Social media can be a deluge of negativity with fake news and Russian hackers. We all stay on, however. Personally, there are a select few people that keep me on Twitter and Instagram.
These 6 women I admire defy that image to a “T.” They educate, rant, write, and record about a variety of topics, mostly science. “Science” is a wide term: in my list we have biologists, aspiring astronauts, and neuroscientists. Scroll through to learn more about each scientist and their role in the community.
Hey new followers, I'm Sarah Mack!— Sarah McAnulty, Ph.D. (@SarahMackAttack) April 5, 2019
When I'm not making videos w/my fellow #SciComm-ers, I'm prob talking about squid! Stick around & you'll learn why 🦑 are the coolest animals ever.
I also run @SkypeScientist, a non-profit that connects scientists w/the public to chat science! pic.twitter.com/lOZQenuI7V
Have you ever taken the chance to think that squids have immune systems that can recognize beneficial bacteria? Sarah McAnulty’s research involves just that. Using Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, she studies the symbiotic relationship this oceanic creature has with bioluminescent bacteria, Viberio fisheri.
In the wild, these nocturnal squid hides its shadow through counterillumination, lighting up enough to match the moonlight and erasing its silhouette. As a result, these squid can disappear from predators’ hungry eyes, and sneak up on their own prey.
Squid Biologist McAnulty investigates this special relationship through analyzing the squid’s immune system, learning more about how it identifies bacteria as potential friend-or-foe. As a result of her work, there is always ample squid video on her social channels.
To reach beyond local school programs, McAnulty founded an organization called “Skype A Scientist,” which matches a variety of science experts with classrooms across the globe. The program allows students to meet real scientists in hopes to breaking scientist stereotypes.
Thousands of researchers from all sorts of scientific and demographic backgrounds have participated in the network, allowing McAnulty’s organization to make a lasting impact on many student’s lives.
Originally a zookeeper specializing in animal training and conservation education, Corrina Newsome currently researches a small coastal bird ranging across the Eastern United States. Described by John James Audubon in 1834, the MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow is known in many Southern states including South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. That last state is where Newsome studies, at Southern Georgia University.
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Newsome is pursuing her Masters in Biology, studying the impact of impact of nest predation on seaside sparrow nesting—a threat which is exacerbated by sea level rise. As the birds nest higher to avoid flooded nests, they are further exposed to a new diversity of predators. “Climate change is an issue that will affect every person, place, and creature,” she said in a Real Scientists interview earlier this year.
Newsome recognizes the obstacles that face people of color when considering wildlife careers, having experienced it firsthand herself. Drawing from her experiences as a youth, Newsome has founded several programs to introduce wildlife careers to ethnic and socioeconomic minority high school students. Overall, she encourages people from all walks of life, especially those underrepresented in wildlife sciences, to explore wild and natural spaces.
Abigail Harrison’s dream is simple in words alone: she wants to be the first human to place footprints on Martian regolith. Her work over the years has led her from TedX talks to founding the nonprofit Mars Generation. Her deep commitment to STEM can be seen throughout her life, from the early age of 13.
To achieve her goals, Harrison is currently studying astrobiology and Russian at Wellesley College. She spent a summer term in Siberia doing research, putting both of her skills into good practice. And of course it never hurts to have a NASA Kennedy Space Center Research Internship for the resume.
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Harrison’s goal with her social media, blog, presentations … etc … is share her experiences to ignite the dreams of kids and adults everywhere to reach for their own stars. With the Mars Generation, Harrison has impacted almost one million people, exciting them about STEM education and careers.
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I am so excited to share this avatar designed by the amazing @blackmudpuppy! Can you believe how spot-on this art is? 😮 Today I reached the milestone of 10k followers on Twitter, and I am so happy to be sharing and discussing science and feminism with such an incredible audience. I love my Twitter friends and followers! #SciComm #SciArt
As if working on an undergraduate degree in Microbiology at Oregon State University wasn’t enough, Sarah Olson has become a prolific science reader, writer, and reviewer.
She has wonderful longform pieces branching from becoming a better writer, the intersection of science and society, and important feminist viewpoints—all through her well-read mind and personal experiences.
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Olson maintains a Science Book Review blog, with a monthly newsletter and everything. [She’s really outperforming me in the constantly-writing department, but that’s one of the reasons why I admire her].
