May 30, 2019
To nurture an interest in STEM, visualizing the possibilities is key. For parents who don’t work in STEM fields, it might be hard to realistically know what a STEM career would look like. A pervasive stereotype in pop culture paints the scientist as a man in a white coat who lives in a lab, but that’s far from the case. The women on this list love what they do, and make an effort to spread their passion for STEM fields on their educational and compelling Instagram feeds. Each of these accounts reveal just how beautiful working in STEM can be, and offer science knowledge for the whole family.
1. Amy Atwater
For those seeking what a real-life Jurassic Park might look like, Amy Atwater has the feed for you. Atwater’s handle states her mission clearly: to amplify the voice of the immensely accomplished, yet vastly under-appreciated English paleontologist Mary Annings. Though Annings discovered pivotal prehistoric fossils in the 1800’s (including the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton), she was mostly dismissed from scientific circles and credit due to her gender. Atwater is making good on her mission as a paleontologist in Bozeman, Montana and posts her work alongside gargantuan dinosaur fossils at the Museum of the Rockies with pride. And, for those raising dinosaur-obsessed discoverers, Atwater has some ways for them to expand their paleontology knowledge in their own backyard.
2. Janelle Letzen
Dr. Janelle Letzen is rolling her career as a research fellow at Johns Hopkins and her passion for sushi art into one. Each of her posts takes a complex concept in neuroscience and breaks it down using layman’s terms and sushi models. In her quest to better understand chronic pain, Letzen is providing a resource that brings awareness to brain conditions in a truly palatable way.
3. Tagide deCarvalho
Mold never looked so photogenic. Tagide deCarvalho is a biological sciences research assistant professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She’s using her to Instagram to create a compelling collection of microscopy featuring mainly bacteria and fungi. As the handle suggests, it’s hard to tell at first glance if these photos are pure science or sugar.
4. Dr. Kristen
Dr. Kristen works in plant pathology and has an Instagram presence that feels like a travel journal of the hikes she’s taking all over the country. Punctuated with gratitude and humility, most posts reveal a new facet of plant life that will enrich your next walk in the woods. As an added bonus, Dr. Kristen’s cat, Tabitha, is frequently seen striking a pose among the trees.
5. Christine Liu
Injecting some art into the STEM fields by way of riot grrrl zine vibes is neuroscience PhD candidate Christine Liu. When Liu’s not doing experiments to examine how brain circuits function, she is creating and collecting art that conveys the value of science in our world. Liu has positioned herself as a leader in STEM resources for aspiring scientists. She is spearheading The STEM Squad, which puts working in the STEM fields on display. She also offers advice on the ins and outs of pursuing science as a student on her blog.
6. Samantha Yammine
Samantha Yammine photographs everything from her research to her prep for upcoming talks. As a PhD candidate in brain development and stem cell biology, Yammine is a science communicator and uses social media platforms as a way to discuss neuroscience topics with the public and further her research. She’s also credited with coining the #ScientistsWhoSelfie hashtag, which has spurred an online movement to challenge the stereotypical perception of what STEM professionals look like.
Estefannie’s feed is millennial sensibilities powered by computer science. Though she does give CS a fresh makeover in her YouTube tutorials, Estefannie’s Instagram mainly features tech innovations she’s taking part in and taking note of across the globe. Her daily stories offer everything from fun facts to hacks. It also acts as a play by play of the beautiful places she visits for her work.
8. Imogene Cancellare
Cute animal probability is high in Imogene Cancellare’s work, and she shows them off frequently. As a conservation biologist who mainly researches snow leopards, Cancellare’s pictures document her findings as well as her trips around the world. Her featured stories offer a comprehensive FAQ for all those minds burning to know more about the field of animal biology.
9. Ashleigh Palinkas
Ashleigh Palinkas is bringing together the unlikely worlds of marine biology and roller derby. Though plenty of fishy’s show up as her handle would lead you to believe, she also does a deep dive into the derby scene, keeping you on your toes as to what she’s going to post next. Palinkas has done a significant amount of research into San Diego’s scuba history, and a few historical nuggets are sprinkled throughout. Not to mention, pictures of her adorable dog, Chica. If nothing else, Palinkas’ feed proves STEM lives are the opposite of dull.
10. Abigail Harrison
Though studying to be an astronaut is a bit time-consuming, Abigail Harrison still manages to keep things light in her feed as she pursues her dreams of being the first astronaut to go to Mars. Harrison started The Mars Generation, a nonprofit dedicated to getting kids excited about space and STEM. Her feed has everything those obsessed with the stars want to see, with a few bunnies and donuts thrown in for good measure.