(Photo courtesy of Alix Generous)
Alix Generous just came back from a United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity in India. There, she presented her findings on coral reef deterioration, which will soon be published in a science journal at Columbia University. All this landed her on the front page of The Post and Courier. And most impressive of all, she’s a sophomore at the College of Charleston.
This information may cause you certain side effects. You may undergo a quarter life crisis or drop your Marine Biology major. Maybe you’re experiencing lethargy. Or perhaps you’re making a beeline to Addlestone. Generous has accomplished things as a 20-year-old that some people dream of doing in a lifetime.
Perhaps to some surprise, the process of attending the U.N. Conference was seemingly straightforward. Generous’ brother informed her of the Citizen Science paper competition. In about a week “I was able to synthesize my knowledge from Bali, write the paper, and submit it. And these were the results it yielded,” Generous said. Granted, most of us had not researched coral reefs in Bali last summer or can effortlessly synthesize environmental science with our love for pharmacology. But, nevertheless, Generous simply submitted a paper and it got her to the United Nations.
Generous is proof that you can pursue anything, regardless of your age. She advises to “find what you love, what you deeply care about, and pursue it with every bone in your body. It sounds like hard work but it isn’t because if you really love it, then all these decisions will feel natural and God given.” Generous has a love for neuroscience and abnormal psychology like some people have for their boyfriends. But she’s never breaking up with science.
“The way people are infatuated with each other in the beginning parts of their relationship is exactly what I feel toward treating mental illness, except the infatuation never ends,” Generous said. ”I feel like I was put on this earth to help treat people.”
Generous’ radio show and companion blog for CisternYard Media “Brains and Fluff: Keeping Science Sexy” exemplify the attraction she has for all things science. However, she defines “sexy” a bit different than the average twenty-something.
“Science is sexy because of all the hard work and discoveries that have been able to help millions of people and to make this world a better place,” Generous said.
Generous has always been interested in mental difficulties, especially higher functioning mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and depression. “The amount of passion and love I feel for people who have [disorders] and this cause is endless,” she said.
Generous’ propensity for fragility manifests itself in her relationships, her passion for curing disease and even in the coral reefs of Bali. She noted that while in Bali, it was the dead coral reefs that inspired her research. For Generous, the thriving corals were beautiful, but the dead reefs inspired her motivation and purpose.
Generous’ love for the abnormal only helps her stand out more. “Through having courage to do the things that may seem weird to other people and refusing to assimilate to how everyone else acts by sacrificing my purpose, I have been able to do incredible things that I hope will make this world a better place,” Generous said.
As if the United Nations wasn’t enough, she’s currently writing a grant to further awareness of deforestation in between her MUSC internship and countless extracurriculars. Needless to say, she’s going places. Bali was just her first stop.