photograph of Dr. Alexandra Phillips working in the hood with gloves, safety googles, and labcoat

Dr. Alexandra Phillips

Science Communication and Policy Officer
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

What does a scientist look like? We investigate the power of social media in shaping the vision of diverse female scientists using the popular Instagram page Women Doing Science as a case study. This social media platform has featured photos and stories from over 800 international women in STEM between 2018 and 2022. We analyzed posts from the page for trends in photo/caption content and engagement and cross referenced these data with results from several demographic surveys to both featured scientists and page followers. Our analysis revealed that Women Doing Science features reflected diverse, international female scientists that audiences not only rewarded with higher engagement, but also specifically sought out. This highlights the power of social media to portray role models with myriad identities for students that may lack real-life examples in their family or university. However, until the burden for DEI work shifts from students to those with greater institutional power, racial and gender gaps will persist and scientists will continue to rely on social media for inspiration.  


March 8, 2023




in-person attendance limited to MBARI staff

zoom webinar

Registration is required for the Zoom webinar information to attend virtually