Challenge #4 of Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Eco-Scientist Graphic Novels

by Melissa Harding



When you think about a hero, it is pretty easy to name the stars of comic books and movies, but often much harder to think of the real heroes who work every day to make our world a better place. One kind of hero that often goes unrecognized is the scientist; scientists devote their lives to learning more about the world around them so that society can be healthier and safer. In particular, environmental scientists work hard to learn how human actions affect the planet and how we can all be better stewards of the Earth. During the latest challenge of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps, high school students were asked to choose one environmental scientist whose work they admire and turn their life and work into a graphic novel. Students did extensive background research on their subjects, creating a biography crossed with a superhero comic book. Over 70 students participated in this challenge and the results were really incredible.

The subjects of these novels included such inspirational heroes as Rachel Carson, John James Audubon, Julia Butterfly, and Aldo Leopold; they included both past and contemporary scientists, as well environmental researchers, conservationists, writers and artists. The judges were blown away by the artistry, creativity, beauty, and humor of the submissions.

1st Place: North Allegheny Intermediate High School
2nd Place:  A. W. Beattie Career Center
3rd Place (tie): West Mifflin Area High School and North Allegheny Senior High School

Special Merit Awards:
Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 for “Poetic Imagining”
Woodland Hills High School for “Future Cartoonist”
West Greene Middle Senior High School for “Comic Style and Humor”

But don’t just take our word for it – check out some of the winning submissions in the slideshow below:

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Above photos of the winning entries were taken by Phipps Science Education and Research staff.




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