'I am a Scientist' Helps Students Envision Future Careers
- By Dian Schaffhauser
women, one a physicist and the other a designer, have launched a
nonprofit initiative to help every student in middle school or high
school envision the possibility of becoming a scientist. The "I
Am A Scientist"
project provides free "toolkits" to help teachers, families
and young people themselves break down stereotypes about scientists
while also introducing the students to various STEM fields.
include digital versions of posters with images of scientists and
facts about their work and interests; printable versions of scientist
stories; slide presentations showing the individual scientists'
research, personality, career path and advice; and dedicated pages
with lesson plans and other resources to provide more support to
students with interest in the given field. The organization is also
18-inch by 24-inch print versions of the posters, including a
buy-one/donate-one offer, which will be available when physical
classrooms open again.
collection profiles people working as an epidemiologist,
archaeologist, ornithologist, cellular biologist, biostatistician,
biophysicist, psychologist and in 15 other science jobs.
organization has compiled a resource library with links to other
sites that extend the message that anybody from any background can be
our own ways, neither of us had ever fit the outdated, but prevalent
stereotype about how a scientist looks, acts or thinks. I am a young
woman of color who loves painting, K-pop, and yoga, and I'm also a
dedicated physicist and passionate inventor. I want to be all of
those things because it makes me stronger as a scientist and leader,"
noted Nabiha Saklayen, co-founder of I am a Scientist and of biotech
in a statement.
a designer with a love of dance and a half sleeve of tattoos. I also
spent the better part of a decade studying the human mind and brain,"
added Stephanie Fine Sasse, fellow co-founder and founder of Plenary
nonprofit supporting the project. "We shared experiences of
feeling out-of-place, dismissed, underestimated, and underrepresented
in our fields. We acknowledged the severe lack of multidimensional
scientists in pop culture and textbooks. And I remembered what it was
like to be a kid who loved space, dinosaurs, and rocks, but never
considered the realities of a career in science. Nabiha and I decided
to do something about it."
resources are openly available on
the I am a Scientist website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.