Published September 15, 2020
Fortune magazine put UB GSE graduate student Raven Baxter on its exclusive “40 Under 40” list of emerging health care leaders.
Baxter — better known as Raven the Science Maven — is a science communicator who marries science with hip hop music to educate and inspire young, underrepresented students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
After starting her career as a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, Baxter quickly learned that the only other African Americans working at her office were security guards and custodians. She shifted her career to science education to push more people of color toward STEM fields.
Baxter is pursuing a doctoral degree in science education from UB's Graduate School of Education as a 2019-20 Arthur A. Schomburg Fellow. Her dissertation focuses on culturally responsive teaching strategies in STEM education, particularly through hip hop music, and the effects of media representation on Black women in science.
Connecting with the community through music, Baxter uses clever science-themed wordplay and self-produced beats to create numerous songs and music videos. In May, she released an album, “The Protocol,” which includes her viral hit, “Wipe It Down,” which encourages cleanliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She has also launched a web series, STEMbassy, featuring scientists of varying genders and races who explore STEM in the context of politics, culture and social issues.
Her work gained national recognition in recent months. Baxter secured a deal to write a children’s book and an agreement with a major television network to create a science education show. She has also fielded an offer from a major biotech company to serve as its science communicator and education specialist.