As a kid I didn’t particularly feel like I related to scientists: I wasn’t good at math, I wasn’t some super genius, I was artistic and unabashedly curious, but I didn’t see how that could translate into a career in the sciences.
I couldn’t picture myself as a scientist,
because I hadn’t seen or met any examples of researchers that resonated with me and the life I wanted to lead. As a college student, biology for non-majors classes kept me glued to the edge of my seat. I almost majored in Biology, but upon approaching the dean, was discouraged from doing so because “my math grades didn’t cut it”.
It took a lot of mental reprogramming and 4 years in grad school studying ecology to understand that scientists come in all forms, and that they lead rich and varied lives outside of their research. So many young people internalize these stereotypes about the kinds of people who can do science, which means
we have to make major changes to the way we portray scientists to public audiences.
These images are intended to illuminate the diverse, creative, and stereotype-breaking lives of young scientists who are being scientists on their own terms. They give me hope about the next generation of scientists and hopefully will inspire others out there to see science and the people who do it with a fresh perspective.