The closing plenary provided a thought provoking end to the conference with it’s focus on the future. The six panelists, which included three original SftP members, a UC Berkeley professor, and two AAAS fellows, began the session by each divulging about their careers, both past and future. The panelists represented a gamut of differing experiences: Vinton Thomas, Steve Nadel, and Ivan Handler, all original SftP members, demonstrated how wildly different career paths came from similar beginnings. Vinton Thomas is a current college President, while Ivan Handler works for the state of Illinois in their Health Information Technology office, and Steve Nadel went on to become a climate change activist. Ignacio Chapela, a professor of Environmental Science at Berkeley, and Darshan Karwat and Karoline Pershell, the AAAS fellows, were not original SftP members but share similar ideologies in both work and activism. All together, they showed both SftP’s past and it’s future.
After the panelists had shared their stories and their insights into the ideologies of scientist activism, the floor was opened for questions. With lines stretching all the way up both aisles of the room, it was clear how important the people felt it was to share their own stories and insights into the future of SftP. Although there was no great consensus, the general feel in the room was easy to discern. The original SftP operated on the ideology of making a real impact through activism in science, and groups in the future should push for the same. In a world where politics and science are intertwined, and moral and ethical conflicts are also involved in science, it falls on young scientists to become activists, and use their science in a positive way. All in all, there was a feeling of good hope for the future of science activism.