This Women’s History Month, we celebrated Inspiring Women in Science with ways to learn more about women who have achieved great things in different scientific fields—these included bingo and trivia games at our branches. We also distributed science activities at all of our branches that customers could try at home and in their libraries to learn about animal habitats, buoyancy, genetics, geometric shapes, and flight.
Even more exciting, we brought women in science to the library to give talks about their work and the challenges they face in their careers as women in male-dominated fields. Our speakers included science storyteller Moiya McTier, biodesigner Danielle Trofe, science educator Beth Tuck, several professors, and many more.
Moiya McTier reflected on her experience, “I was able to share my story, some of the life lessons I've learned, and my astrophysics research with an incredibly curious audience. At the end, I left the audience with some advice for incorporating more science into their lives.” She also had advice for how you can feel more like a scientist and honor the spirit of the Inspiring Women in Science initiative: “You can participate in citizen science with the Zooniverse project, stay informed about recent research by following science communicators on social media, spread knowledge about women and people of color scientists to inspire the next generation, and use the scientific method in your daily lives.”
Biodesigner Danielle Trofe, who led workshops on creating planters, says the most rewarding aspect of visiting the library was “seeing how excited the kids got when they were learning about mushrooms and mycelium and the care they took when making their planters.” Her goal was to demystify the science side of biomaterials and make biofabrication feel very approachable, regardless of age or experience. She was encouraged by the number of questions that kids asked and their curiosity about the content and exercise.
Trofe uses online library tools to find the research papers that her work requires. But her perspective on libraries shifted after her visits to Queens Public Library. Now, she believes that “the brick and mortar meeting space creates accessible, placed-based learning as well as cultivates community, providing services that are locally attuned to its constituents.”
Beth Tuck from Genspace presented workshops on DNA through examining strawberries. “The most rewarding part for me is always seeing the joy of discovery when the kids finish the experiment and see what DNA looks like for the first time—it is truly amazing.”
Tuck advises young women interested in pursuing science to “lean on their sisters…bring each other up.” Her own career path “has been a very interesting journey so far, from growing up in a small community to pursuing graduate school research in molecular biology and genetics to changing gears and now working in STEM education and community engagement. This stuff is amazing and gives me life every day...The important thing is not giving up, and understanding when to change direction and try something new to solve those challenges.”
Dr. Shruti Naik, an assistant professor at NYU Langone Health, focuses her research on stem cells in health and disease. She is recognized for her work in demonstrating that skin stem cells retain a memory of previous inflammatory experiences. Her work may hold the key to improving our ability to fight against diseases like cancer.
Dr. Naik finds libraries to be sanctuaries away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. She’s inspired by the beautiful books that she finds there and thinks of libraries as a place where she can catch up with herself and her thoughts. She enjoyed her visit to QPL, saying that even the pre-teens in the audience “put down their phones to talk about science. I always think as a scientist that most people deem science too boring or nerdy, but everyone in the room was so enthusiastic about what we study and the new discoveries happening today.”
Thank you to all of our wonderful visitors for sharing their knowledge and inspiring our library communities!