As a young person I didn’t particularly feel like I related to scientists. The only scientist I knew was Bill Nye the Science Guy and he seemed pretty out there to me. He was super obsessed with science, he was pretty quirky and perhaps a tad overly-enthusiastic, and he always had a lab coat. I had no idea where people got those things, but you definitely needed one to do science.
As a young woman, I almost majored in Biology during my undergraduate studies, I wanted to find a way to incorporate my love for nature into my career, but was discouraged from doing so because I believed that my deficits in math disqualified me from being a scientist. I just didn’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.
Having overcome those mental obstacles and having now spent 4 years in grad school, I have come to I understand that scientists come in all forms, and that they lead rich and varied lives outside of their research. The fact that I and many other young people internalize these stereotypes about the kinds of people who can do science means we’ve got some very basic obstacles to overcome on our way to diversifying the sciences. These images are intended to illuminate the diverse, creative, and stereotype breaking lives of young scientists who are just beginning their careers. 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.