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The brightest faces at today’s March for Science in Washington, DC didn’t belong to scientists, but to the kids of all ages and backgrounds who braved the torrential rain to protest their government and stick up for science. (Although, some admitted they were here under the impression that there would be food.)

“Diversity and inclusion in STEM are immensely important. This was something that was greatly stressed by the Obama administration,” John Holdren, Science Advisor to President Obama, told me over the phone.

“We had numerous mentoring events for young women and girls. Obama understood that diversity is a benefit—you can’t win if you leave half the team on the bench.”

I chatted with several groups of young people about the role that science plays in their lives. Many wanted to become scientists themselves, but others were simply disillusioned by their president’s “malicious policies,” as one put it. One thing they all shared, however, was an understanding our lives would be much harder, and much less vibrant, without the wonderful world of science. 

Jason, Layla, Ryan, and Lilly

Why are you guys here today?
I thought that it was a really great cause to come and support science.

Do you want to be scientists when grow up?
[Jason]: If you count being a surgeon as a scientist.

What are your favorite science classes?
[Jason]: Waves—we got to do a bunch of fun activities.

Do you like your science teachers?
[Their mom]: They’re homeschooled so they have to.

Youth plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the US government over climate change

Sarah Emerson

How do you feel about the march?
There’s a very positive vibe around here right now. It feels like everybody is on the same team.

Do you think science is important for young people to get into?
A lot of the climate scientists are being ignored and we really need to listen to them.

Do you like studying science?
I’m not really good at science, but I think it’s interesting and cool.

Why are you here today?
I feel like we have a bigger impact because we’re here and we’re saying: “No, science is a real thing!”

Janina and Ahrianna

Sarah Emerson

Are you guys having fun?

What are your favorite science subjects to study?
[Janina]: Mine is to study about sediment and the different types of rocks.
[Ahrianna]: I like studying about animals, life science, and the ocean.

Do you want to be scientists one day?
[Janina]: Yes.
[Ahrianna]: Not really.

Holden, Shabir, and Nadia

Sarah Emerson

Motherboard: Why are you here today? 

Nadia, Shabir, and Holden: Because we love science, and I study facts about the world. (It’s because we want our food!) I like to learn about the different types of animals. And because we want to keep science and learn about more stuff.

Do you like studying science? Yes! In my science class we have caterpillars. We’re gonna watch them grow but right now they’re in the larval stage. Our teacher says we can name them—I named mine “Sticky” because he goes on the ceiling.

What do you like about science? I like that you can learn new things that you didn’t know. I also like chemical reactions.

What are your favorite science subjects ? Engineering and technology.


Sarah Emerson

Why are you here today? 
I’m here because I support science, and I’m against the president’s malicious policies.

Do you like studying science?
My favorite subject is astronomy—I’d possibly want to be a scientist one day.

Are there any scientists who you really like?
I like Dr. Francisco who teaches physics and biology [at my school].

Is this your first protest?
It is, and it’s larger than I expected.

Evan and Henry

Sarah Emerson

Why are you here? 
Because I like to study astrophysics.

Do you want to be astronauts when you grow up?
Yes and no.

Do you have any science teachers who you like?
We have zero science teachers because I’m in kindergarten.

What do you think of the turnout today?
There are a lot of people. We’re having lots of fun.


Sarah Emerson

Are you having fun? 

Do you like butterflies?
Sort of.

What do you like about science?
My favorite bug is caterpillars. A caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

Do you want to be scientist when you grow up?
I am a scientist.

Jefferson and Jaden

Sarah Emerson

Do you like studying science?

What are your favorite science subjects to study?
I like studying about the brain.

Do you think scientists are cool people?

Are you having fun today?