We’ve rounded up a list of our top Instagram favourites to follow. First up, Katy Wimberly a.k.a @AstronoMouse! Follow Katy for a peek through the astronomical lens, that includes a healthy mix of galaxy gazing, #studentlife and cute pictures of her dog.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I’m Katy Rodriguez Wimberly, a 2nd year Graduate student at University of California, Irvine working towards a Physics PhD by doing Astrophysics research! (Haha that’s a long title…) I’m 32 and live in the LA area. You may notice that I’m a little older than most PhD students. I didn’t go into astrophysics right after high school because I spent 5 years studying theatre. I loved astronomy and didn’t know I could make a career out of studying it – so I set out to be a SciFi Actress!
I realised that I wasn’t passionate about pursuing an acting career, but I could make a career out of doing astronomy research. So with a lot of hard school work and following my intuition, I pursued astronomy and now I’m a graduate student!
Why did you start an Instagram account?
I started my Instagram account just to post silly pictures of cute things. As I got deeper into academia I realised how rare it is to see scientists talk about their science publicly. There seems to be this divide between science communicators who focus on the flashy science and active researchers in the field who focus on like the nitty gritty. The nitty gritty is cool too!
I refocused my Instagram to show the everyday life of an active researcher, feature more of that nitty gritty (I usually go into more detail on my FB page – AstronoMouse) and just to be a visible WOC Astronomer. Women of Colour Astronomers may be few and far between but we are out here! I feel it’s important to showcase what I’m doing so budding astronomers/scientists have the opportunity to have the kind of role model I lacked.
Who should follow you?
Everyone! Honestly! I guess you do have to enjoy science somewhat to appreciate my account. I try to keep it a good mix of pretty space pictures (with some fun nitty gritty details!), occasional telescope and instrument photos and some good old selfies and dog photos (he’s pretty dang adorable). Again, I try to focus on explaining the finer details to bridge the gap between popular science and active research areas.
Don’t be shy to share your own love for science! Don’t feel like your social media accounts have to be one thing or the other (like just science or just selfies) – your accounts should be dynamic just like you!