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ABSTRACT

Much attention has been paid to what students and the general public should know about geoscience content through discipline literacy documents (cf. Geoscience Literacies, 2017), but there is little effort to teach about the identity and life of scientists, especially female geoscientists. The stereotypical view of a scientist being an older white male in a laboratory begins in the second grade, with adults viewing scientists’ personalities as robotic, potentially dangerous, and not necessarily a group that can be trusted (Rutjens and Heine, 2016). Social media can provide a platform to reach audiences that range in age, geographic location, and formal/informal settings. The use of selfies and hashtags on social networking services such as Twitter and Instagram can educate others in what scientists do and what scientists are like. Online campaigns such as #ActualLivingScientist and the Earth Science Women’s Network’s #dayofscience are examples of ways to generate conversation and build community in breaking the scientist stereotype. Whether a campaign is one month in length, as the National Science Foundation’s #NSFstories during Women’s History Month, or a year-long daily snapshot into the life of scientists during #365scienceselfies, the images and stories of female scientists become available to a global audience, especially to teen girls and young women who are more likely to use these visual social media platforms. Existing hashtags will continue and new social media campaigns will emerge with time, but to fully educate others about the lives of female geoscientists, we need to diversify our scientist participation on social media and post honest, unfiltered information about the ups and downs of being a scientist in this discipline.

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