Every so often I give myself a special treat, and so I signed up to be a judge in my local Mensa scholarship competition. Judging is always a treat because I get to meet other members of my group who never, or rarely, come to meetings or other Mensa activities. It’s also a way of looking at and marveling over what scholarship seekers are doing and thinking of doing.
This year we judges did most of our work online but got together for the final round before sending our top three on to the regional competition. When we were done, we gathered in our hostess’s living room to await the final tally, and it turned out to be the kind of conversation that makes people want to join Mensa in the first place.
We talked about why and how long ago we joined Mensa and what had happened at our first meeting. We went from there to Antarctica, women’s customs in Nepal and how they differed from the ancient Middle East, musical instruments, the work of writing and editing, recent books and authors, the future of science and engineering — all of it interesting, a lot of it humorous and so good that it kept me warm on the 50-step trek to my car in 5-degree weather.
As for what the scholarship seekers are doing and thinking, that, too, was warming. Coming home that day to the news of Justice Scalia’s demise and the immediate uproar of finding his successor, I was overcome by the feeling that although Washington may be in disarray now, the future as envisioned by these high school and college students would be a good one, a future filled with scientific and technological wonders and people whose greatest motive is helping to make the world a better place. So many of these people have already done so much toward their goals that it seems they surely can accomplish the task of improving the world, whether through science, nursing, education, music — whatever their skills and talents may be. It made me feel good to think that I would have a part in whatever they choose to do, by helping to judge the scholarship essays they wrote and by contributing funds to enable these scholarships to be awarded.
Now that the future of the world is taken care of, I can give myself another treat: signing up for the annual Colloquium. Every Colloquium I have attended, and that’s almost all of them, has been fascinating. I think this year’s will be no exception. Its title is “The Nature of Genetics: Flora, Fauna and the Future,” and it will take place in San Diego on June 28, the day before the AG begins, in cooperation with the San Diego Zoo. Talk about treats! How can you beat the combination of San Diego, the zoo and the future, along with topnotch speakers and a fabulous resort hotel?
The Mensa Foundation brings scholarships and colloquiums to us. It’s up to us to make the most of them and, by donating our time and our funds, to make sure they continue.