When Sara MacSorley initially set out to write Super Cool Scientists — “a coloring book celebrating women in science” — she “was looking for a project to bring science and control back into my life.” Her artistic impulses drew her to coloring as an outlet for stress. Amidst the morass of coloring books, Sara could not find a single one that featured diverse women in science. And, thus, Super Cool Scientists was born. The first edition was published in January 2017 — within one year of being conceived! — and a Kickstarter Campaign for the second edition has just launched.
“There is always room for us to learn about how women have shaped science, but a modern-day scientist is likely more relatable than someone like Marie Curie.”
Sara is currently the Director of the Green Street Teaching & Learning Center at Wesleyan University, a community-based enterprise that offers more in the way of art than science programming. However, Sara was initially trained as a marine biologist at the University of Rhode Island, where she completed her undergraduate studies. During her time there, Sara discovered she was drawn more to outreach and education than research. With pressure mounting at her current job, the Super Cool Scientists coloring book provided Sara with an outlet to reconnect with her enthusiasm for science engagement.
As Sara delved into the Super Cool Scientists coloring book, she aspired to showcase intersectional female scientists in a wide diversity of STEM fields. The first book includes the likes of marine biologist Sylvia Earle and paleontologist Michelle Barboza. In partnership with illustrator Yvonne Page, the coloring book consists of 22 women scientists, each with a full-page black-and-white illustration and full-page biography.
While the first book initially targeted older elementary school-aged children, the book has become popular among parents of younger children as well as college students. Sara’s ultimate goal has been for young people to see themselves within the black and white line drawings of each scientist. “There is always room for us to learn about how women have shaped science, but a modern-day scientist is likely more relatable than someone like Marie Curie.” Sara has noticed that many of the pictures get colored in so that the scientists look like the young person doing the coloring — emphasizing the importance of representation in science. “A black line drawing doesn’t give much away — so people have been coloring them in so that the scientists look like themselves.”
The upcoming sequel of Super Cool Scientists will celebrate a second cohort of 22 women scientists from multiple STEM fields, including a NOAA Corps. Officer, a climate scientist, and a software engineer. The Kickstarter Campaign for the Super Cool Scientists #2 is currently underway, with the goal of reaching $15,000 by September 18, 2017. As of this publishing, $986 have been pledged towards this goal. Anyone interested in supporting “Super Cool Scientists #2” can make a pledge starting at $10.