The National Science Teachers Association and Joanne Manaster (STEM advocate, and Scientific American blogger) proudly Present the 2014 NSTA STEM Forum and Expo Keynote Speaker Ainissa Ramirez in a Google Hangout on Air.
Ainissa Ramirez, materials scientists, STEM advocate and author joined me for an enjoyable Google Hangout on Air to talk about inspiring kids for STEM and how science teachers can help!
3 years ago • Engineering, Science, STEM, Video, Women in STEM • Tags: Ainissa Ramirez, Engineering, Google Hangout on Air, Joanne Manaster, Material Marvels, material science, Newton's Football, NSTA, science, Science Xplained, video, Women in STEM
This was originally published at Scientific American on November 27, 2013
Many times I wondered this myself, and while I had the attention of the youtube infamous Hank Green of SciShow, I asked him in correspondence last year:
“One last thing, while I have your attention. Have you noticed that there are so few women represented on youtube talking about science? It’s one thing that TV can’t bring themselves to feature women as science hosts and experts on a regular basis (they might be stuck in the 50s, I think), but the fact that a female sharing science (STEM) is rarely found (Vihart an exception) on youtube is downright disgraceful. Where are they?Do you know some? Simply, if young ladies don’t see other women articulating science, the impression will be that women don’t do science, and vicious cycle ensues. Other than just loving science, that’s why I bother to make videos despite the travail.”
(Of course, I’ve taken a break from regular video production, and this post will address why further along. I have two youtube channels, for those unaware of that,Joannelovesscience and joannema7 and I’m a member of youtube.edu)
“Re: Women: The thing with YouTube is…it’s not like there are people saying “Woah now! I’m not sure if we can have a lady talking about science.” It’s open to everyone, and I have done a lot of thinking about why there aren’t more women on YouTube generally, and talking about science specifically. YouTube is largely male in general, I think, for a few reasons. One, it can be pretty abusive, which I’m sure you’ve seen. Two, the first round, at least, are the attention-seekers who don’t care what they’re doing as long as people watch, and that seems to be a more male trait (we’re scientists, we can agree that there are psychological trends in the sexes.)”
Emilie Grasile (whose style of delivery is quite like Hank Green’s, I expect because that is a successful youtube formula), who is supported in her video production by Chicago’s Field Museum, put out a video today about the first reason Hank mentioned: abusiveness in the comments.
As we know, this type of harassment is all over the internet, and especially on YouTube. I find it annoying, but not so much a hinderance to creating content in my opinion. HOWEVER, even though I might be able to personally brush off the inappropriate comments, I would like to see it diminish because it saddens me that potential viewers of my videos, especially if they are young, would be subjected to reading low quality comments and I’d not want them to think I approve of this kind of interaction with me, or any human being for that matter. I’d like to set the example that I don’t condone people treating others in that manner, so curating comments would be of utmost importance, but that takes TIME. A lot of time.
Which brings me to why I don’t make as many videos any more. It is TIME (Henry of Minute Physics and ViHart both have spoken in the past of numerous hours required just for one minute of video!). I like creating content and I have lots of ideas, especially ideas to reach young women about STEM, using products they use everyday, and to share about the great popular science book choices available. I have the skills to create a decent video now, after a learning curve, but pre-and post-production is incredibly time consuming. It would even be a relaxing and contemplative process if I did not have to attend to my career as a full time faculty lecturer and raise my four children as well, in addition to the in-person (and quite rewarding) physical science outreach I do. If video production were my livelihood or had the support of an institution or business to create videos, I could see this being a great way to channel my natural teaching abilities and telegenicity, but that is not a current option, though I am open to it.
With good production assistance, I might still be producing videos, but this costs money, and quite a bit of it. Sporadic grants for $500- $2,000 are not sufficient to maintain a strong presence online with high quality videos. To have animations or editing done by someone else, it adds up.
Compounding the issue is the demand for increased production values. I’ve been watching the progression of science as portrayed on Youtube, from the organic “guy in his garage” (ie NurdRage) to slicker productions (ie Steve Spangler and SciShow) as talented people who were in TV are moving over to create videos on YouTube, leaving the audience to come to expect increasingly better production values. Personality and content can only go so far without the bells and whistles expected these days. I agree, equipment for filming is becoming more sophisticated and it is easier to make good looking videos if you can light and frame and storyboard appropriately and if you have the time.
I’ll add one more observation. Youtube, in general, is the place for the the young (and young looking, as in TV). Most everyone creating videos, especially the science ones, have made this their overarching focus, as a career. For a woman who is already established in (or establishing) her career as a scientist and raising a family, which is the one of the best inspirations for young women considering a science career out there, adding YouTube video production to their plate might be asking a bit too much, especially if enduring inappropriate comments is the “reward”.
As an encouragement for women creating STEM content on YouTube, I’ll reiterate what I said earlier on in the post. If young people do not see women articulating science, the impression will be that women don’t do science, and it will not be considered a viable career option. Think of it. Women find it easier to become doctors and lawyers versus scientists because they understand those professions, either from real life interactions or from TV. We need women scientists to interact with young people and to be visible in the medium that young people consume, but how do you juggle career and family and outreach as such with video production and subsequent comment curation? That is the challenge, and I wish everyone all the best of luck.
This post was originally published at my Scientific American blog.
I was asked if I had a science themed manicure or nail polish video, which I do!
3 years ago • Beauty, Science, STEM, Video • Tags: #ManicureMonday, Alex Parker, beauty, Cosmetic Proof, flammable, Hope Jaren, Jayne, nail polish, nitrocellulose, Nucleotide Skittles, Sarah Horst, Seventeen, STEM, video
This article originally appeared at my Scientific American blog.
