I wouldn´t suffer from lack of capable people
Prof. Jan Genzer came to the United States rather recently, only 16 years ago, yet became very successful as a scientist and educator. He visits his homeland frequently and stays in touch with his colleagues continuously - via the internet.
He was born in As (Western Bohemia). After completing high school and undergraduate studies at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, he received a graduate scholarship to study for his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1998 he became Professor of chemical and molecular engineering at the North Carolina State University. He has also received recognition and prizes for his scientific work.
Dr. Genzer feels that his schooling in the Czech Republic was very good and gave him a solid foundation for his work abroad. He keeps himself informed about all the happenings in his homeland- through the internet. He is working with his colleagues in Prague on several collaborative projects and he even arranged for some of his American students the possibility to travel and study in the Czech Republic.
How different is life in the US as compared to his country of origin? First of all- he says- he realized how good and thorough his Czech education was. Gradually, he also became more and more proud of his origin. Even though he is now an American citizen, in his heart he has remained a Czech. America became his second home for which he feels a lot of love, respect and gratitude. America gave him a chance to achieve the “American dream”, but it was not easy- it took a lot of hard work, determination and sacrifice. He feels that Czechs are very adaptable people, often too much so often to their detriment- probably as a result of their historical experiences. Also there is too much envy and jealousy among the Czechs which is seldom encountered among the Americans. There is a certain “smallness” and a lack of courage to try new things present in thinking and acting among the Czechs. He also believes that his countrymen have too little self confidence as compared to the Americans, who often feel that there is a solution to every problem and that nothing is impossible. “It is not good to be too humble when a job is done well and in America I have learned how to accept sincere praise and appreciation gracefully,” says dr. Genzer. For detailed information about dr. Genzer’s research please go to: http://scf.che.ncsu.edu
Scientific research is done in the USA at the many universities, but basic research is also conducted at various national laboratories. In addition to teaching and research work, the professors are also expected to write applications for various grants to raise obtain necessary funding for their scientific work.
"I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I love and even get paid for it,"says dr. Genzer. "In my own country under communism that would not have been possible without party membership, which I never accepted." Would he be successful in today's Czech republic? While he cannot comment directly on the infrastructure, he can say with confidence that he wouldn't "suffer from lack of capable people", whom he could motivate for his work.Marina Huzvarova
Translation by Marie Dolanska
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