This illustration by Yvonne Page is of marine scientist and artist Courtney Mattison.
This illustration by Yvonne Page is of marine scientist and artist Courtney Mattison.

A new entry in the booming adult coloring book category: Super Cool Scientists

By Pippa Jack

Sara MacSorley ’08, M.B.A. ’13, was on a junior year marine biology study abroad in Bermuda working on her first research project, when an unpleasant realization dawned: this wasn’t what she wanted to do.

“It was a turning point,” she recalls. “I had to figure out, what do I do now?”

Mentor Professor Jacqueline Webb suggested she try science outreach, and MacSorley found her calling. Next came night classes to get an M.B.A. focused on science communications. Now she is at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center at Wesleyan University, which provides math, science and art enrichment to kids and grade school teachers.

But as director at Green Street, MacSorley wasn’t doing as much direct science outreach as she would have liked. Meanwhile she found herself struggling with anxiety, and amongst the tools she explored to control it, developed a love for adult coloring books. But when she looked for ones about scientists, she couldn’t find much. “That’s when it hit me that this is a good idea in a space people would enjoy,” she says. “And I wanted to focus on a diverse group of women to help support a more inclusive science environment.”

A little less than a year and lots of unfamiliar steps later—from finding an illustrator to successfully seeking funding on Kickstarter—Super Cool Scientists is on sale at In both words and pictures, it’s an inviting window into the lives and careers of 22 women, from mathematicians to engineers, and from doctors to, naturally, marine biologists.

“Representation matters. I wanted something that young people could relate to,” she says, “so they could see themselves in these professions.”•