Some students might dread the return to school following the long holiday break. For kids at Acera School, it was different. Students of the K-8 STEM school in Winchester spent the first morning back in the company of Sir Fraser Stoddart, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
During his visit, Dr. Stoddart toured Acera during its weekly “Creativity Morning,” when students engage in electives such as electronics, music and theater, woodshop and engineering, and stop animation. He then met with middle school students to share his path from growing up outside of Edinburgh, Scotland to receiving the Nobel Prize. During the 90-minute discussion, Stoddart highlighted the importance of mentorship, finding big problems to solve, and taking on the unknown.
“Doing your own thing — doing something new — is so important,” explained Stoddart. “You can bring something transformative to your community, and to the world.”
Stoddart also offered guidance for life in general, stressing the importance of kindness, diversity, respect, and collaboration. He then expressed his admiration for the inquiry-based learning taking place at Acera.
“What you are doing here, letting students take ownership of their learning, is what we need to do across all of academia,” he said.
Dr. Stoddart has mentored 450 undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows during his career. He has more than 1150 publications and has launched two startup companies. Stoddart was honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight-Bachelor in her 2007 New Year’s Honors List for his services to chemistry and molecular nanotechnology.