Hank Green Continues Inspiring Students to Become Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders

Friday, April 19, 2024
Hank Green at Rose-Hulman.

Hank Green’s quizzical views of the world and science were featured in an engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining conversation that was part of Rose-Hulman’s Swearingen Leadership Series and Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Social media and internet personality Hank Green likes to make things, learn stuff, and be around people who do both.

His quizzical views of the world and science were featured in an engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining hour-long conversation this spring that was part of Rose-Hulman’s new Swearingen Leadership Series and Institute’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. Students filled a campus sports arena to catch a glimpse of the person whose writings, blog posts, videos, and entrepreneurial and philanthropic enterprises helped inspire their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) interests.

The Question-and-Answer session touched upon aspects of Green’s life, inspiration for helping others, dealing with failure, and looking forward to a future that today’s college students will be creating.

“There’s something really interesting going on here and we’re all part of it. My hope is that it will keep being interesting and beautiful,” Green addressed about what motivates him to be a difference maker. “We’re the first people to live through the way the world is right now. We get to try figuring out what it is together, and whatever we decide, no pressure (for the students), effects what happens. It’s neat that I’m getting to be a part of this thing.” 

Green’s Crash Course (15.5 million subscribers) and SciShow (7.89 million subscribers) are part of an educational media company, Complexly, which produces content, covering topics ranging from the humanities to the sciences, that’s used in nearly every high school in America. The company’s videos, many featuring Green, have been viewed more than two billion times and inspired the growth of such YouTube channels as “Journey to the Microcosmos”, “Origin of Everything” and “Eons.” The “SciShow: Tangents” is a science-focused, humorous game show that’s among his list of podcasts.

Hank and his brother, successful author and mentor John Green, started vlogbrothers, whose dedicated online community of more than 8 million – including many Rose-Hulman students – are affectionately known as Nerdfighters. The Greens also created The Project for Awesome, a charity project that has raised more than $10 million for charities. 

“John and I are striving to make things a little bit better,” he said.

Green’s interest in science comes naturally. He earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and a master's degree in environmental studies. 

Rose-Hulman’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program brought Green to campus to help empower students to become leaders during their time on campus and in their professional and personal lives by providing opportunities in skill development, co-curricular learning, self-reflection, and intentional engagement. Rose-Hulman’s Residence Hall Association, Student Activities Board, and Student Government Association also supported the event.

Regarding his advice to future leaders, Green told the student audience, “Recognize that different people are different. They are uniquely themselves. Therefore, that in itself makes change difficult. It shouldn’t be, but it just is.”

John Swearingen, a 1981 chemical engineering alumnus, and his wife, Anne, supported establishment of the the Swearingen Leadership Series. Several guest speakers will be featured in campus programs each school year.