Who said science wasn't fashionable?!
Here in the LSU College of Science, we've been embracing our love for science with science fashion! On Wednesday, April 26th, we invite all of our students and researchers, and researchers everywhere, to dress up in their science best! To inspire you, here are our Top 10 Science Fashion Picks - Spring 2017 edition!
1. Herp Love
When we saw all of Genevieve Mount's herpetology-inspired jewelry during our April Night at the Museum event, we almost fainted. Genevieve is a PhD student in the LSU Museum of Natural Science.
Genevieve: I’ve known I wanted to be a scientist and conduct research since I was in 7th grade. I’ve had various science interests over the years. But near the end of my undergraduate coursework at UC Davis, I decided to focus on herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles. Now, as a PhD student at LSU, I am working on how to improve the ways we study genetic evolution of reptiles and amphibians (and other organisms). These days I spend a lot of time analyzing data on the computer, and seeing a little frog perched on my finger brightens my day.
My animal jewelry also helps me feel connected with other researchers in my field. As someone who identifies as gender fluid in my gender presentation, I often worry about how my personal style is perceived in the workplace. I use my science jewelry as a way to concretely identify as a researcher, so I can be sure that even if I’m wearing men’s clothing and eyeliner, my colleagues won’t doubt my love for turtles.
A lot of my silver jewelry comes from my aunt who is an antiques dealer. I was never particularly close to her, but every Christmas since I started studying herpetology she has given me reptile and amphibian jewelry. It also gives us something to talk about over Christmas dinner.
My dark green leather turtle cuff (made by Heidi Stern) used to be a lighter green. I wear it so often that I’ve worn it into the shower on multiple occasions, which apparently darkens leather. I got this cuff from a friend I went to UC Davis with, who also is currently doing a PhD studying herpetology. I’m a firm believer in only adorning yourself with items that have meaning and significance to you.
Many of my jewelry pieces represent parts of my personality that I want to remember or enhance when I wear specific pieces. For example, the turtle cuff represents a malleable strength and soft masculinity. As a graduate student pursuing a career as a tenure track professor, I have to adore what I study, because I’m not in it for the money or the fame. My jewelry represents the core parts of my personality that also drive my interest in science. And being able to represent these parts of my personality visually to myself and to other people through fashion gives me confidence in academia to be myself while doing science.
2. LIGO Dress
Dr. Gabriela González is a gravitational wave rockstar. Gaby is the former spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at LSU. She recently gave a TEDxLSU talk about her work on gravitational waves, during which she also rocked a dress bearing the first gravitational wave signal scientists ever recorded.
Gaby: I love this dress because the fabric features the pattern of gravitational waves we discovered on September 14, 2015. The woman who designed this dress, Holly Renee, designs fashion with STEM patterns. She says she was inspired by our announcement, unbeknownst to us! She also now designs ties, and several men and women from LIGO like wearing her fashion!
3. Soaring Heart, Soaring Biology
For Areen Sittichot, or “Reeny”, science is not just a series of facts to be learned. Science is the physics of movement, it’s social, it’s emotional, it’s human. Reeny is a pre-med biology major in the LSU College of Science, but throughout her program she has combined science with sports and physical art through the Movement Studio at LSU, where she trains and performs in aerial silks.
Reeny: I took the aerial class as an elective alongside my biology degree. I quickly adapted to the demands of the new and strange apparatus that required not only strength but grace and performance. I then studied abroad with the LSU School of Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I performed in a piece called Savage/Love. This was my first and only involvement with the arts outside of a classroom setting. I was able to enjoy a world entirely separate from science, the subject I was familiar and comfortable with. Because I enjoyed the experience so much, I added Physical Theatre as a minor. I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science this May, and will be applying for the 2018 cycle of medical school. I hope to one day be a doctor or involved in the medical field while also continuing my enjoyments of the arts as a leisure or extracurricular activity.
For Savage/Love, my costume was a piece covered with multi-colored cell staining, designed by Kyla Kazuschyk, an assistant professor of costume technology in the LSU School of Theatre. After wearing it and seeing it more and more during rehearsals, I began to grow an appreciation for the design. Once I started thinking about cells, I became fascinated by how such small units could work together to create a functioning organism. I became fascinated by how these cells can form a human capable of movement ranging from the simplicity of walking to the complexity of high level performance activity such as aerial silks. The costume reminded me of the intense intertwinement of science and the arts. It became a tool of inspiration as I performed and created throughout the show.
4. To Infinity and Beyond
This semester, Ashley Hood has been amazing us with Instagram updates about a detector she helped build that will be used at Michigan State University in a beam line that uses beams of radioactive ions to study nuclear reactions that occur in stars! Ashley is a nuclear astrophysicist and PhD student in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. From building a voltage divider, to assembling a complete detector for radioactive atoms, to testing (e.g. "exploding") a Mylar "window" for a detection chamber, to successfully testing that the detector works, Ashley is killing it with her science. But she also stole our hearts with a DIY astronomy dress she made herself this month!
Ashley: I have always been fascinated with astronomy. That is what led me to study nuclear astrophysics! When galaxy dresses became popular, I was super excited to get one, but they cost about $100 for a nice one! So, I taught myself how to sew with the help of YouTube and made this dress for myself for only $30. I think my skills of building and using machines in the lab and doing precision work translated really well into learning how to sew!
My cat was heavily involved in the process as you can see from the photos.
5. Birds, Birds Everywhere.
We are flipping for Glaucia Del Rio's Amazonian bird flip-flops. Glaucia is an ornithologist working in both Robb Brumfield’s lab in the Museum of Natural Science and Brant Faircloth’s lab in the Department of Biological Sciences. In her research, she is trying to understand how bird species are generated and maintained in the Amazon Forest.
