If you close your eyes and try to visualize a scientist in a lab, what do you see?
An old white man? With crazy hairs and a lab coat?
If you are a scientist yourself, what did you think a scientist looked like when you were young?
Would you ever have thought they looked like you do now?
Lotte Schreuders, Noor Abdulhussain, and me, discussed these same questions and came to the conclusion that we never knew what a scientist was when we were younger, let alone that he or she would look anything like us. A burning desire grew amongst us to show younger generations, and anyone who’s not familiar with the academic scientific world, that being a scientist is a ‘normal’ career path like any other.
For this reason, we set up the Instagram account @SistersinScience_NL together. We decided to start this account not only to provide a peek into the life of a PhD student or junior lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, and, more importantly, to overcome stereotypes and inspire others.
There is a lack of chemists in our daily life: there is nothing on social media, you don’t see them on the news and you hardly see them in movies or shows. The absence of role models made us doubt our own career paths and it actually sometimes still does. ‘Am I too social to be a scientist? Will I be smart enough to make it in the field? Is this academic world only made for male careers?’
With our Instagram account, and now our website, we hope to reach anyone interested in what this ‘science’ world looks like, to inspire young people to pursue a career in science and to connect to our fellow scientists.
* So, if you close your eyes and try to visualize a scientist in a lab now, can you imagine us? *