Your help needed: Changing student perceptions of who scientists are

Science is awesome. For so many reasons. Studying science and doing science is awesome for at least as many reasons. Yet, science is very often (unwittingly) presented as something that only men do. Especially white men.

If you've paged through science textbook1, there tend to be a lot of white dudes. Just think about the history of atomic theory as often covered by textbooks:

  • Democritus (Greek white dude)
  • John Dalton (English white dude)
  • J.J. Thomson (English white dude)
  • Ernest Rutherford (Kiwi white dude)
  • James Chadwick (English white dude)

Wow. I bet that's really inspiring for all the women and people of color in the world.

I struggle with how to best address this systemic problem. As a white dude myself, I'm certainly not the best spokesperson for greater diversity in scientific and technical fields. That said, I'm not happy with the status quo (especially as the future father of a daughter).

Where I need your help

I'm not planning on solving a systemic problem, but I'd like, at the very least, to expose students to the large number of women and people of color that are actively working in scientific and technical fields.

So, here's what I'm asking:
If you're a woman or person of color working in a scientific, engineering, computer science, or other such field, please:

  1. Take a picture of yourself. Pick any picture you'd like. It doesn't need to be serious. :-)
  2. Download the PowerPoint or Keynote template file (via Dropbox).
  3. Add your picture and a brief description of what you do and who you are.
    • Feel free to rearrange things on the template.
    • For that matter, feel free to not use the template at all if you're not inclined to do so.
  4. Send me an email with your awesome file (that'd be: ben [dot] wildeboer [at] gmail.com.
    • If you're okay with me sharing your profile on this site or via twitter, let me know in the email. I promise to not share anyone's profile online unless you explicitly consent to that in your email.
  5. Share this with your science-y, engineering-y, or technical-y friends.

Once I receive 10 or so profiles I'll post them up on my bulletin boards. It'd be awesome if they ended up filling both bulletin boards and then spill over to the walls as well. That'd be a whole lot of awesome.

Thanks!

(Yes, this is pretty much a rip off of the This Is What A Scientist Looks Like tumblr. Hey, it's a great idea.)

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  1. I don't really recommend doing this as a method to learn anything about science, by the way.   (back)
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