If you’re looking for a birthday present or stocking filler this Christmas, look no further than the brilliant Super Cool Scientists by Sara MacSorley.
Sara has created a masterpiece of stunning illustrations celebrating 22 women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), perfect for your niece, nephew or yourself to colour in! Super Cool Scientists was created to inspire the next generation of science researchers, educators and communicators by showcasing the stories of female engineers, marine biologists, astronauts, artists, entrepreneurs and computer animators.
The book highlights that these incredible women, “travel the world, explore unknown environments and even let fossils take them back in time.” They represent a variety of ages, races, experiences, origins, abilities and orientations; proof that science is for everybody.
Rocket Women talked to Sara MacSorley about how she was inspired to develop Super Cool Scientists!
Rocket Women: What sparked the idea to create Super Cool Scientists, the colouring and story book celebrating women in STEM?
Sara MacSorley: I have a science background – marine biology – and learned in college that I was more interested in the outreach and communication side of science than the research side. Over time, my career path took me further away from science and I missed it. I was looking for a project outside of my day job that brought more science into my life.
I was simultaneously learning how to manage my own issues with anxiety and found coloring was something that helped me relax.
I was simultaneously learning how to manage my own issues with anxiety and found coloring was something that helped me relax. Searching for books that I would like, I found that nothing like this that celebrated current women in science existed.
The lightbulb went on that creating such a book would be the perfect project to bring some science back to my life and also promote the inclusion of diversity in STEM careers.
RW: Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire or look up to?
SM: There are many! Two in particular were my mentors in college that helped me figure out how to continue with a science career when I realized I didn’t want to do research. Dr. Jacqueline Webb was my marine biology advisor at the University of Rhode Island. She guided me to finding work study jobs that focused more on science outreach and communication.
Dr. Sunshine Menezes was one of my bosses at those early work study jobs. She leads the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and that is where I learned about my interest in science communication and storytelling.
Whenever I’m reassessing my career (to this day), both of these amazing women scientists are there to listen, help make connections if they can, and share their experiences. I am so grateful for their mentorship, and now, friendship.
RW: What is your goal with the second book, which features awesome scientists including astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz?
SM: My goal with the book is to expose young people lots of types of science, technology, engineering, and maths careers. I freaked out in college after I realized I didn’t want to do research because no one had ever told me what else you could do with a science degree.
I want every reader who looks at the book to find something to relate to in the stories and images. The hope there is that by learning more about people who have similar experiences or looks, that young people can also envision themselves in these types of careers.
The original book features the stories of 22 diverse women in a range of careers from astronaut to mechanic to (of course) marine biologist. I want every reader who looks at the book to find something to relate to in the stories and images. The hope there is that by learning more about people who have similar experiences or looks, that young people can also envision themselves in these types of careers.
The second book will feature another 20+ women. This time around, I’d like to feature even more types of careers such as astronomer, software engineer, and climate scientist.
Rocket Women: What were your biggest challenges in the development of Super Cool Scientists?
SM: This was totally a new experience for me and all of that was scary. I had never written a book, never launched a crowdfunding campaign, never started a business around a product. I was researching, asking a lot of questions, and learning as I went all while working a separate full time job.
I’d say a combination of time management and also the self-confidence to remind myself that I could be successful were two big challenges. Surrounding myself with cheerleaders (not just of the project, but also of me) was helpful in the confidence piece. My family and friends were so supportive (still are!) and I love them all for that so much.
Now, I can say that I am a small business owner and an author who has run a successful, international crowdfunding campaign.
Rocket Women: Where can readers learn more about Super Cool Scientists and your goals?
Readers can also share their coloring pages on social media using #supercoolscientists. Seeing the pictures from our readers is my favorite part of the project.
Volume 1 of Super Cool Scientists is available now!