities. it took me some time to come into my own, however. for many years i was afraid to be the person i knew was in me because it was not standard. it ignored all of the norms, it was brave and bold. that person could fly jets, live underwater, climb mountains, and maybe land on the moon. but over the years, she came out little by little and it started during my final year here at le moyne college. it was at a time when i have to
decide whether or not i was going to pursue my dream of becoming an aerospace engineer. there were many forces telling me that i could not. i was also afraid that i would not get into a larger school coming from a background in physics. the other thing at a time in the 1990's, the aerospace industry was at a low. schools were not necessarily allowing anyone to come in. they were very selective. during that year, a question stood before me and before you today. who are you and who will you be? in my deepest inner be i knew , exactly what i wanted to do. i knew that i would have much work ahead of me but i also knew that i was a good student. in addition to that, i also had the support of my family. i knew that this was something that i truly wanted to do. once i decided, i went ahead and i apply to the university of maryland. then, i was pulled enough to get on a plane and travel to maryland and show that the department chairs office.
i sat down with him, i told him i detailed plan and he grilled me for over two hours, but i the end, he challenged me, he challenged me by accepting me as a student. i understood who i was inside and i decided who i would be in the world and what i wanted to do. there will be many people who will try to define who you are and events may challenge your capabilities. i say, do not let them. do note steve jobs, waste your life living somebody else's life. do not be trapped by dogma. do not let the noise of others'opinions drown out your own inner voice and most importantly, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition.
victor frankl, a health cost -- a holocaust survivor and psychiatrist stated that there is a space in stimulus and response and in that space is our power to choose our response and in our response lies our growth and freedom. how you respond to the questions regarding who you are and who you will be in the world besides -- decides your growth. when the u.s. decided that we would go to the moon, we were defining our national character and who we will be in the world. john f. kennedy's legendary speech at rice university caused nearly every american to believe in what was impossible at that time. we define ourselves as a leader in technology, a nation that can do the impossible, powerful in the past in the world -- a defining moment. we are still living on that legacy today. that defining moment that i did a very successful apollo program and shuttle program. that same character that was to find so many years ago is alive and well. in the future will see that
belief in our country's character with the development of the successful -- of a successful commercial shuttle program and in nasa's development of their own shuttle -- a vehicle that may take us to an asteroid, mars, or maybe back to the moon to finish what we started. it is crucial that you define who you are in believe that you are that person. so now once you have decided not to let anyone -- not to let anyone be your own worst enemy by defining who you are and you must not become your own worst enemy. you must believe that you are that person that deep in your soul if you know is there. i know that many speeches include the saying believe in yourself but it is a factor in success. myn i was nine-years-old, older brother came home from college and he noticed my grades. he was very proud of me and he mentioned that i could become an aerospace engineer and may be an astronaut since at that time,
sally ride and others were selected. for some reason, i believed that i could be an aerospace engineer but despite nobody in my family being an engineer but i do not believe the part about becoming an astronaut. fast-forward to university of maryland, i met many people who had applied to the astronaut program. these people were very accomplished and checked all the boxes, bound to be selected. however, none of them were. it just confirmed what the nine-year-old knew, that it is all most impossible to be selected. but eventually, a friend of mine from university of maryland got selected and he called me one day and asked why and had applied. after several years of working at the cia and forward i began to think, why not me? why was this for everyone except me? i had been as successful as others in their career, so why not now go also, full
disclosure, at time i was getting older and i knew that i would completely regret never applying at least once in my lifetime. the point is not that i got into the astronaut corps but it is this -- i almost and not get in because i cannot believe in myself that i almost never applied because i do not believe that i could be that person. you must believe in yourself and your accomplishments and your abilities. if you do this, no matter what happens, you will achieve a great level of personal success and satisfaction in life. one of my favorite quotes is, believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you. next, in your professional career, there will come a time when you must decide between taking the path that is expected of you or the path that interests you. the path that is expected likely is a traditional career path that leads to promotions, pay raises, and positions of greater
authority and responsibility. however, the path that interests you may be less lucrative and more challenging but has the promise of greater personal satisfaction. for some, these paths a line. for most, like me, they will not. after completing graduate school, i decided to work at ford motor company. the story of how i ended up or i will leave for another time. it while working there, received a job offer from the cia. it would have been very easy for me to stay at ford. i consulted with many friends and family and they thought i should stay with ford motor company. but there was a voice inside me. i knew there was more that i
wanted to be. for me, there was no other option but to accept the job offer with the cia and i have never regretted it. working there really brought out the person that i knew was inside me, the things that i was able to do, the things that i was able to do and the places and things that i saw contributed to the confidence that i needed to go ahead and apply to the astronaut corps. so, make your own decisions and own those decisions. if you select the path of doing something that interests you, you must accept the consequences and limitations that may arise from that decision but you will reap a personal satisfaction that comes are doing something that you love. many people that i knew at ford motor company, they are still working there. and they probably make double the money that a government employee makes but i think that i have been far happier, and i am still very happy with my career. on of the last things i would like to add is that along the way you will have many critics, especially when you make a mistake or you do something that
people do not agree with. that the late nelson mandela accomplished, he had critics. realize is did not that he wasn't a perfect human, but he was perfectly human with all of his complexity. he may have made mistakes but the things that he worked other ways to not only forgive those who imprisoned him but also to forgive himself. this is important since you will make mistakes and when you do, you must forgive yourself, you allow your self to make them. after all, you are only human. also, learn from your mistakes that you can move forward with a clear conscience. you refine how you define yourself once you do that. in summary, you decide who you and want to be. decidelet someone else your future. take charge of your future, it is bright and clear -- the universe is at your fingertips. eleanor roosevelt said the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream.
shakespeare said it is not in the stars that our destiny but in ourselves. i say you decide who you want to be, prepare to be that person, focus on it and matter what happens you will do great things. also, i challenge you to not allow the events of the day make you less idealistic, optimistic, or less loving of others. instead, despite these crazy times, be daring and courageous. live your dreams to the fullest and p o to the fullest. change the world for the better. your destiny -- and it is yours if you are willing to take responsibility for it. so congratulations again, graduates, go into the world and be who you were destined to be. [applause]
announcer: oracle founder larry ellison delivered the commencement spaced a graduate of the diversity of southern california and los angeles. he spoke about his early struggles to find a job that he loved and how his best friend, steve jobs, taught him that there is more to life and money. he also encouraged graduates to try new things and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. this is 25 minutes. larry: good morning class of 2016. thank you for inviting me here. i am honored to be with you for your graduation from the university of southern california. this morning i would like to