Hey! This is Anna Lytical and I love combining STEM and drag because computer science and engineering are all about solving problems using a set of skills and tools that you've learned. Drag is filled with problems: How can you transform your face with makeup? Style a wig a foot tall on your head? Or create a look using a limited set of supplies?
Once you see that you can apply engineering and technical concepts in fun and creative scenarios, then you'll see that they aren't so intimidating after all.
One of the reasons I love merging drag and science communication is that as a bisexual, nonbinary person, I don't really see many people like me when I go into my lab. And this option makes me wonder if I belong there. I think drag is a way to reclaim the spaces and to scream as loud as we can that being outside of the norm does not make us any less rigorous or any less of a scientist for that matter.
Hello! My name is Shrouk El-Attar, also known as dancing queer, and I am an electronics engineer by day, a belly dancing drag king by night and a 24/ 7 LGBT+ refugee. I grew up being taught that I could be a successful artist or I could be a successful engineer and I really wanted to show people that, you know what? You can embrace the power of "and." I've had an incredibly successful career as a drag performer, performed around the world, countries as far as India, Japan, and I've had an equally successful engineering career, built a machine that can detect cancer based on electron quantum spin. And I made a system that can help surgeons with eye surgery. And right now I'm the lead senior electronic engineer at a FinTech startup, hopefully en route to being the head of department. And I really wish when I was younger, I saw people who looked like me doing these things. That's why it's really important for me to be able to talk about both of my passions very loudly and be able to show other people, other refugee young girls that they can do something like this and they don't have to choose one or the other.
I turned two of my PhD papers into musicals, both very camp, one of them in drag. And I saw great potential in merging STEM and drag. You can perform at conferences and advocate for creative identities. The shows have a great reception and non-queer peers get used to diversity and hopefully queer people feel empowered to be themselves.
On the other hand, I've also delivered science content in lots of nightclubs and bars, so it works both ways and it's so fun!