Profile: Adding Color to the World of Research | AIChE

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Profile: Adding Color to the World of Research


Julie Rorrer

Science and art are often thought to be two different disciplines that have almost no direct relationship with one another. However, Julie Rorrer, a postdoctoral fellow in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is using art to complement and communicate science through her outreach program and coloring book series, ColorMePhD. With ColorMePhD, she hopes to inspire the future generation of scientists and demonstrate that science is for everyone.

Rorrer grew up in an artistic and musical family in Corvallis, OR. “My mom is a pianist, and actually a church organist. And my brother is a professional musician in Los Angeles,” Rorrer says. “Growing up, I played instruments and did a lot of different types of art projects and things like that.” She would always catch herself doodling on the backs of her homework and using art as a visual aid to help her understand concepts in her science classes. After developing an interest in science and acknowledging her creative side, Rorrer was faced with a dilemma. “At one point, I think I had to make this decision,” Rorrer recounts. “Do I go into art and music? Or do I want to go into science and engineering?” She eventually decided to pursue chemical engineering as she was interested in the environment and clean energy, and because her father is a chemical engineer. She believed there was room for art and creativity within the field of science, and she was interested in exploring the intersection of the two areas...

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