Science stole Sara MacSorley’s heart the first time she visited an aquarium. She studied Marine Biology at the University of Rhode Island thinking she would become a researcher. Instead, she learned that a science degree opens up many more career options and started on a path of science education and outreach.
After earning a graduate degree in Business Administration, Sara moved into project management and leadership roles in higher education. The Super Cool Scientists project is Sara’s way of bringing more science into her life. This time around as a communicator and as an advocate for inclusion in science and technology.
Our Interview with Sara:
Svaha: Tell us a little about this amazing coloring book that you have created.
Sara: The Super Cool Scientists book features the stories of 22 amazing women currently working in science and technology careers. Representation matters so I wanted to include a wide diversity of STEM fields as well as individual backgrounds. The book features careers from computer animation to materials engineering to animal behavior. The most important goal of the book is to show young people that science can be a place for them and I hope that everyone can find something they can relate to in the book's stories and illustrations.
My favorite part of the project so far is when young people share their coloring pages with me! I love to see their interpretations. They can share with our community on social media using #supercoolscientists.
Svaha: What got you interested in Science?
Sara: I've loved science ever since I was a kid growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I've been a tinkerer and a creative writer since elementary school. I got really interested in marine science the first time I visited an aquarium and that is when I set my career sights on becoming a scientist. That was the plan for many years until I actually had my first research project in college and realized I didn't really enjoy the research component. No one had ever told me what else you can do with a science degree. I eventually got redirected into science outreach work and discovered a way to keep my love for science in my life without the research piece. Showcasing lots of types of science jobs in the book is my effort to help other young people see some other career options that still include science even if they don't involve a lab coat.
Svaha: What made you think of a coloring book for kids?
Sara: I was inspired by my long term interest in inclusion in STEM as well as a need for a fun personal side project. I was also learning how to manage my own issues with anxiety and had started coloring as a way to reduce stress. Turns out, a book celebrating women in science that you could color didn't exist so I found an illustrator, Yvonne Page, and we got started. From idea to printing the whole thing took about a year including a successful Kickstarter campaign. I thought a coloring book would be a great science communication tool because it's a fun medium that makes the science and the scientists approachable.
Svaha: What do you do other than creating amazing coloring books?