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Faces of Biology: Communicate research with photos

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

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What does a biologist look like? Who are biologists? Where do they work and what exactly do they do?

For many grade school and middle school children, the image of an older (usually Caucasian) male with wild gray hair comes to mind. He’s holding a test tube or flask and wearing a white lab coat and goggles. Other than the wild hair, none of those phrases describe me.

But why do so many people recall that image? I don’t know, but  I do know that the Faces of Biology Photo Contest presented by the American Institute of Biological Sciences is an excellent opportunity to expand everyone’s preconceptions what a biologist looks like and what he/she does.

The contest is an opportunity to showcase the varied forms that biological research can take.  Photographs entered into the contest must depict a person, such as a scientist, researcher, technician, or student, engaging in biological research.  The depicted research may occur outside, in a lab, with a natural history collection, on a computer, in a classroom, or elsewhere. ~ from the official contest website.

Like this one of me (and my wild hair, hahaha)

Photo by Bart Kensinger (Oklahoma State University)

But this one is better, although it is completely staged.

My professionally posed photo of me 'doing science'. Hahaha.

Either way, I hope everyone who qualifies – which includes students (age 18 & older), researchers, teachers, even Citizen Scientists – will submit an entry. If selected the grand prize is this:

plus some more cool prizes including cash. Visit the link for more details and to enter. Contest ends September 30, 2011. Right now I am a science conference – the joint meeting of the Animal Behavior Society & the Internal Ethological Conference at Indiana University. There’s a whole heap of biologists here and I hope to convince a few hundred to enter. I’ve already seen some really awesome Faces of Biology pictures in the talks I’ve been to.

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

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

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