Holiday Gift Guide: Scientist Side Hustles
Supporting Women in STEM
During the holidays and throughout the year, I do my best to shop small. I like to support artists, students, and small business owners, whom I often end up connecting with personally, thanks to the power of the internet and social media.
Over the past year, I’ve come to meet many women in STEM throughout the country (and recently, outside the US) who in addition to their research, schooling, and science communication efforts, have small businesses, so for the holidays, I thought I would do a quick round up of shops you can browse to search for gifts. From pins and tees to prints and stationary, there are items created by scientists, for everyone. So enjoy reading about these scientist side hustles, and shop small to support women in STEM!
Pins and Prints
Two Photon Art
Two Photon Art produces zines, pins, and prints about science. The shop was created by nueroscientist Christine Liu and environmental scientist Tera Johnson, who met in 2012 during a summer research program. The pair kept in touch and decided to start making art together after an inspiring trip to Nicaragua exploring volcanoes. The first project was a zine on volcanoes in the winter of 2015 and they have exploded in the past two years due to support from both the art and science communities. Currently Tera works at an environmental science nonprofit in Los Angeles and Christine am a PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley Neruoscience program, studying the midbrain circuitry that underlies nicotine-related behaviors.
The Chemist Tree
Rovena Tey is the creative scientist behind The Chemist Tree, a fun brand of science- and math-inspired stationery goods filled with all the best puns. Her art focuses on the fascinating world of molecules and the fundamental fact that everything in the whole world is made up of chemicals — our emotions, what we eat, what we smell, what we see, and even the things we touch. Driven by curiosity about the everyday (+ her education in molecular biology) and her passion for creative expression, her science art is a unique way of communicating science.
You can support Rovena Tey via the Chemistree website.
Science on a Postcard
Heidi Gardner, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK is the mind behind Science on a Postcard. Heidi was heavily lab-based for a long time, but moved into trials because she wanted to find a more applied research field that was closer to patients. Her current research focuses on improving the efficiency of clinical trials, specifically by asking how researchers can recruit participants into clinical trials in a more evidence-based way.
Inspired by some doodles on a postcard she was sending to a friend, Heidi set up the Science on a Postcard shop to share some sweet and simple science communication for her friends. The shop started with postcards, but has expanded to notebooks, prints, and enamel pins.
You can support Heidi via the Science on a Postcard Etsy.
Art and Illustration
Minouette produces linocut prints of natural history subjects and scientists. The shop was created by Ele Willoughby, a marine geophysicist (PhD in physics) who has specialized in instrument development and assessing sub-seafloor methane hydrates. She does research and design on sub-seafloor imaging instruments and techniques, then does fieldwork at sea to test them! Her main work has focused on seafloor compliance (letting ocean surface waves palpitate the seafloor for you so you can infer shear modulus) and controlled source electromagnetics (looking at resistivity of the seafloor).
BLANK started her shop as a post doc. Her initial goal was simply to be able to pay for her art supply buying habit, but soon it was also a means of communicating science to a broader audience. When her contact as a research associate ended and she was starting a family, she ramped up her art business. She is currently a self employed artist, in addition to occasional geophysical consulting jobs, PhD committees advising, and co-authoring papers.
You can support Ele Willoughby via the Minouette on Etsy.
Fiorella Ikeue is a science illustrator who depicts wildlife and natural history. She received a B.A. in biology from Kalamazoo College and a graduate certificate in science illustration from CSU Monterey Bay. Currently, she is collaborating with a marine biologist to illustrate a guide book on sharks & rays of the San Francisco Bay. Fiorella’s shop uses eco-conscious printing services, goods and shipping materials.
You can support Fiorella Ikaeue via her website shop.
Taylor Illustration features the artwork of Taylor Maggiacomo, a science illustrator from Temecula, CA. Taylor graduated with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she discovered her passion for scientific illustration as a way to combine her two interests of science and art. She was an illustration intern at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the vertebrate paleontology department and just recently graduated from California State University Monterey Bay’s Scientific Illustration Certificate Program. She is currently interning at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia doing marine life illustrations for Ian Tibbetts, a professor and researcher at the university. Her goal is to make scientific research beautiful as well as approachable through images that can engage and educate a variety of audiences.
You can support Taylor Maggiacomo via her Etsy.
Thea Boodhoo produces high-resolution photographic textures from nature–stone, leaves, moss–that turn everyday items into pieces of the outdoors. Thea is a science communicator who has collaborated mostly on paleontology outreach projects with Rowan University, Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs and Dinosaur National Monument, as well as writing for EARTH Magazine. Photography is her way of connecting with nature and satisfying her creative urge at the same time.
