New Field Museum exhibit teaches about 'The Changing Face of Science'

A new exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum aims to expand the understanding about whom a scientist can be.

It's called, "The Changing Face of Science."

"When you think of a scientist, I imagine you picture some white old man in a lab coat," said Monisa Ahmed, Field Museum Exhibition Developer.

It's an image Ahmed aims to alter with this new exhibition that opens Friday.

It first focuses on Lynika Strozier, who worked in the Field's DNA lab before she died early in the pandemic of COVID-19. You see her work and meet people she's inspired.

"She meant the world to me. I always say she's the reason why I stayed in science because after my first year of undergrad, it was really hard to see myself in the sciences, to feel comfortable," said Heaven Wade, Strozier's former mentee.


Wade was at a predominately white college, almost quit biochemistry, then got an internship at the Field Museum. She says meeting Strozier was like meeting Beyoncé.

"And when I met her, I was like, oh wow, you're what I want to be," said Wade, who's about to start graduate school at Rush.

The exhibit doesn’t sugar coat it. It was a struggle for Strozier to succeed in this field and continues to be for others.

"That was my hope, in being as authentic as we possibly could be that our audience walks away with a thorough understanding of you know, how the STEM field is right now and what it takes to be a scientist and especially for those from underserved communities," said Ahmed.

By showing the full story, Ahmed hopes allies see the need to help, while kids can picture their potential.

"To think there's going to be a 6-year-old, 10-year or 12-year-old who are like, I want to be a scientist. And they finally see somebody who might look like them, remind them of a big cousin or a sister and go, wow, if she did it, I can do it, too," said Wade.

And that could change the face of science.