Brains in Fashion
Super Cool Scientists
5th September 2018
A few years ago, you may have thought that colouring was childish and best left to 4 year olds, but more recently colouring has become so much more popular for all ages. It’s a very easy way to get a little bit creative without mess and is extremely relaxing! There are so many colouring options available at the moment but we’ve managed to find one with a twist!
Super Cool Scientists is an awesome colouring story book series that celebrates women who work in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The book is so inspiring and gives you a snapshot into the daily lives of these women, while letting you get creative and colour your own book. We absolutely loved the whole idea of this book so we caught up with the author, Sara MacSorley, to ask her a few questions about her book (she also settled the all-important ‘does pineapple belong on pizza?’ debate)! *Keep reading for a FREE printable page from Super Cool Scientists!*
Wonk!: What made you write your first Super Cool Scientists book?
Sara: It was two things happening in parallel for me. One, I was at a point in my career where I was missing science and wanted to find a way to bring science back into my life somehow. And two, I was also learning to live with my own anxiety issues and was filling my toolkit with strategies that helped me calm down - turns out colouring was one of the things that helps me. I was searching for colouring books that I would want myself and a search for women in science books turned up nothing. It was at that moment, I knew I had my project idea.
W: What are your books about?
S: The books are about celebrating women in science and showcasing the diversity of science - meaning the different types of jobs and also the dynamic individuals who do this super cool work. My goal going into the project was to have every person who picks up a book to be able to find at least one connection point to one of the featured scientists - either through the narrative or the illustration. Each feature talks about what the scientist does for work, how they got to where they are, and what they like to do for fun. The idea was to talk about their full story, not just their jobs.
W: Did you always know it was going to be a colouring book?
S: Yes. That original online search for colouring books about women in science made me realize nothing quite like that existed at the time. That was my light bulb moment where I knew I could create something super cool that would celebrate women scientists and show young people that there are all sorts of careers out there that use STEM knowledge and skills.
W: Is this the kind of work you expected to be doing when you were in school?
S: Not at all, actually. Since I was little, I thought I wanted to be a marine scientist - a researcher. That is what I studied in college. However, my junior year of college, I had my first independent research project and realized I didn’t like research. Up to that point, no one had ever told me what else you could do with a science degree so I really didn’t know what to do next. Luckily, I had some fantastic mentors who pointed me toward more science outreach and communication avenues which I enjoyed and pursued.
W: What educational pathway did you take to get to where you are now?
S: I went to the University of Rhode Island to study marine biology as an undergraduate and also minored in interdisciplinary gender studies. After I started working full-time after graduation, I took classes part-time to earn my Masters in Business Administration. I had a tuition waiver since I worked at a state university so I wanted to make sure to take advantage of that opportunity.
W: Who are your books aimed at?
S: Originally, I wrote the text of the books aimed at upper elementary school / middle school aged children. Since the publication of the original book, I’ve learned from teachers and parents that younger children really enjoy the books as well - though they’re having the stories read to them versus doing the reading on their own. Plus, teenagers and college students enjoy the book too. I think they can get behind the mission of promoting inclusion in STEM and find the books are a fun way to promote that work.
W: How long did each book take to write from start to finish?
S: Each book took about a year to create. That included figuring out which scientists to feature, doing the interviews, working with the illustrator, and writing the stories and other book sections like the glossary.
W: Do you expect to write any more books in the future? Would they be in the same style?
S: I’ve always enjoyed writing and hope to continue to bring more pieces to publication. I’m not sure if future projects will be the same style but I do know that I’m dedicated to celebrating women in science so I can imagine a similar theme could continue in my writing.
W: What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about science?
S: My favourite thing about science is the curiosity that drives scientific thinking. The endless questions and learning are exciting. Personally, my least favourite thing about science was the research component, but that is just me! Many of my friends and colleagues love the research aspect of science. I personally enjoy sharing the excitement of science with others.
W: If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be called?
S: I’m actually working on a memoir-style project now. I’ll have a chapter in the upcoming Volume 6 of the book “20 Beautiful Women”. The chapter is called “Drive Your Moment” and it is my story of learning to find joy even in times of serious transition.
W: How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?
S: I love it! Double pineapple and pepperoni is actually my favourite pizza order.
W: Which fictional character would you most like to meet in real life?
S: Law and Order, SVU is my favorite television show and if Olivia Benson were a real person, I’d like to meet her. I’d love to meet the actress who plays her too, Mariska Hargitay. I like how she’s used her platform from the show to do important work with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.
W: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
S: Chinese food.
W: If your life could have a theme tune, what song would it be?
S: Right now, I feel like “Level Up” by Ciara fits the theme I’m going for and it’s fun to dance to in the car. That song has been on repeat on my playlist since it’s come out.
I think we can all agree that Sara is a super cool scientist and has combined her creativity, brains and passion to create a book series that people of all ages can enjoy and be inspired by! Celebrating females working in science has never looked better!
Her books are available to buy on Amazon;
As a special thank you to our readers, we’ve managed to get one of the pages from Super Cool Scientists 2 for you to download for FREE (download here), so you can get a sneak peek of how Sara’s books are written and the awesome illustrations by Yvonne Page. Remember if you like what you see, the links to get yourself one (or both) of the full books are above!
Send your completed colouring pages to our Instagram (@wonkscience) or to our twitter (@magazinewonk) with the #supercoolscientists and we will reveal our favourite in a special announcement on 28th October 2018! Get colouring!