You can support Thea Boodhoo on Society6.
Anati’ala is Malagasy for “inside the forest,” which is exactly what you’ll find photos of in this shop. The photography is taken by Asia Murphy, a wildlife conservation researcher from Sacramento, California. Asia did her graduate research at the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, where she studied threats to Madagascar wildlife and now maintains the Anati’ala website where she continues to write about conservation, provides resources for other wildlife researchers, and shares her photography.
You can support Asia Murphy via Anatai’ala Photography Etsy.
See also: Jane Selverstone art
Sci Chic is a company that shares the fashionable side of science by using advanced 3D printing technology to make science and engineering inspired jewelry, accessories and subscription boxes! The company was founded by Erin Winick, a mechanical engineer who now dedicates her time to science journalism and running Sci Chic.
You can support Erin Winick via the Sci Chic store.
Boutique Academia is a STEM jewelry shop that has been running since 2010. The shop was founded by Maile Urbancic, who earned her BA in mathematics (probability and statistics) and an MA in educational psychology from the University of Arizona. In addition to running the shop, she’s worked in a psychology lab, as a software engineer, as a web developer, and as an advocate for student families at UC Berkeley.
Atomic Art Jewelry
Atomic Art is an Australian shop run by two friends who make jewelry from microscope images. 30% of every purchase is donated back to scientific research! The friends behind the shop are Dr. Nicki Cranna and Marina Kalcina. Dr. Nicki Cranna completed a PhD in the field of cancer genetics, is the art director of Lateral Magazine, and is currently teaching English in Colombia. Marina Kalcina studied and worked in science, worked in teaching, and now works as a writer.
You can support Dr Nicki Cranna and Marina Kalcina via their shop.
Apparel and Accessories
Modadoro was born out of a school project at the University of Toronto, Canada in 2014, when all three co-founders were doctoral scientist students working in biological labs. That was the start of our journey came when a course they took required students to look at areas in the science field that were ripe for innovation. The team decided that lab coats don’t need to be white, one-size-fits-all, or made of a cheap poly-cotton blend. With their fashion forward threads, Modadoro aims to change the perception of science, and demonstrate it’s a career that encourages personality and creativity, starting with upgrading its most conspicuous symbol — lab coats.
You can support the Modadoro team via their shop.
Anatomology stocks products related to anatomy, psychology, and science. The shop was created by Amy Sweetman, a professor of neuroscience at a Los Angeles Community college. She created a line of items that center around her intellectual interests as a method of coping with a major life event. The Anatomology product line started with the development of a Phineas Gage key chain — Phineas Gage was a famous neuroscience case — because Amy had always wanted a model of his fractured skull to use in her neuroscience classes. Since there were none to be found, she started on her quest of learning to manufacture things; she has now been in business for 10 years! This year, Amy’s new line centers around famous female scientists (as featured above).
Fraggles and Friggles
Fraggles and Friggles is a shop that produces hand printed shirts and totes with nerdy puns. The shop is run by Elizabeth Blaeser, who started her shop in 2012 after graduating with a Masters in Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases. In between looking for jobs, she finally had time to pursue something I had been thinking about doing — namely learning to screenprint and designing shirts with science puns. Now, in addition to running her shop, Elizabeth works as an Infection Preventionist.
You can support Elizabeth Blaeser via the Fraggles and Friggles etsy.
Sci Comm Shops
Bird and Moon
Bird and Moon is a nature webcomic produced by Rosemary Mosco, a naturalist with a passion for science communication. She has worked with the National Park Service, Mass Audubon, FLAP, and other groups to present science in accessible, fun ways, such as nature walks, talks, and workshops. She holds an M.S. degree from the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont.
You can support Rosemary Mosco via the Bird and Moon store.
The Amoeba Sisters is an educational youtube channel that was launched by sisters Sarina Peterson and Brianna Rapini in 2013. The channel features videos that demystify secondary life science standards with humorous comics. Sarina creates all the illustrations and performs the video editing, while Brianna writes the scripts and records her voice. Brianna is a secondary science teacher in Texas with a biology background, and Sarina is self taught in art ever since she started doodling in her childhood.
For more gift ideas, check out the Femmes of STEM Holiday Gift Guide, which compiled gifts featuring rad historical women in STEM, then come back next week for a bookish suggestions!