|Abstract: The birth of stars is one of the most complex problems challenging modern astrophysics. Understanding their origins is of fundamental importance to many areas of astronomy, from exoplanet studies to cosmology. While the study of the initial conditions of star formation in molecular clouds has accelerated during the past couple of decades, at the same time, new data and discoveries have exposed new mysteries regarding the birth of stars. In this talk, I will outline the current state of our understanding of stellar nurseries and present some innovative approaches toward advancing our knowledge of these environments in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. With an eye toward the future, I will highlight some breakthroughs that have been achieved—as well as those we would like to achieve—in our journey to unravel the mysteries of star birth.