GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 307-5
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM


GUERTIN, Laura A., Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063,

The year 2016 is the year of #365scienceselfies. The idea was initially proposed on Twitter for scientists to take one selfie a day to chronicle our everyday lives. The overarching goals include expanding the public perception of who scientists are (gender, race, physical appearance, etc.) and what scientists do outside of science (hobbies, raise a family, etc.). Because the selfie culture is popular among women, the project is hoping to showcase women scientists in a positive forum. Starting January 1, 2016, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty members began posting selfies on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #365scienceselfies. Some photos are being posted with a frequency of close to once a day, while others are posting selfies once a week or on an occasional basis. Photos continue to appear online of scientists doing fieldwork, lab work, computer work, exercising, eating, socializing, and more.

As someone that is always looking for ways to show her students and K-12 teachers and students what it is like to be a scientist, I was drawn to this project. I enjoy exploring how different technology tools can be used to communicate science, so tapped into my existing Twitter account and opened an Instagram account (which allows the user to type more characters than Twitter) and started taking daily photos. As I am a poor selfie taker, I utilized a stuffed animal to stand-in for me in the images and added a unique hashtag of #Anteater365. Although my intent is to teach others about the life of a female geoscience academic, I have learned much about myself and my own life. For example, there have been many days where I have struggled to find something to take a photo of that does not involve my computer screen. Interestingly, my colleagues were quick to ask why I was carrying a stuffed animal around campus, and some started asking if they could be in a photo with the stuffed animal. Participating in the project was effective in sparking conversations and questions among my own communities and networks, but the remaining challenge will be to synthesize this year of selfies (I have been doing so on a blog and to engage an even broader community in exploration and discussion of selfies, and what we can learn about the life of a female geoscientist, one photo at a time.