GCU student wins national STEM art competition

Thu, 04 Feb 2021 16:19:00 GMT
Roxanna's love for art was inspired by watching Bob Ross throughout her childhood
Roxanna's love for art was inspired by watching Bob Ross throughout her childhood

A GCU student has received special recognition after combining a childhood hobby with her passion for STEM.

Roxanna Munir, who is completing a PHD in Spinal Muscular Atrophy, was crowned the winner of SULSA’s Through the Looking Glass: Breaking Barriers in STEM Art Competition.

She explained the inspiration behind her design, which answered the question; “what does an inclusive and diverse environment look like to you?”

Roxanna said: “The general theme was all around diversity but the whole thing was really open to interpretation.

I basically wanted to have a humanoid figure that was androgynous and allowed people to look at it and see themselves. I didn’t want it being looked at as specifically a man or specifically a woman. Similarly, I tried to make it composed of different skin tones. I used a palette knife and layered the colours on top of each other.

I wanted to get across that science is collaborative and involves people from all backgrounds, all over the world, with a range of ideas coming together to work on one project."

She added: “I was so buzzing when I found out I’d won. Lockdown had put a halt on my research and I had reached the point where I was finally ready to collect all my data and get all my results. It was frustrating, and I was really needing a win, so it was nice to get the news.

It was good to get recognition for something creative too, because I’ve never really won anything for my art – even though it’s something I’ve done for years.”

It was a friend who initially drew her attention to the competition and Roxanna admits that it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up for a number of reasons.

She explained: “Art is something that I’ve been passionate about since high school – it’s just so fun. I used to watch Bob Ross when I was younger with my brothers and I was always amazed by it!

I think it’s really important to have something that can help take you away from the stresses of work.”

Roxanna added: “From a professional perspective, women in STEM and people of colour in STEM are both things that I’ve always been an advocate for, so that was another reason for getting involved.

I’ve also been a STEM Ambassador since I started my PHD and getting the word out there about women doing it for themselves is important to me.”

You can check out Roxanna’s other artwork on her Instagram page

By Ross Clark
Got an SHLS or GSBS story? Email me at or message me on Twitter