Smashing Stereotypes

Celebrating the diverse people and careers in science & engineering!

What do you imagine when you’re asked what a scientist looks like? Are you picturing lab coats, goggles and conical flasks? How about the person? Are they a White man with grey hair, who resembles Albert Einstein?

If that’s who you pictured – you aren’t alone. But it’s something that we want to change!

The science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors are much more diverse than this stereotype suggests. There are people working in labs, at universities, in innovation centres, in businesses and out on construction sites, who come from so many different backgrounds, and who have taken lots of different routes into their career. Not only that, the jobs people do and the ways that they work as a scientist are so broad – we could never list them all!

We want to celebrate this diversity as part of our British Science Week ‘Smashing Stereotypes’ campaign, in partnership with science-based technology company, 3M. ‘Smashing Stereotypes’ aims to encourage STEM employees and researchers to share stories about their day-to-day work and highlight the diversity of the STEM workforce, the extent of jobs and careers available, and that scientists are just like everyone else.

This is where you come in. We need your help to showcase the diverse and inspiring teams and individuals in STEM. Share how you or your team are #SmashingSterotypes on social media by posting a photo, video, or simply telling us. We’ll highlight as many as we possibly can!

For inspiration, we’ve collected stories from individuals and teams that we hope will spark a change in perceptions of people and careers in STEM. You can find more about them via the links below.

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee, Flight Systems Engineer
Encouraging more women into STEM, one badge at a time

Technology guardians, Product Engineering team
Pandemic response team plays to its strengths

Dynamic Development, Product Development Engineering team
Taking an iconic 3M product to the next level

Engineering the cars of the future, Application Engineering team
Girl power drives innovation

Counterfeit Detection Research, Analytical Specialist team
Using 3M science to foil counterfeiters

 Daniella Dos Santos, Small animal and exotic pet vet
Let’s talk vet diversity

Dr Sai Pathmanathan, Science Education Consultant
How science and creativity go hand in hand 

HS2 Innovation Team
A diverse team ‘on track’ to drive innovation

Sam Farmer, Owner of unisex skincare brand
There’s no age limit to starting a career a science

Dr Esther Odekunle, Antibody Engineer
Promoting diversity in STEM while helping medicines excel

Jaipal Sachdev, Senior Project Engineer
A champion advocate for the LGBT+ community within STEM

Dr Becca Wilson, MRC Innovation Fellow
A role model for the next generation of disabled researchers

Dr Claire Burke, Astro-ecologist
Taking the techniques from astronomy and applying them to Earth

Dr Michael Pascoe, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Backing himself in the world of pharmaceutical microbiology research

Hana Ayoob, Creative producer and artist
Combining her love of art and science


Romy Kenyon, Sustainability Project Manager
Leading the field in sustainability

Dr John Rafelt, Scientific Affairs Manager
A travelling scientist whose job differs from day to day

Dr Jayshree Seth, Corporate Scientist
The inspirational journey to becoming a Chief Science Advocate 

Jess Gallacher, Engagement and Communications Manager
Shining a light for science’s late bloomers

Samantha Williams, Abrasives Production Leader
From Bunsen burners to the luxury car market

How to get involved

We’d love to hear your stories too – do you work in science but in a non-traditional way?

Perhaps as a personal trainer, urban grower or cosmetic product developer– the list is endless, really. Scientists can wear lab coats and work with test tubes but they can also sit in front of a laptop in their pyjamas. We’re a mixed bunch and we want people to see that -tell us your job title, and how you’re #SmashingStereotypes every day. We want to share as many different examples of scientists and their careers as possible!

Smashing Stereotypes has landed on social media!

To bring your stories to life, we’ve created some images and GIFs to be shared across your social media. To download, simply right click the image and save.

 Enter our giveaway! *NOW CLOSED*

Did someone say freebie?

We’re giving away 10 badges that showcase diversity in STEM. Choose from ‘This is what a scientist looks like’ or ‘Smashing Stereotypes’ badges for you and a friend. These pins have been produced by aerospace engineer, Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee. (Aerospace engineer…cool, we know. Krystina’s part of our campaign this year, so you can delve into her story!).

Head over to our Instagram to enter. All you’ve got to do is follow us,
like the giveaway post and tag a friend in the comments. Share how you’re #SmashingStereotypes in the comments for a bonus entry!

You can enter as many times as you like. You have until 12:00 PM GMT Wednesday 17 March to enter, where we’ll be selecting the winners at random. Visit here for the full Terms and Conditions. Good luck!

(UK residents only. Giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram. The giveaway will run from 1 March –17 March 12:00 PM GMT. The winners will be selected at random and announced on 18 March. Under 18’s must have permission from their parents or carers to receive giveaway prize).

Keep a lookout for more interactive ways to get involved in the Smashing Stereotypes campaign across the British Science Week and 3M social and digital channels in the lead up to and during the Week. And remember – tag us on social media using the official hashtag so we can see how you’re #SmashingStereotypes!

More resources

Check out this video showcasing the diverse roles within manufacturing created by 3M Industrial Placement students at the manufacturing facility at Aycliffe, County Durham!

The Smashing Stereotypes campaign is supported by 3M.