Four ISU women featured in women science video


Courtesy of Kaylee Rowland

Kaylee Rowland takes a #SCIFIE for a video science parody on the song #SELFIE by The Chainsmokers. The video premiered at a Plant and Animal Genome conference in January in San Diego, California.

Alex Connor

But first, let me take a #SCIFIE.

Alison Van Eenennaam, animal genomics and biotechnology cooperative extension specialist at the University of California, Davis, launched a four-minute parody to the song #SELFIE by The Chainsmokers on Jan.10. at the International Plant and Genome XXIV conference in San Diego, Calif.

The video aired in front of a room of about 3,000 people of which two women, specifically ISU Ph.D. students, Kaylee Rowland and Melissa Herrmann, got to see their own #SCIFIES light up on screen.

Rowland and Herrmann are both featured with chickens in the video, along with Susan Lamont, distinguished professor of animal science, and Ph.D. graduate Hongyan Song.

The video was intended to highlight women in science who are also plant and animal breeders, and the role that they play in the field.

Eenennaam does this by talking about women in the field in a historic context and current time. She also emphasized the passion the women featured have for science, their careers and family lives.

Eenennaam also actively speaks out on technology used in genetics and how it helps to produce more food.

“She’s really great at conveying these concepts to the general public and putting it in a way that they can understand why it’s important and why it’s safe,” Rowland said.

To get #SCIFIES for the video, Eenennaam sent out emails to people she knew in the field, including Lamont. Lamont then forwarded the email to Rowland and Herrmann, asking them to take the #SCIFIES and send them to Eenennaam, Rowland said.

Women from around the world were featured in the video, including female scientists from Australia, Mexico, Canada, Spain, India and the Netherlands.

The video begins with a quote from Rosalind Franklin, an English chemist who made contributions to the understanding of DNA and RNA among others, stating, “science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”

Eenennaam goes into how Franklin had gone unacknowledged for the contributions in her field and how she had gone unrecognized when James Watson and Francis Crick won the Noble Peace Prize for discovering the Double Helix structure of DNA.

Barbara McClintock, scientist and cytogeneticist, was also mentioned for her work as she was rumored to have thought and uttered the word genome before it was discovered.

“Both of these ladies were ahead of their time and did really revolutionary things,” Herrmann said.

Eenennaam also talked about deciding which journal to try and get work published into, tenure and self-citing in publications.

“It was humorous, but things she put in a humorous light are true issues that women scientists face and deal with,” Rowland said.

The video ended with a quote from Laurel Ulrich, a Pulitzer prize-winning historian, saying, “well-behaved women seldom make history.”

“I think it’s good for women to be in science,” Rowland said, who also stated that she thinks it’s important in science to be able to have different views when looking at a problem.

“Diversity in any form is beneficial,” Herrmann added.

The video currently has a little more than 1,000 views on YouTube.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was,” Herrmann said. “She did that all herself, and it was really funny and well put together.”

Rowland said she felt proud to be in that video.

The watch the video, click this link.