Smashing Stereotypes: Hana Ayoob

A creative scientist helping to diversify the field

Hana Ayoob
Creative producer and artist

Hana is a speaker, events producer and illustrator working in science communication. She’s passionate about bringing people together to explore science and the world around them. Hana studied zoology at university and continues to indulge her interest in weird and wonderful animals by drawing and talking about them. 

It’s fair to say I had a rocky journey towards a career in the sciences, and it all started with a certain stereotype around science. I spent almost all of my childhood focussed on art, and wanting to be a designer.

I changed my A Level options to science subjects quite last minute and applied to study biology at university while still unsure of what I really wanted to do. In my first year of university I realised that research in the lab or in nature wasn’t for me, and it took me a long time to realise there’s so many other ways to be a scientist and to use science in your day to day life.

It probably wasn’t until my second year of university that I began to think science was for me. Although it has been a rocky journey, I wouldn’t change any of it.

When it comes to stereotypes, the biggest one is that you can’t like art and science, or that you can’t be both an artist and a scientist. When I was younger, I really felt like I had to make a choice between art and science. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised this really isn’t the case.

I now get paid to draw things which are related to science, using both my science degree and the drawing skills I’ve practiced all my life. I use my love and experience of art and the theatre when I’m planning science events too. Art and science really aren’t as a separate or different as they’re often made out to be.

The great thing about my job is there are lots of different parts to it. I plan events such as science festivals where people talk about science and run fun activities where adults and children can explore science, technology, engineering and maths.

I also give talks myself, usually about the weird animals I love. I teach scientists how to run better activities where people can explore science. Finally, I also draw things that are related to science.

While it’s important to have an idea of the different career options available, I think it’s better to choose your next step (e.g. your A Level options or your university course) based on what you are most interested in and the skills that you really want to develop further. Remember that a STEM degree, apprenticeship or other qualification can teach you lots of different skills which can be used in lots of different jobs, like organisation and writing.

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The Smashing Stereotypes campaign is supported by 3M