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Ruth E. Propper Releases New Children’s Book

Posted in: Faculty News, News

photo of professor Ruth E. Propper on left with the front cover of her book in a graphic on right

Dr. Ruth E. Propper, a professor in the Psychology Department, has just released her new book, “What Kind of Scientist Can a Girl Be?” This timely book teaches that yes, a girl can be any kind of scientist. A glossary provides  information about various types of scientists and examples of what they study, references for additional reading, and the names and accomplishments of women in science.

Dr. Propper passionately believes that stereotypes of what a girl can do or should be do not belong in science, or anywhere. “I think societal expectations, even today in 2023, are at times restrictive, unfair, and confusing for girls and women. Despite the progress we have made, stereotypes about girls, including what is appropriately ‘girly’, and what we should or shouldn’t wear, behaviors that we should or shouldn’t do, and even careers we should or shouldn’t find appropriate, still exist,” she says.

“A girl – just like a boy – can do anything; she can get filthy digging in the dirt to find dinosaur bones, she can catch insects and examine them, or mush goop between her fingers as she puts it under a microscope. When one-half the populations thinks that only certain scientific fields are appropriate for them, then society as a whole is literally losing half its genius and innovation. Ultimately, this book is written for all the girls, and especially for my daughter who, as I say in the acknowledgements, can throw an ax, and hit the target, in a dress and high heels. Because girls can do – and be – anything.”

Propper recently joined BBC Radio London to discuss her book. Listen to the interview here

From the back of the book:

Girls can’t be physicists!
Can they?
As a squabbling sister and brother play pretend, they bicker about what girls can’t- and can- do.
Botanist, geneticist, mathematician, paleontologist…
Will they ever agree? What kind of scientist can a girl be?

The book is available for purchase at or on Amazon.