Black History 365: Raven Baxter, Ph.D.

We are highlighting examples of Black excellence throughout the year! Feel free to send us suggestions!

Raven Baxter, Ph.D., aka Dr. Raven the Science Maven, is an internationally acclaimed American educator and molecular biologist known for effortlessly merging science with pop culture. Using her magnetic personality, she challenges the status quo to prove that science communicators aren’t all one and the same. 

Raised by a single mother in North Carolina and New York, Dr. Baxter’s curiosity to explore the world around her at a young age developed into a lifelong affinity for science. Today, whether producing viral hip-hop videos such as her “Antibodyody Antibody Song” or her “Wipe it Down” to teach science lessons to the masses or hosting a STEM-themed talk show she created called STEMbassy, she joyfully disrupts traditional cultural perceptions about scientists.

Passionate about diversity in STEM, Dr. Baxter builds community with her participation in the Black in Science Communication group and recognizes the importance of service as a legacy member of the prestigious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which counts Vice President Kamala Harris and civil rights activist Rosa Parks as distinguished members.

As an entrepreneur—and unapologetic fashionista—Dr. Baxter recognized the importance of inclusive fashions for science fans from all walks of life, which led her to found her own online store, Smarty Pants. Her shop features of-the-moment, whimsical STEM-themed apparel and accessories designed by her with a portion of the profits benefiting STEM students.

In addition, Dr. Baxter is a sought after public speaker who maintains a strong voice in science academia as the Director of Diversity Initiatives in the UC Irvine School of Biological Sciences. She has earned numerous awards for her achievements, including the State University of New York’s Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence in honor of her service in educating the public about COVID-19, and recognition on Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. 

For the upcoming 2021/2022 school year, Dr. Baxter will join a 4-person team of celebrities and influencers commissioned by NASA to inspire student participation in the NASA TechRise Student Challenge. The team will create a video that challenges students in grades 6 – 12 to build and test a design based on Dr. Baxter’s hypothesis about what a maraca would sound like in microgravity, during the NASA TechRise Virtual Field Trip in September.