Updated: Mar 31, 2022
In honor of Women's History Month, I would like to celebrate Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya: a neuroscientist-turned-artist, owner of several businesses, and an advocate for STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). Her businesses use art to convey complex scientific ideas to wide audiences, and inspire women to explore their creative and academic passions.
As a fellow artist and business owner that uses art and storytelling to teach kids about the natural world, Phingbodhipakkiya is an inspiration. She challenges us to imagine a world where science and art are not mutually exclusive, but compliment each other in beautiful and creative ways.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO STEM AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Phingbodhipakkiya's businesses and projects use art to teach the general public about scientific concepts, and empower women to explore careers that combine the arts and sciences. Her projects include:
The Leading Strand: a organization where scientists and artists collaborate to explain scientific breakthroughs through visual art.
ATOMIC by Design: an after-school science and design club for young women that create clothing inspired by the periodic table of elements.
Beyond Curie: an art series that highlights women that made important contributions to STEM, but are not well known.
Community of Microbes: a project that explores the world of microorganisms through sculpture and augmented reality installations.
Findings: a series of murals across the country that celebrates women in science.
Connective Tissue: - a solo exhibition that illustrates the impact of biological, scientific and social networks through large murals and interactive installations.
ABOUT AMANDA PHINGBODHIPAKKIYA
When she was young, Phingbodhipakkiya was fascinated by the aesthetic beauty of butterfly wings. She even asked her mother for a microscope so she could observe them up close. Phingbodhipakkiya started to question the relationship between art and science, and why they are taught as completely separate opposite topics in education.
As an adult, Phingbodhipakkiya began her
career as a neuroscience researcher at the
Columbia Medical Center, where she studied Alzheimer's disease. One day, one of her patients asked her what she contributed to science. She handed them her research paper in response, but later regretted doing so. Phingbodhipakkiya knew most people find dense scientific journals uninteresting and hard to understand.
“I started looking at the storytelling of science. Because, as a young scientist I was having trouble communicating what we were doing in our lab and why it was important,” said Phingbodhipakkiya.
She began her new career path by earning a master's degree in Communication Design from the Pratt Institute in New York. Suddenly, Phingbodhipakkiya was both a professional scientist and artist. She set out to inspire other similarly curious women to explore careers in both art and science, and communicate important research with the general public through design.
A HERO FOR WOMEN IN STEM
“One of the most rewarding things about doing this kind of work is the response from young women who say that seeing my work helps them envision their careers in a different way,” said Phingbodhipakkiya. “They always felt like they had to choose between something creative and something deeply scientific, and now they feel like there’s a path forward for them to combine both of them together and make something meaningful.”
One of my main goals with IDEA Collective has been to inspire kids to get curious about the natural world through art. My arts and crafts kits try to teach topics like conservation, biology, and ecology through creative, fun and colorful activities. I also hope to inspire the next generation of women, just like Phingbodhipakkiya inspired me, to follow all their passions, even if they seem contradictory at first.
Visit our shop here to browse our selection of STEAM-learning craft kits. And Happy Women's History Month!