She’s gone viral for her science-themed fashion creations, made a splash with a 3D-printed bouquet for her wedding, and amassed nearly 50,000 followers on TikTok alone. Erin Winick Anthony is a social media influencer, but not in the way you would typically expect.
A quick scroll through her social media accounts reveals a sea of engaging content sharing all kinds of stories and creations. Whether it’s a 3D-printed silly bandz or an explainer on photographing Earth from space, Anthony has a unique ability to communicate science with audiences in a fun, accessible way.
But it’s not just a hobby for her. Coming from a family of educators, and engineers, science and space has always been an important part of Anthony’s life. On top of that, while growing up in Florida, she lived a stone’s throw away from the launch site of NASA’s space shuttle—only adding fuel to her passion. “I could walk outside my front door and see a shuttle takeoff,” said Anthony.
Having that background lit a spark early on in Anthony to share her love of these topics with a broader audience. “I think I had a much more tangible connection to space and science that definitely made it feel much more accessible,” she said.
Today, she’s putting that passion to work, having recently left her own job working with NASA to found STEAM Power Media, where she focuses on creating science and engineering content that highlights the incredible breakthroughs happening in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Launched at the start of 2023, Anthony and STEAM Power Media provide services ranging from written content to speaking engagements to social media and video content creation.
Her work frequently involves collaborating with scientists and others in the STEM world to help identify compelling ways to tell their stories. She explains, “I’m working and pairing with lots of other scientists and engineers to help them tell their stories of the things that they’re creating.”
Growing up with a love of creating
Anthony studied mechanical engineering while in college—an experience that introduced her to SOLIDWORKS, a platform that advances computer-aided design (CAD) with 3D modeling and simulation capabilities, and subsequently led to her founding a company called Sci Chic, where she created 3D printed jewelry designed using the platform. Her journey then included a stop as a writer for the MIT Technology Review, covering the future of work automation, manufacturing, and space topics.
Eventually, Anthony became a science communicator at the Johnson Space Center for NASA. She spent her time there making content and sharing stories about the work happening on the International Space Station, Earth’s orbiting laboratory.
Creating content for NASA gave Anthony the chance to have a hand in reaching and educating millions of followers. Having that level of experience was a role she had always dreamed of. But seeing the impact her content was having on social media and NASA.gov, Anthony knew she wanted to take the skills she had developed and create something all her own.
And while she doesn’t expect to have that same kind of reach right from the start, it was that experience that inspired her to take the leap and forge a path on her own. “I’m hoping to, in my own way, build a different type of community that’ll respond to the stuff that I’m making,” said Anthony.
When it comes to science and engineering, there’s more than meets the eye
While Anthony has steadily become a social media and communications master, she didn’t always consider herself as outgoing.
“I used to be really shy when I was in high school,” Anthony said. “What made the transition for me was in college when I saw there was just a general lack of awareness of what engineering was or what mechanical engineering was.”
That misunderstanding is exactly what Anthony is dedicated to changing. She wants to share just how much fun and creativity exists in science topics that the average person may not see at first.
She explains, “I think that STEM and science can be fun and that it can be fun for more than just kids too.”
And that’s a philosophy that Anthony brings to her work launching STEAM Power Media. She brings a veritable Swiss Army Knife of skills to the table for her clients, helping her clients capture their ideas and produce engaging videos, write compelling scripts for shows or other speaking engagements, or serve as a moderator or speaker at events, just to name a few. Acting as a consultant for the scientists, educators, and individuals she serves, Anthony taps into her own love of science to help make it possible for others to share their own stories.
So, how does her unique approach to science communication manifest itself in practice? Well, take for instance Anthony’s more fashionable side. As we mentioned earlier, her fashion creations, like this dress designed to look like the parachute on the Mars rover, are a unique way to channel her love of science, while bringing it to audiences in a way that’s easy to understand. She has always found a thread that connects one of her passions, sewing, with science and that otherwise innocuous skill.
“Sewing helps you think about turning something 2D into something 3D which is very much what you might do in CAD software like SOLIDWORKS,” said Anthony.
Beyond the physical skillset, there are also real-world engineering roles that require sewing. For instance, engineers doing things like sewing space suits or parachutes. “There is this whole breadth of jobs out there that I think people don’t associate when they think science or engineers,” said Anthony.
Being a science communicator isn’t something that happens in the abstract, it’s a lot of hands-on experiences and demonstrations too. For Anthony, that shines through in her affinity for 3D modeling and printing.
She’s designed New Year’s 2023 glasses (built to fit those who already wear glasses) and even a crown covered in gears. No matter the output, the point remains the same – showing that this seemingly complex task is actually a very attainable skill anyone can learn.
“Although I can do very complex modeling, I like to try to keep things as simple as I can to show that anyone can start into this and make something cool.”
This type of modeling is something that can be particularly rewarding, according to Anthony. “You don’t have to have years and years of expertise to make something artistic and exercise that engineer part of your brain.”
And that fact is part of what drives Anthony to make her content. “I think it’s fun for people at any age and it doesn’t have to feel intimidating,” she said. Her videos and creations are about showing a new generation of science lovers what’s possible and that even something like CAD software or 3D printing are very attainable, and fun, skills to pick up.
Reshaping the way we all think about STEM
The journey to becoming a science communicator is a goal that has been a long time in the making for Anthony. As she looks toward the future, her sights are set on not only helping scientists and educators better share their work and explain what they do but also uplift and empower the next generation of communicators too.
“I want to provide a pipeline and some opportunities for up-and-coming young science communicators and people who could see a passion for themselves in this career,” said Anthony. “I think there’s an opportunity for a lot of science communicators to come together and collaborate and help train the next group.”
When thinking about the impact her content has on the world, Anthony hopes she can play a part in igniting that initial interest to get people as hooked on science as she is.
“I’m trying to get that spark and that inspiration. And that might be to go read or watch that video on NASA’s website or it might be to go make your own glasses or decorations,” said Anthony.
As for what’s next? Anthony will be going out on a scientific expedition aboard the JOIDES Resolution to share the geological studies into the history of the Mediterranean being conducted on board. On top of that, she plans to keep building her business, sharing her joy for all things science and engineering, and showing that there’s a place for creativity in the world of STEM.
Erin Winick Anthony isn’t the only one making an impact in the world of STEM. Check out some of the other humans driving progress.