My blog seldom ventures into my role as a historian. I tend to stick to news about my writing, other fiction, or general information about myself and the world around me from a cultural perspective. I decided to break from my typical blog posts because a story in The New York Times this week struck me in a profound way.
For obvious reasons, news about Covid 19 dwells on the danger, loss, and overall fear associated with the pandemic. The overwhelming number of those we lost, the devastation to the economy, and the tragic way protecting ourselves became a political issue dominate our attention.
But history will also record heroes who came to humanity’s rescue. The article about Dr. Kati Kariko offers one such magnificent example. Dr. Kariko dedicated her life to laying the groundwork for what became the mRNA vaccines. I’m not a scientist so please read the article, linked below, for a much more eloquent, accurate, and succinct summary. However, my eye as a feminist/historian noted something else: she accomplished this feat while working in the STEM fields, long the dominion of men and riddled with prejudice. While the article itself shies away from the gender analysis, it jumped out at me. The words Mitch McConnell fired at Elizabeth Warren came to mind while reading Dr. Kariko’s history: “nevertheless, she persisted.” And because she toiled away in relative anonymity, she has forever altered the course of history. She saved lives. Her story moved me to tears. Thank the heavens, she persisted.
Here’s the link: New York Times story about Kati Kariko