He looked at 50 years of kids' drawings of scientists. What he found? Fascinating.

What do kids think a scientist "looks like" nowadays?

It's a question David Miller, a researcher and psychology doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, wanted to find out. So he started digging.

Miller and a team of researchers looked at 78 "draw-a-scientist" studies spanning the previous five decades. As the name suggests, students in kindergarten through grade 12 were asked to draw a scientist and answer some basic questions.

Some of their responses throughout the years, by the way, were quite adorable.



Image courtesy of Richard Jones and Dr. Lori Fulton at University of Hawaii at Manoa.


More important than any cuteness factor, however, was the noticeable shift in what kinds of scientists children have drawn since the 1960s.

Over the course of five decades, an increasing number of children drew scientists who were women.

Image courtesy of Richard Jones and Dr. Lori Fulton at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

These findings by Miller and his team at Northwestern, newly published in the journal Child Development, led to encouraging results for anyone hoping more girls may be taking interest — or, at the very least, may potentially see themselves — in STEM-related hobbies or careers.

The earliest study Miller analyzed took place between 1966 and 1977, when an overwhelming number of elementary-aged students drew men as scientists: Less than 1% of the nearly 5,000 drawings depicted women. More recent research, however, reflects a sharp contrast in that perception: In studies between 1985 and 2016, 28% of children, on average, drew scientists that were women.

Image courtesy of Vasilia Christidou.

The more recent drawings suggest stereotypes linking only men to science-related fields has weakened substantially over time in the U.S., researchers concluded.

"Given this change in stereotypes, girls in recent years might now develop interests in science more freely than before," Miller, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.

Image courtesy of Richard Jones and Dr. Lori Fulton at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Clearly, there's still progress to be had.

28% is not nearly a high-enough figure. Backward ideas about who can and should become scientists are still being absorbed by kids growing up in the 21st century. Boys are still less likely to draw women scientists than girls are, the research found. And older kids are more likely to draw men than younger ones are, suggesting stereotypes may become more entrenched as kids age.

Furthermore, when it comes to skin color, the overwhelming majority of kids drew scientists interpreted as being white. Although, Miller noted to the The Atlantic, race and ethnicity were more difficult to track, given kids used various colors (or no colors) to draw their scientists throughout the years.

Still, when it comes to gender, the findings show true progress.

Image courtesy of Vasilia Christidou.

The study shows why representation matters.

"It’s optimistic that children’s stereotypes change as gender roles change in society too," Miller said. When girls see doctors, engineers, or computer scientists that are women — whether it be in their own personal lives or on TV and film screens — it can have a powerful effect.

"Children draw what they see,” Toni Schmader of the University of British Columbia at Vancouver told Nature. And when girls can see themselves as anything this world has to offer, we're making meaningful progress.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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