Trailblazing feminine scientists buck stereotypes in unique trailer for Not the Science Sort


nuclear engineer Ciara Sivels

“I used to be the primary Black girl to get a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering,” says Ciara Sivels, a nuclear engineer with Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory. “I noticed that as a chance to open the door for those who appear to be me to come back and be concerned in these fields.” 


Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

There is a stereotype of scientists, the trailer for docuseries Not the Science Sort tells us, “that they are male, and so they’re boring, they do not costume properly, and so they’ve very awkward.” 

“I am clearly not that sort,” says microbiologist Jessica Taaffe, wanting straight into the digital camera with an unflinching gaze. 

Taaffe is certainly one of 4 feminine scientists spotlighted within the four-part sequence, which explores the unfavorable influence stereotypes can have on STEM variety, fairness and inclusion. The sequence may have its world premiere on June 17 throughout the Tribeca Film Festival, and it will stream on platforms together with Apple TV Plus and Google Play the identical day. It is directed by documentary filmmaker Julio Palacio. 


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The women who share their stories in Not the Science Type have followed different paths to science success, but they share a common experience. All have felt excluded in traditionally homogenous fields. 

jayshree-seth

Chemical engineer Jayshree Seth has 72 patents to her name. 


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In addition to Taafee, the featured women include Jayshree Seth, a chemical engineer with 72 patents to her name, and Ciara Sivels, a Johns Hopkins nuclear engineer. “I was the first Black woman to get a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering,” Sivels says in the trailer. “I saw that as an opportunity to open the door for people that look like me to come and be involved in these fields.” 

Then there’s 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year in 2020. She beat 5,000 young Americans for the title. 

“A scientist is anybody, and it shouldn’t be based on age, race or gender,” Rao says in the trailer. “It should be based on our capabilities and our motivation to tackle world problems.” 

The stories are meant to inspire hope, and a sense of possibility. Even as women advance in STEM fields, they still face challenges, with statistics showing a persistent gender gap in science and tech jobs around the world.

While women make up nearly half of the US workforce, they represent only 27% of STEM workers, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s up from 8% in 1970, but it still isn’t equal. 

And half of young women who go into tech jobs leave by age 35, according to a report out last year from IT consulting firm Accenture and tech education organization Girls Who Code. The women cited noninclusive company culture as the main reason for departing. 

Not the Science Type reminds would-be scientists not to abandon their dreams in the face of obstacles. As the poster for the series reads, “your potential is exponential.” 



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