British scientist and educator Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock had a Barbie doll made in her honor.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, toy giant Mattel announced on March 7 that it would honor seven influential women from all over the world who are leaders in STEM. Dr. Aderin-Pocock is the sole Black woman among the seven honorees.
“Barbie is dedicated to showcasing women who are role models from all backgrounds, professions, and nationalities so that girls around the world can see themselves in careers that might not always seem as accessible,” Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice president and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel, said. “STEM is a field where women are severly underrepresented, and our hope is that honoring these seven leaders in science and technology will encourage girls to follow their passion in this field. This international Women’s Day, we’re proud to continue our work in closing the Dream Gap and reminding girls of their limitless potential.”
Born in England to Nigerian parents, Dr. Aderin-Pocock had always been interested in science, earning an undergraduate in Physics at the Imperial College in London and a Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
While her father wanted her to specialize in medicine, Dr. Aderin-Pocock had her sight set on one particular subject, space.
After graduating, she landed a great job opportunity, working in Chile on the Gemini Telescope, managing a team of 17 people. While her dream was to go to space, working on the telescopes put her a step closer to “reaching the stars.”
She became a space scientist at Astrium Limited and a science communicator at University College London, working in documentaries like BBC’s Do We Really Need the Moon?
As an educator, she enjoys teaching children and adults about the wonders of space.
Dr. Aderin-Pocock has been influential in shining a light on women in science and making it possible to have a career in the field.
Her work and research in physics and space led her to achieve numerous awards, like the third highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award (MBE). She became the first Black woman to win the 2020 William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize and the first Black woman to achieve the gold medal in the Physics News award.
As a child, Dr. Aderin-Pocock didn’t see herself going far since she was a bright kid with dyslexia. However, she makes it her mission to be a walking, living and breathing example to the youth that they can be whoever they want.
“Role models should be real people; if you have a role model who is, or is perceived as a superwoman, then people think, ‘Well, that’s not me, I can’t aspire to be that,” she said, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.