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Kids are natural scientists.  Kids love to ask questions, look under rocks, take things apart and (sometimes) try to put them back together again. Unfortunately, starting from a young age, many kids, in particular girls and minorities, start to shy away from science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM subjects. This is in part due to the lack of women and minority role models who look like them in these fields. You can’t be what you can’t see!

I founded CuSTEMized to encourage kids, in particular girls and minorities, in science by providing picture storybooks that depict them in science careers. Thousands of free personalized ebooks and hundreds of free and discounted hard copies of our first personalized book, The Little Book of Big Dreams, have already inspired kids and classrooms around the world!

We are currently working on a new personalized storybook called My Colorful Future that will focus on teaching important applied science concepts as well as showcasing the real women and minority scientists behind it all! Please check out our Kickstarter campaign for more information.

We would greatly appreciate any help in sharing CuSTEMized as a resource for encouraging kids in science and the Kickstarter campaign. If you are an illustrator interested in getting involved, please contact me at

Thanks again for your help and support!

All the best,

cuSTEMized is a non-profit that provides free motivational ebooks to encourage girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). What makes our book special is that each book is personalized using the girl's name and avatar. You can visit our website for more

We are currently looking for an artist to do illustrations for a number of STEM careers to be used in our personalized storybooks. Approximately 300 parents use our website to make personalized ebooks for their kids every month and we receive thousands of page views monthly. We would be more than happy to list you as the illustrator on all our books. We hope that this will be a fun experience and good opportunity for you to advertise as well as apply your skills to a worthy charitable cause.

Please contact if this is something you are interested in! 



Video with better audio haha:


In case anyone is interested in what I sound like in real life, check out the video in cuSTEMized's new Kickstarter campaign:…

For those who don't know, a group of friends and I recently launched cuSTEMized as a not-for-profit initiative to help girls envision themselves in STEM careers. We're currently seeking to raise funds through Kickstarter to implement a website that will allow parents to customize our book __'s Little Book of Big Dreams to have their daughter's name and general appearance.

If you could contribute a dollar, link to the Kickstarter campaign on your FB, ask potentially interested friends or family to donate, or anything, that'd be really great! All donors will be acknowledged on the final website. There are lots of other redeemable prizes too! Check it out!

:star: :star:

Photography is a serious hobby for me.

Outside of photography, I am currently pursuing my PhD at Harvard in bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary subject that combines computer science and biomedical engineering – both considered STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. I am the only girl in my program this year. Unfortunately, the lack of girls in STEM is not limited to my program; boys still largely outnumber girls in nearly all STEM fields, particularly in the United States:

According to the US Department of Commerce, girls (women, females, Homo sapiens with two X chromosomes) remain vastly underrepresented in STEM fields. Despite filling nearly half of all jobs in the US, girls hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. And despite the rising number of girls pursuing college degrees, girls hold a disproportionately low share of STEM degrees. The problem is multifold but studies suggest that it may start as early as grade school: girls are rarely encouraged to pursue STEM subjects or to envision themselves with STEM careers. Indeed, a recent study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that women are more likely to drop out of STEM fields because they lack a "self-concept" of themselves as scientists – they could not picture themselves in STEM!

Recently, I, along with a few friends, launched cuSTEMized, a not-for-profit initiative to help girls envision themselves in STEM and to encourage them to pursue STEM using customized education and outreach.

Our upcoming picture book makes your daughter (or niece, or you, or whoever) the hero of her own story in which she dreams of herself grown up in various STEM careers. A website will allow you to customize the book to have her name and general appearance with the help of avatars. You can then download the book (for free!) as a PDF and print it out yourself or contribute a donation to cover the costs of having the book printed and shipped.

Please support cuSTEMized and keep up with developments on Facebook:

Most importantly, talk to the little girls in your life and encourage them to consider STEM!


Thanks everyone!

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 14, 2013, 4:18 AM
Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone! 

I'm currently in the process of moving to Boston :phew: but Taiwan photos and other photos will be posted soon so stay tuned :D

Stay in touch on Facebook:

:hug: :blowkiss:

Thanks for your support!

