Press release

Book 1 – PR#3

Learn About The World Of Science With STEM Heroes

As STEM fields continue to grow, so has the need to encourage young people to pursue jobs within them. One researcher plans to do just that through her new manga: STEM Heroes.

 January 1, 2017 – Technology is an integral part of the modern world; most business, records, and a significant portion of interpersonal interaction is all done electronically. The devices and discoveries that allow this modern fascination with technology were all made through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. And as these areas of study and research have grown in importance, the push for young people to explore the world of STEM has also grown. This new push has led to some very creative ways through which STEM fields are promoted, such as dolls, TV shows, and video games. However one medium that has not been explored in the quest to encourage young people to explore STEM is manga, or Japanese comics. Dr Ana Verissimo, a researcher at Leicester and Saga Universities (UK and Japan respectively), aims to explore this option and promote STEM to young women through her new manga, STEM Heroes.

 Dr. Verissimo, who has a passion for communicating science, feels that “everyone should have access to basic knowledge on the usefulness of STEM, without all the complicated jargon”, which prompted her to explore ways to communicate the wonders of STEM to a broad audience. Her solution is the aforementioned STEM Heroes, which follows four high school students who are each interested in a different field within STEM. The four of them solve issues and save the day within their community using their respective areas of expertise. For example, the first story has them solving a crime using DNA fingerprinting, computer modeling, and other exciting technologies and methods they have learned through their education in STEM fields. Dr. Verissimo envisions each adventure exploring different locales and issues, which will then relate to different discoveries and technologies discovered through research in STEM.

 Having already written the first story and chosen an artist to illustrate, Dr. Verissimo faces only one major problem: funding. Both the costs of paying the commissioned illustrator and printing the finished product add up, so seeking external help has become necessary. To remedy this, Dr. Verissimo has chosen to Kickstart her campaign. She feels that crowdfunding is not only a great source of funding, but also a source of community, as success relies on people coming together to achieve a common goal.  Rewards offered to donors range from a mention on the Thank You page to having a character within the story modeled off a photo the donor provides. With reader help, STEM Heroes can become a source of enjoyment for people all over the world, all while inspiring young people to explore the fascinating world of STEM.

 For more information about the STEM Heroes manga, visit the Kickstarter campaign page

Book 1 – PR#2

New Japanese manga series to showcase women in the sciences

University of Leicester researcher launches ‘STEM Heroes’ campaign

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 December 2016

A researcher from the University of Leicester is combining her love for Japanese art with her passion for the sciences by launching a campaign to create the first instalment in a new manga series.

‘STEM Heroes’ follows the adventures of four high school girls using their amazing STEM skills – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – in order to solve mysteries and save the day.

The Japanese comic series, which is to be released in both Japanese and English, aims to teach science and technology through the adventures of four passionate and relatable student characters.

The creator, Dr Ana Verissimo from the University of Leicester Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, is a scientist with a passion for communicating science.

Ana said: “I’ve always loved science and talking about it. It’s great when non-scientists ask me questions and are curious about how things work. Everything around us uses STEM, from Wi-Fi, to anti-seismic buildings, to your cat’s microchip. Everyone should have access to basic knowledge on the usefulness of STEM, without all the complicated jargon.”

The script for the first story is written and the artistic work to create the four main characters – Mari, Jun, Miki and Yui – has already been commissioned.

The creator has tested the characters on real high school girls in Japan and has received positive feedback.

Ana added: “So far, the reaction has been very positive, the girls love the characters’ looks and individual skills. Mari loves biology and genetics (and cake!), Jun is passionate about maths and physics, Miki is a little engineer and Yui is a computer genius. Despite being mega smart, they are just like everyone else, a bit shy, a bit clumsy, a bit grumpy, a bit silly. I think those traits make them relatable and lovable.”

Ana is now seeking additional funding via Kickstarter for the project in order to cover the artistic work and the initial printing and publishing.

Ana explains: “I found myself an amazing Japanese artist to draw the manga, check out the characters for yourself on the blog or Twitter! I love them! But, of course, she does not work for free and printing and publishing also has costs, so I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to illustrate and publish the first book of the series.

“Why crowdfunding? Well, apart from the obvious source of funding, I really like the idea of community and achieving something together. As rewards I will be offering the opportunity to have characters look like backers and everyone will get their name on the thanks list, as every contribution is very much appreciated, no matter how small. The book itself (English or Japanese, digital or printed) will obviously also be one of the rewards available. I am also open to feedback from backers during the campaign.”

Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, Graduate Dean at the University of Leicester, who has championed the education of young people in STEM subjects, said: “This is a fabulous idea and I really look forward to seeing the stories published. We need more women in science and engineering!”

Earlier this year Professor Atkinson was listed as one of the Top 50 women in engineering by the Daily Telegraph.

The Kickstarter page is available here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1501794305/stem-heroes-manga-book-1

More information about the project is available here: https://stemheroes.wordpress.com/press-release/

The ‘STEM Heroes’ Twitter account is available here: @stemheroesmanga

Book 1 – PR#1

STEM heroes: kickstarter campaign for a new manga series

An exciting new manga series is coming. Four high school girls use their amazing STEM skills to solve mysteries and save the day. What’s STEM? It stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics!

The Japanese comics series (to be released in both Japanese and English) aims to teach science and technology through the adventures of four super clever but relatable students.

The creator, Ana Verissimo, is a scientist with a passion for communicating science. “I’ve always loved science and talking about it. It’s great when non-scientists ask me questions and are curious about how stuff work. Everything around us uses STEM, from wifi, to anti-seismic buildings, to your cat’s microchip. Everyone should have access to basic knowledge on the usefulness of STEM, without all the complicated jargon”.

The script for the first story is written and the artistic work to create the four main characters has already been commissioned. Mari, Jun, Miki and Yui already have a face, image and personality of their own. The creator has even tested them on real high school girls. She said “So far, the reaction has been very positive, the girls love the characters’ looks and individual skills. Mari loves biology and genetics (and cake!), Jun is passionate about maths and physics, Miki is a little engineer and Yui is a computer genius. Despite being mega smart, they are just like everyone else, a bit shy, a bit clumsy, a bit grumpy, a bit silly. I think those traits make them relatable and lovable.”

The last hurdle to turn this project into a reality is funding for the artistic work and initial printing/publishing. Ana explains: “I am absolutely terrible at drawing, so I found myself an amazing Japanese artist to draw the manga, check out the characters for yourself on the blog or twitter! I love them! But, of course, she does not work for free and printing and publishing also have costs, so I’m launching a kickstarter campaign to raise money to illustrate and publish the first book of the series.”

“Why crowdfunding? Well, apart from the obvious source of funding, I really like the idea of community and achieving something together. As rewards I will actually be offering the opportunity to have characters look like backers and everyone will get their name on the thanks list, as every contribution is very much appreciated, no matter how small. The book itself (English or Japanese, digital or printed) will obviously also be one of the rewards available. I am also open to feedback from backers during the campaign.”

The campaign has launched on 22 December and Ana says “there are plenty of reasons to love and back the project. Girl power, science and tech, manga and beautiful art work are only but a few!”

xxxx

For interviews or more information please contact:

Ana Verissimo, uncomplicatingscience(at)gmail(dot)com

For more information, please see www.stemheroes.wordpress.com and follow @stemheroesmanga or  go to the kickstarter campaign to back the project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1501794305/stem-heroes-manga.

 

You can also find University of Leicester’s press release here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2016/december/new-japanese-manga-series-to-showcase-women-in-the-sciences

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