Leary pursues science field at UNC Wilmington

Katie Johnston, Features Director

Senior Gordon Leary is passionate about the field because of it’s relevance in the real world, and he has spent the past four years of high school preparing himself to pursue his interest in science in college.  
“Science is important to everyday [life], and it helps improve the the world,” Leary said. “It improves everyday life, and it helps us have a better understanding of the world around us and why things happen.”
Leary will be attending University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the fall to major in biology, an interest he’s had since a young age.
“I’ve just always enjoyed finding out new things,” Leary said.  “[When] I was young, I would just want to go out and play outside and figure out why thing happen. I would watch Discovery Channel and Animal Planet instead of Cartoon Network and Nick.”
Leary’s favorite branch of science is genetics because of its role in hereditary diseases and the field’s possibilities in cancer research. He became interested after learning more about the topic in Biology and reading DNA by James Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA. According to Leary, cancer and genetics go hand in hand.
“Now, they’re figuring out that there are a lot of cancers related to genetics,” Leary said.  “It’s such a dark field; there’s a lot of unknowns. I want to be one of the people to be on the forefront of cancer research and just help improve the world and medical science.”
Leary developed a love for teaching science by teaching elementary schoolers at Oceans and Motions and by planning and teaching lessons with a group in class. He hopes to get his doctoral degree and become a research professor at a university.
“There’s always things that can be improved on and new things that can be [discovered] in science,” Leary said. “I just like to teach people what I know and transferring my knowledge to them.”
Leary is concerned about the anti-science stance that has been adopted by many politicians and policies and what it might mean for the future of the environment.
“We can’t avoid climate change; it’s inevitable,” Leary said. “I think we are accelerating the rate at which the climate is changing due to our extremely high greenhouse gas putout. I think that we’re almost to a point where we can’t reverse it, and we need to start doing something now. Donald Trump is really threatening that.”
According to Leary, biology teacher George Murphy’s classes have had the biggest impact on his passion for science. He took honors biology I and II and AP Biology with him.
“He hasn’t given me the answers,” Leary said.  “He’s helped me come up with [answers], and think intuitively about science, and discover solutions that I may not have thought of before.”