Queen of The Lab: Disney’s Newest Princess is a Black Teen Genius

Source: Marvel via The Source Drum

Source: Marvel via The Source Drum

On February 16, 2018 Marvel Studios, now owned by Disney Studios, introduced viewers to the world of Wakanda. Black Panther is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that was directed by an African American male, Ryan Coogler, and also feature a majority Black cast. The movie features an amazing cast of strong black men and women, one of whom stole the show every time she appeared on screen. Princess Shuri is the younger sister of the films protagonist T’Challa, the alter ego of the hero Black Panther.

When we're first introduced to Shuri in the film, she comes across as the cute little sister meant to be the comic relief with her bubbly personality and the fact that she isn’t afraid to pick on her Kingly older brother. Shuri could have easily faded into the background as a secondary character until it was revealed that she is the brains behind the throne, having created all the technological advancements for the country of Wakanda. Her accolades include building all of her brothers suits, weapons and designing a safer system for harvesting vibranium, Wakanda’s most precious resource and one of the sources of conflict for the film. In a film full of #BlackGirlMagic, Shuri quickly becomes a favorite character.

As the movie progresses she takes a pivotal role in many of her brother’s conflicts without ever having to leave her lab. Princess Shuri designed a system that allows her to control varying modes of transportation, including a car and several different planes. While maintaining the different technologies that have been left in her hands, Shuri also found the time to develop a badass set of panther shaped hand cannons for herself.

Source: Marvel Studios via Popsugar

Source: Marvel Studios via Popsugar

Disney’s most recent princesses have been straying away from what we could describe as “ the traditional princess mold” into diverse and incredibly talented women. Shuri picked up that torch and ran with it, becoming a standout character that made us fall in love with black women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Young girls of all ages were able to see a Princess that used science and technology to help save her country.  Hopefully seeing Shuri will encourage young women, especially black women to show an interest in STEM. In the last few years programs have been introduced across the country to encourage more young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Black Girls Code is one such program. Founded in April of 2011, the program's focus is to provide young women in underserved areas with the opportunity to experience introductory computer programming classes. They offer different events across the country, allowing girls as young as eight to learn a new skill. For more information about the program visit Bblackgirlscode.com.

Science Design on a Dime

A few years ago, we moved into a home that had far more usable wall space than we were used to. My husband and I decided to look for artwork online that spoke to our passion of all things science, and science fiction. While I won’t bother sharing links for our favorite Warcraft travel posters, Star Wars imagery or Star Trek episodes, I am happy to share with you some amazing science-themed and women in science posters that are free to download and print out, or available inexpensively. 

These series are awash in color and would be a stunning addition to any home. From NASA's planetary series to several lines celebrating women in science, these prints can help you create the perfect geeky haven!

NASA’s Visions of the Future 

A creative team of visual strategists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), known as "The Studio," designed a vibrant collection of 15 posters, titled "Visions of the Future." These free-to-download prints are a based on a series of exoplanets -- planets orbiting other stars -- to celebrate NASA's study of them. According to David Delgado, JPL Visual Strategist, the “point was to share a sense of things on the edge of possibility that are closely tied to the work our people are doing today.”

The team gravitated to the lush and nostalgic style of the posters the Work Projects Administration (WPA) created for the national parks in the mid-1930s through the 1940s. 

“The WPA poster style is beloved, and other artists have embraced it before us,” said Delgado. “Our unique take was to take one specific thing about the place and focus on the science of it. We chose exoplanets that had really interesting, strange qualities, and everything about the poster was designed to amplify the concept. The same model guided us for the posters that focus on destinations in the solar system.”

It’s truly a challenge to pick a favorite out of the collection! Ceres and PSO J318.5-22 have a fun old Hollywood feel, while Mars and The Grand Tour are a bit more colorful and late ‘50s early ‘60s mod. If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, the “Earth: Your Oasis in Space” poster may be the perfect fit.

The entire series is available for download and print here.

NASA’s Be a Martian!

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Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers… but most of all YOU! Join NASA in the Journey to Mars by adding one of these recruitment posters to your home. With a hint of the same retro feel as the exoplanet series and a good helping of 20th century propaganda art, this series is awash with warm reds and oranges and could bring a fun exploration feel to any room. 

NASA originally commissioned this set of eight Mars posters for an exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex in 2009.

They are available to download and print here.

March for Science/Women in Science Posters Via Beyond Curie

As a way to connect the Women's March to the March for Science, Beyond Curie founder Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya created six gorgeous custom posters to help celebrate women and science. 

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The posters honor: 
Katherine Johnson - whose calculations were instrumental to America’s first manned spaceflight in 1960
Rosalind Franklin - whose photo of DNA and helped us to change our understanding of the structure of DNA
Maryam Mirzakhani - the first woman and Iranian honored with the Fields Medal - the most prestigious award in math
May-Britt Moser - Nobel Prize winner who helped pioneer research on the brain’s mechanism for representing space
Chien-Shiung Wu - the “First Lady of Physics”
Mae Jemison - accomplished engineer and physician and the first black woman to travel into space

Beyond Curie is a celebration of 35 badass women scientists to continue the discussion of women in science beyond the most obvious, Marie Curie herself. Including in the Beyond Curie project are all 16 female winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine/Physiology. Even if you’re not interested in the art, the site is a fascinating delve into women in STEM.

The posters are free to download. Simply download and drag the file onto your desktop. 

Be a… Read. Question. Think.

If you’ve a younger child and are remotely interested in the STEM fields, you’re probably familiar with Andrea Beatty - the author of Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist. Beatty celebrates ingenuity, invention, creativity, hard work and the desire to question and hypothesize in her wonderful rhythmic prose. They are perfect for young children who show an interest in sciences or how things work. 

Beatty and Illustrator David Roberts have made available a series of posters based on the characters from these books that could be a great addition to any scientifically-minded child’s room. You’ve five to choose from: Citizen, Scientist, Engineer, Astronaut and Architect. 

Click here to download.

Science Builds the Future by Paul Sizer

I will be honest, I am insanely and madly in love with this entire collection, and all of Paul Sizer’s work for that matter.  
Says Paul Sizer of Sizer Design + Illustration, “What started out as a one-off design exercise has become an ongoing call to highlight women in the STEM fields of science, with teachers and educators asking me for these posters to encourage female students of all ages to pursue careers in the science fields. Now more than ever, science and research must maintain a solid foundation towards building a better future for all of us.”

Equal parts propaganda and BioShock, these posters would be the focal point of any room they’re added to. 

You can purchase them through Sizer’s shop. And while you’re there, check out all of his posters, so many amazing empowered and stunning women from his kickass librarians to superheroes galore. 

They are also available through the March For Science - with proceeds going to the March.  

Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science

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Rachel Ignotofsky’s book “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” is a must for all young girls interested in STEM. As a mother to one such girl, I will do everything in my power to foster her love. And, considering she attended 2016’s March for Science dressed as Marie Curie, her love is strong. 

Ignotofsy’s illustrations are also available for framing and make wonderful and whimsical artwork for any aspiring astronaut or biologist’s room.

To view Ignotofsky’s artwork, click here.

To order her prints, click here.

If you decide to add any of these pieces to your home, we’d love to see it!