I couldn’t be more pleased at all this attention being given to Jack Andraka, the Maryland teenager who developed an early-detection test for pancreatic cancer that will probably save thousands of lives. Apparently, we here at Baltimore Fishbowl (and those folks over at 60 Minutes and the Colbert Report) aren’t the only ones taking notice of Andraka. Last weekend, the 16-year-old was given an award by the Vatican. That’s already a pretty big deal, but what makes it even more amazing is that Andraka is gay.
“It’s really amazing to be recognized by the Vatican, especially as a gay scientist,” Andraka told WBAL on Saturday. “I mean this would be unheard of just a few years ago. To be part of this bridge of progress is really amazing. It just shows how much the world has grown to accept people that are gay and are LGBT. It’s really amazing.”
It’s unclear whether Andraka got to actually hang out with Pope Francis (who has been outspoken in his relatively-tolerant views of homosexuality) while at the Vatican to receive the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award. He was then planning to travel to Berlin to hang out with the Max Planck Society. Sure, it’s not the kind of trip to Europe your average 16-year-old might opt for, but Andraka isn’t like other teenagers. And we’re so happy about that.