Believing science is for everyone, Olson promotes science literacy— defined by her as “having an understanding of basic scientific concepts and processes in order to make more informed decisions as a voter, consumer, and citizen.”
As discussed before, science isn’t in a vacuum, it’s subject to the society we live in. Olson embraces this using her feminist lenses to explore problems in science communities.
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Sex ed is a lot harder to give when we’re battling forest fires, hurricanes, and floods 🤷🏼♀️🌎🔥 The health and safety of ourselves & the next generation is in our hands NOW. ⚡️Please vote for whoever has the best chance of beating Andrew Scheer & the Conservatives in your riding (check out 338canada.com). He’s campaigned AGAINST a carbon tax and will not take the drastic action we need. Also a reminder: take care of yourself 💛 Having these conversations, voting, taking steps in your life to reduce your carbon footprint - you are doing it. These can be scary times, so many sure you are taking care & being kind to yourself 💕
Eva Bloom’s Master’s education focused on focusing on the psychology of human sexuality (and her thesis on sexting research) , but her platform’s scope is beyond that.
True to her handle, Eva Bloom discusses on her Youtube Channel “sexuality, sexual health, relationships, LGBTQIZ topics, and really cool sex research.” This forum she’s created extends to her Patreon, Instagram, and Twitter, where she openly answers questions to the difficult topics that doesn’t usually populate an online forum.
Like Sarah Olson, Bloom takes on the lenses of social justice and feminism to help create powerful evidence-based positive posts to inform followers about the little-publicly-discussed field. This approach, described as anti-oppressive and feminist, focuses on recognizing power imbalances in relationships (romantic or otherwise) and works to a more inclusive and egalitarian tactics.
While some may say her channel isn’t for everyone, Bloom’s upbeat nature takes the awkwardness out of sex-ed and allows nearly everyone’s questions to be answered about any human sexuality subtopic. Focusing on research-proven information, Bloom always talks about how each person is responsible for their own choices, but she hopes her work helps people make the informed choices they want to make.
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NASA had a birthday recently, and I got a lot of messages about it. I don't work for NASA, I love NASA and the organization will always have a special place in my heart, but you don't have to work for NASA to be part of the space industry. That's something many people get confused about, especially people back in the motherland. . This is also why when some individuals decide to bully me, they always say things like: "you'll never work for NASA". . What if I never do? Though, to work with them would be an honor, that was never a goal for me. It doesn't change my love for space, or my drive for exploration, or the fact that NASA is wonderful and I have much love for it. ❤ _______________________________________ NASA cumplió años recientemente y recibí muchos mensajes al respecto. No trabajo para la NASA, me encanta la NASA y la organización siempre tendrá un lugar especial en mi corazón, pero no tienes que trabajar para NASA para formar parte de la industria espacial. Eso es algo que mucha gente confunde, especialmente la gente de mi patria. . Esta es también la razón por la cual cuando algunas personas deciden atacarme o tratar de erir mis sentimientos, siempre dicen cosas como: "nunca trabajarás para la NASA". . ¿Qué pasa si nunca lo hago? Eso nunca fue una de mis metas, aunque trabajar para ella sería un honor, el no hacerlo no cambia mi amor por el espacio, ni mi deseo de explorar, ni el hecho de que la NASA es maravillosa y la amo ❤
Rose DF has lived a difficult life, as she shares personally on her website: mental health struggles, abusive relationships, single mother, death of a daughter. Without reading her website I can tell you two things inspire her: her son and the universe. She is unabashedly vocal, boldly calling out those who support biases and stereotypes of women in science both online and offline.
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One of my favorite things about her is when she shares on Instagram about her telescopes and seeing the cosmos that she admires. While she gravitates towards Twitter when she is online, Rose posts amazing photos of science shirts, our Moon, NASA, and so much more. Rose speaks her story and about scicomm in newspapers, at conferences, and on Twitter.
Although a small detail that doesn’t impact me, Rose always writes her Instagram posts in English and Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish. But I recognize this small detail, something that takes a little extra time for Rose to translate her posts, is a huge impact on inclusion in science communities.
On her website, Rose specifies her passions include “challenging common stereotypes used as tools of exclusion,” and in addition to her life experiences which embodies this, Rose demonstrably works to include everyone in science.
There are hundreds of scientists on social media who do excellent jobs of transcending barriers and inspiring others. Who are your favorites?