Stretch Goal #1: If we meet $15,000 in pledges, we'll add an extra five scientists to the book, go with a larger button size, and figure out how to get temporary science tattoos to each of our backers.
Science is cool, period. We experience science every single minute of every day. It is around us, on us, and in us. Super Cool Scientists is a coloring book highlighting the stories of women in science from diverse fields and backgrounds. I’m writing the biographies of the featured scientists and Yvonne Page is drawing the illustrations.
I want to design a book that empowers women currently in science careers and that also inspires young people to explore the possibilities science careers have to offer. Fourteen people, including personal role models of mine, have already signed off to participate and are thrilled about the project.
The Super Cool Scientists project came about as two parts of my life collided - my lifetime love of science and my recent challenges with anxiety.
Part 1: I have always been into science. I studied marine biology (basically since my first trip to an aquarium at 8-years old, but officially in college) thinking I would be a researcher. Then I had my first independent research project and BOOM! I quickly realized that I wasn’t as into research as I thought. But it was already my junior year of college and no one had told me before then that there were careers in science besides research. So, after a bit of a freak out, my wonderful mentors guided me toward science outreach and education as a new career path. I got to work with a few amazing programs and realized I could get behind this type of work. I still had the science that excited me, it just wasn’t in a laboratory. Plus, I was helping other people get excited about science - what a great job! However, over time as other parts of my life fell into place, I found my jobs getting further away from the science.
I wanted to find a way to invite more science into my life even if it wasn’t part of my day job.
Part 2: I recently started my journey of learning to live with anxiety. A little over a year ago, I had my first anxiety attack. It felt like I was shaking on the inside by looking at my body, I wasn’t moving. My chest got tight. It was hard to take a deep breath. I couldn’t identify what had set it off in the first place. Basically, it totally sucked. When it finally passed, I brushed it off, thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal. But then, the attacks started coming on more often and lasting for longer periods of time. The longer the attack, the worse the after effects like headaches and extreme fatigue. Ignoring it wasn’t going to help and I knew it was time to do something for myself. I have tried a lot of things to help calm me down including seeing a therapist, taking meditation classes, reading books on anxiety, increasing the number of days I walk in the morning, and learning visualizations. One strategy that works for me is coloring. Coloring is a way for me to focus on a single task while also engaging my hands in activity. Plus it reminds me I have an artistic side - bonus. Some combination of those strategies helps me be less anxious and I’m doing much better than I was a year ago.
So, the idea of a coloring book that featured the stories of amazing women in science was sparked. A book that can inspire young people and let them see role models like them in all sorts of science careers (not just in laboratories). A book that can also be a tool for young people dealing with anxiety in middle school through college. A book that tells the stories of scientists who deserve more recognition for the work they do in paving the way toward full inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, in math). A book that highlights women who are not only scientists but also educators, authors, artists, mentors, entrepreneurs, advocates, and true leaders in every sense of the word.
Here’s to you, women in science and girls aspiring to be like them one day. Super Cool Scientists is for you.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge with getting Super Cool Scientists published will come from the fact that this is my first time doing a project like this - first book, first crowdfunding campaign, and first self-publishing experience. Therefore a risk is that my estimated time frames for each phase of the process may be a little off and require minor adjustments.
My years of experience in science research and outreach helped connect me to a diverse group of scientists and science educators across the country. Those networks have helped me identify the featured scientists for this project who have networks of their own where they can share the project too.
As with any new experience there will be surprises. But remember I’m trained in scientific thinking. I know how to research solutions and have no problem reaching out to others to ask questions. Plus I currently work in the non-profit world in arts education and youth programming. If anything teaches you to think creatively about challenges and be flexible, that will do it! I’ll do whatever I can to meet my deadlines and deliver your rewards on time.
It is time science was truly inclusive. I think we can help with that by recognizing the amazing people already doing the work and by inspiring the next generation. This project does both and I’m excited to start this journey with a community of people who believe in the same cause.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)