Glaucia: These flip-flops, Havaianas, are very popular in my home country, Brazil. This pair depicts a Rupicula rupicula, an Amazonian bird. The flip-flops are a special edition made in collaboration with the Institute for Ecological Research (IPE), a non-government organization in Brazil devoted to the conservation of socio-economic benefits through science, education and sustainable business. When someone purchases a pair of Havaianas, part of the money is donated to help IPE promote education and research in ecology.
6. Get Outdoors
Andre Moncrieff often wears his favorite ornithology-inspired t-shirts to campus, to show off his love for birds. As a PhD student in the Museum of Natural Science, Andre is studying the population genetics of Blue-crowned Manakins in the Amazon Basin and Andean foothills.
Andre: I like to wear my LSU Museum of Natural Science shirts because I'm proud to be a part of that community. Wearing nature-related shirts to work is also a nice way to show my obsession for birding and the outdoors. The front of this particular shirt pictures a male Hooded Merganser – one of my favorite local birds.
7. A Lab Coat of a Different Color
In Karen Maruska's lab, a lab coat isn't just a piece of protective equipment! Karen studies fish neuroscience in her lab in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences.
Karen: When I was a graduate student at University of Hawaii, I was a teaching assistant, or TA, for the Cell and Molecular Biology course. There were six different lab sections, each with a different TA, and we had a “decorate your TA’s lab coat” contest among the sections. The undergraduate students in each section had to decorate their TA’s coat. I was fortunate to have a very talented artist in my section and the class collectively decided to have her paint something on the back. I told her, “I study coral reef fishes and I like cats,” and this is what she came back with! We were all amazed and my lab section won the contest, hands down. I treasure this coat even more now that I’m here at LSU (where it lives safely hanging in my office). Geaux Tigers!
Because I have always loved fish and other sea creatures, I have many critter-related fashion items, many of which were gifts from friends, colleagues, family and students. The cichlid earrings (I also have stingray, hammerhead shark, tarpon, and other fish jewelry) were a thank you gift from an undergraduate student who worked in my lab, whom I mentored through the CxC Distinguished Communicator program and wrote medical school recommendation letters for. It’s always nice, although never necessary, to receive a thoughtful science-related gift, and I always appreciate the additions to my science fashion collection!
8. Just Keep Swimming
When PhD life gets tough, Julie Butler just keeps swimming. Julie studies fish neuroscience, specifically how human-made noises impact behavior, physiology and communication in the African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, in Karen Maruska's lab in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences.
Julie: I'm affectionately known as "the fish girl" amongst my friends outside of graduate school. They know I'm a graduate student who works on fish and there's another "Julie" in our friend group. So "fish girl" it is! One of my friends found these shoes on clearance at TJ Maxx and decided I needed them. And I LOVE them!! They're hand-painted and feature the artist's signature on the side. The only downfall is that I'm scared to wear them for lab work! Working in the fish room has ruined a fair number of shoes (especially Toms), so I think I'll reserve my science Toms for special occasions, or at least days when I don't anticipate getting soaking wet!
9. Science T-Shirts Forever
Valerie Derouen flips logs for science. Valerie is the Outreach Coordinator for the LSU Museum of Natural Science. She develops science education activities and exhibits, conducts outreach events such as Night at the Museum, maintains the website and social media accounts, produces the Museum's Quarterly Newsletter and writes grants to support the museum's outreach activities and exhibits.
Valerie: I took a herpetology class as a senior during my undergrad with Dr. Chris Austin from the Museum of Natural Science. We used to go on field trips to look for and identify amphibians and reptiles. One great spot to look is under logs, because it offers them a place to hide and stay cool/moist. I loved the class and so did all of my classmates. We bonded so much that we all made shirts!
10. Geology Jewelry
Candace Hays is an alum of the geology and geophysics program at LSU, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1994. Candace and her husband, Ronnie, who is also an LSU geology alum, have established the Candace L. Hays and Ronnie D. Johnson Scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding undergraduate geology students. Candace and Ronnie have also hosted events for LSU geology alumni and student interns in the Houston area. An engineering analyst advisor today, Candace is also inspired by her love for geology to create mineral jewelry!
Candace: My first semester at LSU, I took a freshman-level geology class. I became fascinated by physical geology and how the earth was formed. The beauty and the uniqueness of minerals are what influence my [jewelry] designs today. I attended a gem and jewelry show about ten years ago and have been creating jewelry ever since. I like to use Amethyst and Citrine for their color (purple and gold), but the shape of the minerals is also a factor in how I choose the materials for my pieces.
Bonus Feature: Fish Ink!
We had so many amazing science fashion submissions that we couldn't stick to our Top 10 favorites!
What better way to celebrate one's love for fish science than with eel-inspired ink! A.J. Turner is a PhD student in Prosanta Chakrabarty's Fish Lab at LSU. He studies how morphological (shape) and genetic variation in salt-tolerant fishes are influenced by the environment and interactions between species. If you love fish science, you should totally follow A.J. on Instagram.
AJ: I purchased Noodler's American Eel fountain pen ink from the Goulet Pen Company, a business dedicated to supplying various stationary items to stationary nerds like myself.
When I came across this particular ink, I had to try it because 1) many of the Noodler's inks have images of fishes on their bottles and, well, since I study fishes I had to get it; and 2) this ink is "bulletproof" which means it's "in defiance of phishing forgers" and it's water resistant - the latter is crucial when I work in the lab with various liquids.
No fish were harmed in the making of this post or ink!
Come to campus on Wednesday, April 26 dressed in your science best! Take a picture and share it on social media (using hashtag #LSUSciFashion) for the chance to win a prize bag from the LSU College of Science!