Community Engagement

After publishing my first scientific paper, I was motivated by my love of art, science, and teaching to create a drawing of my research to explain what I do to the non-scientific community, especially to the young students I volunteered with through the CRS Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) program and to the young women I volunteered with through the Expanding Your Horizons program. This inspired me to start illustrating research from other PhD students and post-docs in my department, and seek out artistic scientists to draw their own work, which came together as ColorMePhD. Since the first volume of ColorMePhD was released, the initiative has grown into a collaborative ongoing resource providing free coloring pages and activities that communicate PhD-level research in science and engineering to aspiring scientists and community members that do not have a scientific background. These recourses promote advancement of women in STEM, visibility for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx scientists, and have been incorporated into a number of initiatives to promote accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

As the founder and creator of ColorMePhD, I have led the development of two research coloring book series featuring illustrations with accompanying descriptions of current research targeted to a general audience, an ongoing series of coloring pages featuring "History-Making Scientists," and a variety of activities and games promoting science literacy and relaxation. These free books and resources are available at www.colormephd.org.

ColorMePhD Vol. 1: A Coloring Book of Science and Engineering Research

ColorMePhD Volume 1 features 16 colorable illustrations and descriptions explaining PhD-level research performed by chemists and chemical engineers at UC Berkekey.

ColorMePhD Vol. 2: A Coloring Book of Research by Women in Science and Engineering

ColorMePhD Volume 2 Features over 20 original coloring pages describing PhD-level research performed and directed by female-identifying scientists and engineers across the US and UK.

ColorMePhD "History-Making Scientists:" Free Coloring Pages Highlighting Contributions of BIPOC Scientists throughout History

The ColorMePhD History-Making Scientist Series is a collection of over 20 coloring pages that highlight Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color who have made incredible contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine.

To learn more about the vision and mission of ColorMePhD, watch this virtual video presentation about the initiative from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2020 Annual Meeting:

Community Resources for Science (CRS) Bay Area Scientists Inspiring Students (BASIS)

While I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, I served as a volunteer science teacher through the Bay Area Scientists Inspiring Students (BASIS) Program, which sends diverse groups of graduate students, postdocs, and local scientists to local elementary school classrooms to inspire the next generation of scientists through free science lessons. Through BASIS, I visited over 25 second and third grade classrooms, personally reaching over 600 students throughout the Bay Area to teach hands-on science lessons about the phases of matter with a lesson called "It's Just a Phase."
Our lessons included activities such as liquid nitrogen ice cream, dry ice sublimation, and isopropanol evaporation. I also led a team in developing a new lesson about density, with activities including rainbow sucrose density gradients and elephant's toothpaste, called "Making Sense of What's Dense."

Serving up some liquid nitrogen ice cream while teaching about phase changes between solids and liquids!

Engaging with 3rd grade students through hands-on activities and (non-graded) interactive quizzes.

Demonstrating to students how dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide.

Showing how isopropanol evaporates faster with help from thermal energy from our hands.

Example quiz question from the lesson "Making Sense of What's Dense."

Describing our research to elementary students! (It's harder than you'd think!)

Expanding Your Horizons at UC Berkeley

The Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Program at UC Berkeley is an annual conference that provides 400-500 middle school girls with hands-on experience in science and engineering through a day of workshops led by women. Many of these girls will be the first in their family to go to college, and face barriers including navigating financial aid and scholarships. My role with EYH was to organize a concurrent conference for the parents with panels on financial aid, STEM activities, and college preparation. After serving as a committee member from 2015-2016, I served as chair of the parent conference for two additional years, overseeing a team of women working to find panelists, gather materials, and fund the event. Our efforts during the course of my leadership resulted in a 60% increase in attendance, and we received positive feedback from parents who came home with quality resources to help prepare to send their daughters to college.

Community Resources for Science (CRS) Dinner with a Scientist (DWAS) and More!

Here are just a few other events I have participated in and organized to introduce children to science and engineering!

CRS Dinner with a Scientist

For three years running, I participated in the Community Resources for Science (CRS) Dinner with a Scientist event, where local 4th and 5th graders and their teachers are invited to the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA for an evening with a three-course dinner of food and science activities. I led activities about density with edible sucrose density gradients and lessons about acids and bases with pH-sensitive goldenrod paper and red cabbage juice, a natural pH indicator!

Engineering Detectives Day

During my time as President of the Arizona State University Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), I co-organized the "Engineering Detectives Day" in collaboration with the "Science Detectives" club to invite over 80 students from local schools to campus for a day of science activities and demonstrations.

Science and Art

I value the intersection of science and art as a method of providing effective science communication to both scientific and non-scientific audiences. In addition to my efforts with visual science communication through ColorMePhD and through workshops with the MIT communication lab, I have been involved in a number of other initiatives and projects that utilize art to communicate and appreciate science.

Journal covers that I created for my research and others using a combination of digital and hand-drawn elements:

Cover Feature in ChemSusChem featuring our work on alcohol etherification.

Front cover of ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering featuring our work in depolymerization and upcycling of polypropylene and mixed polyolefins.

Front cover of Organometallics featuring a collaborator's work in asymmetric synthesis enabled by organometallic complexes.

Front cover of Macromolecules featuring a colleague's work in ion transport in polymeric systems.

Art and Philanthropy:

During the COVID shutdowns in 2020, I created the ColorMePhD Fun at Home coloring book to provide a free, relaxing, and safe at-home activity for children and adults. I also created a shop on Redbubble to sell science-themed stickers and products, which has sold over 1,000 products around the world. The profits from designs sold on my Redbubble shop go towards either the Anti Racism Fund or towards creating resources for ColorMePhD, including printing and shipping coloring books to local schools, buying materials, and maintaining the website domain.