When you picture a scientist,
who do you see?

About Picture a Scientist

This feature-length documentary chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in STEM, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. From cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries – including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists – who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all. For more information about the film, please visit Picture a Scientist.

About the Panel

World-renowned, leading female scientists openly discuss advancing diversity and inclusion in STEMDr. Jennifer Doudna (featured in the documentary Human Nature) and other world-renowned scientists participated in a 75-minute live panel event, where they candidly discussed how we can advance and cultivate diversity and inclusion in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and beyond. Using the award-winning documentary Picture a Scientist as inspiration, the discussion covered the panelists’ experience as leaders in the fields of science, journalism, and communication, and how they overcame obstacles to get to their position. They shared their suggestions for equity, inclusion, and sustainability within the scientific community. The panel also discussed the value of documentaries, like Picture a Scientist and Human Nature, in sparking important conversations in education and how documentaries can enrich the educational experience and take it to the next level. “Take action. Become part of the solution.”

About the Panelists

Dr. Jennifer Doudna
Biochemist and Nobel Prize-winning co-inventor of CRISPR technology

Dr. Jennifer Doudna is a groundbreaking biochemist at UC Berkeley. In collaboration with Emmanuelle Charpentier, she developed CRISPR-Cas9, which permits DNA editing and has altered genomics research for generations. Dr. Doudna is the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. She is the founder, president and chair of the board of the Innovative Genomics Institute, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her book “A Crack in Creation” addresses gene editing’s implications on society and ethics.

Dr. Raychelle Burks
Associate Professor of Chemistry, American University

Dr. Raychelle Burks’ research focuses on developing low-cost colorimetric sensors for detecting chemicals of forensic interest, including explosives and regulated drugs. As a science communicator, Burks has appeared on TV, radio, podcasts, and in print. She can currently be found on the Smithsonian Channel show “The Curious Life and Death Of…”. Dr. Burks writes a true crime column for Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She was awarded the 2020 American Chemical Society Grady-Stack award for excellence in public engagement.

Dr. Jane Willenbring
Associate Professor of Geological Sciences, Stanford University

Dr. Jane Willenbring’s research examines the evolution of the Earth’s surface, especially how landscapes are affected by tectonics, climate change, and life. She also organizes environmental justice campaigns around urban soil pollution and does outreach to help reduce sexual harassment and discrimination in STEM. Willenbring is the recipient of the Antarctica Service Medal from the US Armed Forces, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and Marguerite T. Williams award and a Presidential Citation from the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Willenbring is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Gabilan Fellow at Stanford University. She is one of the scientists featured in the documentary film Picture a Scientist.

Dr. Eva Pietri
Assistant Professor, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Social Intervention and Attitudes Lab

Dr. Eva Pietri received her PhD in Social Psychology from Ohio State University and completed a postdoctoral position at Yale University, during which she worked in the Psychology department and the Center for Scientific Teaching. An overarching goal of her work is to investigate how basic processes in social psychology influence a variety of domains that are pertinent to real-world issues, including promoting diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. She explores the benefits of visual media for addressing sexism and promoting belonging in STEM. Dr. Pietri has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation to support her work. Moreover, she was selected as a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science and a Fellow for the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

Dr. Laura Helmuth
Editor-in-Chief, Scientific American

Dr. Laura Helmuth is Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American – the ninth in the magazine’s 175-year history. She has more than 20 years of experience covering all fields of health, science, technology, and the environment. Prior to joining Scientific American, Dr. Helmuth was the Science and Health Editor for The Washington Post and has held positions at National Geographic, Slate, Smithsonian, and Science. She was the President of the National Association of Science Writers from 2016 to 2018 and a board member from 2012 to 2016. Dr. Helmuth also holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley.


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