Today, the 44th anniversary of the first moon landing with Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s first steps on the moon, I present to you some great books to read about space travel, each with their own video, whether it is a trailer for a movie made based on the book or a proper book trailer, a more recent phenomenon.
4 years ago • Books, psivid, Space, STEM, Video • Tags: Apollo 11, Apollo 13, astronaut, books, Buzz Aldrin, Jeff Shaumeyer, Jim Lovell, Joanne Manaster, Lost Moon, Magnificent Desolation, Mary Roach, Michael Collins, Mike Mullane, NASA, Neil Armstrong, Packing for Mars, Read Science!, Riding Rockets, Scientific American, space travel, The Astronaut Wives Club, The Right Stuff, video
In this RS! episode we talked with famed moon-walker and space visionary, Buzz Aldrin, about his book, “Mission to Mars”, and his vision for establishing a permanent human presence on Mars. Later in the episode we were joined by Leonard David, Buzz’s co-author on the book, to talk some about their experiences with spreading the idea and engaging the public with the excitement of space exploration.
I first put this post up at Scientific American on May 12, 2013
Colonel Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut, a former mission specialist on STS-74 who also performed multiple EVAs on STS-100, and, for a few hours longer, the well-loved commander of the International Space Station mission 35.
He has been a great inspiration for space travel via every type of social media (with the assistance of his son, Evan), giving those of us down on Earth some of the best peeks at what it is like to live and work in space, plus has entertained us with his guitar playing as well! He tweets constantly, sharing photos of his view from above and has made nearly 70 informative videos to quench our curiosity about day to day space living. He has captured our imagination for space travel again!
4 years ago • Engineering, Science, Social Media, Space, STEM, Video • Tags: astronaut, brushing teeth in space, Canadian Space Agency, Chris Hadfield, Commander Chris Hadfield, eating in space, Evan Hadfield, eyesight in space, Google Hangout on Air, gravity, International Space Station, ISS, mixed nuts, nail clipping in space, NASA, sleeping in space, space, space kitchen, space sandwich, tears in space, video, washing hands in space, wringing out water in space, zero gravity
This was originally published at Scientific American
Just a few weeks ago, I flew into India to join other new media specialists and journalists with the International Reporting Project to examine issues of child survival and health. (Before I continue, I simply must extend thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for providing a portion of the IRP funding to make this trip possible, the School of Integrative Biology at UIUC for supporting my participation in the project and GoPro Cameras for outfitting me with a Hero3 for documentation purposes.)
I have talked to many many people who have experienced India, I’ve read numerous books (fiction and non-fiction), and watched many documentaries, TV shows, and fictional movies about India, but knew that the experience of visiting would be something valuable. I was warned of the approximately “five people per square foot” population density in Mumbai, of the smell–a persistent sewer/trash odor, the pollution, the noise, the dogs, cattle, and goats, and the widespread extreme poverty. I discovered that the southern port city of India in Maharashtra State where we first landed, formerly known as Bombay, to be all that and even more. It was humid and warm during our visit, but actually in a relatively cool and dry streak, at least for India. The city, as I was exaggeratively informed by John Schidlovsky, founder and director of the IRP, “was built on mold” and with my allergy to mold so severe that I carry an epipen, I found myself taking more than the recommended dose of allergy meds just to breathe, each day grateful it wasn’t the rainy season. Thankfully, we eventually traveled north to cooler, drier, and less moldy climes to a rural area outside Nagpur and later to New Delhi.
Throughout most of India, I found myself delighted at the fact that women still wear colorful sarees on a daily basis, not yet succumbing to western trends, and impressed that men and boys generally wear button-down shirts, slacks, and nice shoes everyday, no matter their income level or age (try convincing a young boy to do that in America day to day–no way!)
If you have seen the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, it begins in Mumbai, in one of the largest slums located near the airport and situated right at the largest dumping ground in India. This area was our first stop in order to visit the Niramaya project drop-in health center. We toured the slums and received an overview of healthcare and educational awareness work Niramaya does in the community.
4 years ago • Blog, Health, STEM, Travel • Tags: CDC, environmental enteropathy, India, International Reporting Project, Mumbai, open defecation, Rose George, sanitation, Scott Huler, slums, United Nations Children's Fund, WHO
I am writing this to you from New Delhi, India as I am here with the International Reporting Project as a New Media Specialist! We have been in the crowded, bustling, port city of Mumbai, the central city of Nagpur (home of several tiger refuges), the rural village area of Gadchiroli, and finally to the modern city of New Delhi in order toexamine issues of child survival. I have several blog posts written in the run up to this project, with many more to come over the next month or so.
Did you know India has a National Science Day? National Science Day is celebrated in India on February 28 each year to mark the discovery of the Raman effect (the scattering of photons from an atom or molecule) by Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman on February 28, 1928. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in 1930.
4 years ago • Blog, Engineering, Science, STEM, Travel • Tags: Angela Saini, child survival, Geek Nation, Genome Valley, India, International Reporting Project, Jantar Mantar, National Science Day, Raman effect, Scientific American, STEM, V.V. Raman
Malnutrition and Sanitation
What if children seem to have enough of the appropriate nutritive food, yet still exhibit signs of malnutrition? Could there be something else going on here? Indeed. In the past few years, scientist have discovered a phenomenon called ENVIRONMENTAL ENTEROPATHY which is caused by prolonged exposure to food and water contaminated with feces.
Environmental enteropathy, (EE) also known as gut dysfunction, affects up to 50% of children in the developing world, and causes no overt symptoms or signs in children.
4 years ago • Blog, Engineering, Health, Science, STEM, Travel • Tags: Engineering, environmental enteropathy, golden rice, India, International Reporting Project, Joanne Manaster, Malnutrition, NPR, sanitation, science, wiseGEEK