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Comics Go to College

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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As a former high school science teacher who now draws science comics, I (obviously) think they can be a useful teaching tool. I get frequent messages from teachers who use them in the classrooms to excite their students and maybe (just maybe!) lower their anxiety level about science. And recently I had an opportunity to explore a different facet of the educational science comic.

Dr. Mark Martin from the University of Puget Sound was teaching an introductory biology class for freshmen called “Unity of Life.” He noticed that year in and year out, students were less excited about the chapters on biochemistry and metabolism, even though this can be so relatable since so much is going on inside our body all the time! A fan of my comics, he emailed me with an idea for a comic about how even a student snoozing in class has a busy cellular existence. I sketched out a concept, and he commissioned me to render the comic especially for his class.

This is new territory for me: personalized, targeted comics that people use for their class or their blogs. It’s a whole new avenue for science art, and it’s yet another testament to the power of connections forged on the internet. Dr. Martin struck up a conversation on twitter, which led to emails, which led to this comic. Connect with the creators you love, and great things happen!

Read more about how Dr. Martin used this comic on his blog!

Katie McKissick About the Author: Katie McKissick is a former high school biology teacher turned science writer and cartoonist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her first book is called What's in Your Genes. You can find more of work at Follow on Twitter @beatricebiology.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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