Originally Posted February 27th, 2017
This design project headed by design strategist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is anincredible collection of 32 women who pioneered STEM fields in one way or another. Beyond Curie is a project meant to bring light to these women, and while not ignoring the incredible feats that Marie Curie did herself, everyone knows who she is. This project is meant to diversify the knowledge that students have of these incredible women, and every dollar that Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s Kickstarter makes beyond what production costs are will go toward the Association for Women in Science.
Who Exactly are the Women Included?
Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s design project includes every woman who has ever won a Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine/Physiology, as well as 16 other women who brought their own dose of amazing to the science table.
Women noted include, but are not limited to, Lise Meitner, Mae Jemison, and Maryam Mirzakhani. Each poster has a very unique design, meant to bring out what each scientist did in her work, as well as add some wonderful color to the classroom (or even your home if you so choose — forget those boy band posters! Put these in your girl’s room).
What’s the Story Behind This Project?
Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is the founder of The Leading Strand, an initiative built on the idea that scientists and designers need to be brought together in order to help the world better understand science in the first place. Phingbodhipakkiya has applied the same principle behind her initiative to her poster project.
Phingbodhipakkiya became interested in neuroscience herself when she could no longer dance thanks to a severe injury she suffered from in college. “I desperately wanted to understand why I couldn’t move as gracefully as I used to, and began studying the intricacies of how the nervous and musculoskeletal systems work together,” Phingbodhipakkiya told me. When she began to study Alzheimer’s, and realized that the urgency of the work was not being properly displayed, that’s when she turned to design.
“I realized, as scientists, we needed to be better equipped to convey the vital urgency of our work. I gained a new sense of purpose and made it my mission to learn how to use design to shine a light on science.” And that lead to The Leading Strand.
When Phingbodhipakkiya approached me, I asked her what her inspiration behind the Beyond Curie project was, specifically. “Like many people, I was feeling pretty upset after the [US] election,” she told me. “and thinking a lot about how I could get more involved.” That was when one of her friends, who worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign, told her to pick a cause that she cared deeply about and support it in a way that only she could.
“That’s what led me to do Beyond Curie,” She said. “I wanted to celebrate the rich history of women kicking [butt] in STEM fields, to show that our world was built by brilliant people, both male and female and of all backgrounds, and to inspire the next generation of young women to go into STEM fields.” -- Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya / The Verge / “When Design Meets Neuroscience”
How’s the Project Doing?
As it would seem, this project has been doing wonderfully. Phingbodhipakkiya turned to Kickstarter to fund this project, and says she’s had a great turn out. In fact, as of the writing of this article, people have given over $18K to the project, when the Kickstarter’s goal was only placed at $1,000.
“…It’s been great to have people sharing their ideas and stories,” Phingbodhipakkiya said. “Many educators have reached out sharing how they’ll use the posters to inspire young women in their schools and events.”
And for those who are preparing to support the March for Science, she’s created posters just for that cause as well.
Beyond Curie has been featured on FastCompany Magazine, and in Global Citizen.
Where Can You Find Out More?
You can find the many more of the designs at her Kickstarter, which of the publishing of this article will have about 14 more days to go. Although her project has already been funded far over what was needed for the project to begin with.
“I think encouraging young people, especially young women, to go into STEM fields science is so important. And one way to do it is through stories.” Phingbodhipakkiya has a wonderful TED Talk on this subject, located here and well worth a watch.
How about it teachers? Will you decorate your classroom with these? I want one for home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM. Find her on Twitter.