SciQuilt – I HeART Earth Science

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January 28, 2021 by Dr. G

The online community platform Lifeology hosted a science communication challenge with the theme creativity in science. As I started reflecting upon the role of creativity in my position as a scientist and educator, I realized that my creativity is rooted in my passion for communicating science, and that passion comes from my heart.

This is a video I created with the background and description of the quilt – enjoy and share!

I’m an Earth scientist, specializing in geology and oceanography. In addition to sharing my research results with the science community through conference presentations and peer-reviewed journal articles, I look for ways to engage people coming from non-science backgrounds with the world around them. I deeply care about all individuals learning and understanding Earth science, and the relevance of Earth materials and processes to their lives. Quilting has served as an outlet for me to disseminate stories of science and to connect with new audiences.

This quilt I’ve titled I HeART Earth Science. It represents both my identity as an Earth scientist and the creative way I communicate science. The big read heart in the middle represents not just my heart for my work and where my creativity originates, but Planet Earth. The green and blue batik fabrics around the heart represent land and water, the Earth systems of hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and lithosphere – the complex systems that interact with each other and provide the foundation for the living and non-living components of our environments.

  • Image of hanging quilt I HeART Earth Science
  • Close-up of blue and green batik fabrics included in the quilt I HeART Earth Science
  • Close-up of border fabric included in the quilt I HeART Earth Science

The border fabric is various dark blues with gold specs. To me, this fabric represents both the ocean twilight zone with flashes of bioluminescence, and it represents the stars we see in our galaxy and beyond. In a way, the big red heart is the pale blue dot that is the home of creativity and imagination, the foundation of scientific research and discovery, where questions are asked and solutions are achieved, ranging from the most simple to incredibly complex challenges we face.

So if I go back to the question asked in the Lifeology science communication challenge – to describe a time when creativity, imagination or subconscious thought was important to my scientific or artistic work…. This quilt is my response, because these characteristics are within me, define me, and are around me at all times. This quilt is a perfect example of stitching together my science and creative sides, to make me the Earth scientist and communicator I am today.

The quilt measures 19.5 inches by 19.5 inches and is based off of the Inside Out Heart pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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Day 5 of #DayOfScience @scienceathon! I started with the Penn State Water Council, connected with my undergrad student researcher, then gave a campus presentation on my sabbatical work last year, which included #SciQuilt, leading a pod w/the URGE (Unlearning Racism in Geoscience) program, & volunteering with the @americangeophysicalunion
Day 4 of #DayOfScience had more student meetings, a meeting w/the faculty Equity Pedagogy Group, & taking a break before more meetings! I took advantage of the nice weather to read more of this book, which I’m discussing weekly with the @womensaquaticnetwork book circle. @scienceathon
Day 3 of #DayOfScience and I had a television interview (via Zoom!). For those of you living in Massachusetts, look for me on Innovation Showcase with Jay Sugarman, where I discuss my journey into science quilting! @scienceathon #SciQuilt #SciComm
For my second #DayOfScience during the @scienceathon, it was seven student meetings and a Faculty Senate meeting - too much Zoom time! So I zipped out for a walk around the neighborhood before finishing up a project this evening. I volunteer with the Delaware County Institute of Science in Media (pictured here & on my walking route!), and last night I ran their first lecture of their 2021-2022 Lecture Series in Zoom. I need to finish editing the recorded video and post online to continue the education and engagement!
Excited to start the @scienceathon this week! On my first #DayOfScience, I have a meeting with a colleague, four student appointments, and I’m presenting on a faculty panel for MNSU for their Bringing Research into the Classroom Certificate program - & that’s all before lunch!
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