Photograph Eye Reflections Tutorial

Journal Entry: Sat May 11, 2013, 7:17 AM

Learn how to photograph eye reflections using this tutorial on…

The tutorial was recently featured on Gizmodo as a part of their Shooting Challenge:…

Try it out :highfive:

Some of my results:
allthatglittersisgold. by JeanFan 
Mescalination by JeanFan  between time and space by JeanFan  rosesrred. by JeanFan 

Other works to inspire you:
Reflection by TheCoffeeLips Eye Reflection by adlforlife  Reflection by iilva 
Eclipse Of My heart by I-Heart-Photo  Roses Are Dead by I-Heart-Photo  As Seconds Fly by I-Heart-Photo 

Thanks for your support!

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 5, 2013, 8:54 AM
Hello hello :wave: Long time no see :P

Sorry for being missing in action recently. I've been working on more "real work" related things including my new site JEFworks

In case anyone here is interested in bioinformatics, feel free to check out the site :D I'm more active on FB than dA so if you're looking to chat and such, stay in touch here:

Thanks for your support!

Repetition is Repetitious

Journal Entry: Sat Dec 8, 2012, 9:16 PM
Repetition is great for practice.
Repetition is great for learning.

Repetition teaches patience.
Repetition teaches devotion.

Repetition is comfortable.
But repetition is repetitious.

Don't people get tired of doing roughly the same things over and over again?
Don't people get tired of seeing roughly the same things over and over again?

Tired of repeating the same techniques.
Tired of repeating the same concepts.

Need to improve.
Need to innovate.

Art is not my job.
Art is my mental exercise.

And I am mentally underfit.
So it's time to get back into shape.

Thanks for your support!

Light Painting with Tutorials

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 30, 2012, 9:06 AM

Painting With Light

Light painting is a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source. It's a fun technique to dry out on a warm dark night :) For more information on light paintings or for tutorials, just Google around; it's a pretty popular and well documented technique. A quick search gives me:… (if you prefer written tutorials) and… (if you prefer video tutorials). A tutorial for light painting with portraiture is also available on my website:…

Some wonderful examples of light painting
Spiral Beach by Draken413o Light Upon Light by firdausmahadi Light the Tires by DerekDD
orb by anja-B by JeanFan Light and Fraternity - arabic by Kaalam
I Have a Super Power by BenHeine Conjure by MichelleRamey Different by BenHeine  
:thumb325148122: hoop test 2 by Kimbell Keltenknoten by derJake
Sanuk Variation by Kaalam light art.22 by Kimbell red glow by Kimbell
:thumb278269438: :thumb333682808: The Wonders of Reading by JeanFan
Day 1: Self-Portrait... by AnnieGitUrGuns In the silence, loudly by Argolith The Source by JeanFan
Try it out for yourself if you haven't already! :blowkiss:

Thanks for your support!

Post-Editing Comparisons

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 17, 2012, 1:05 PM

Before and After Post-Editing Comparisons

From personal experience, I can say that you learn a lot about how to edit your own photos in post-processing just by observing how others edit their photos. Here are some post-editing comparisons for my photos. Hope they're of some help :hug:

:star: And More:… :star:

Thanks for your support!
Back from my road trip. Lots of photos coming soon. Cheers :)

PS: Funny update with the reports I've done of deviants gaming the fair exposure system. dA got back to me on one report. Despite their statement that "swift action will be taken against any deviant who is found to be purposely and/or flagrantly manipulating Fair Exposure. Such action might include a site suspension or ban," in their reply they claim that despite acknowledging that the deviant repeatedly miscategorized deviations, such actions must be "severe enough for intervention" prior to any warning, suspension, or ban. Woo, so we can still game the fair exposure system if our gaming isn't "severe." Yay :la:
dA's fair exposure system has lead to a lot of miscategorization in order to gain a ranking advantage (…). Although dA acknowledges this problem (…),  it has yet to take any action that I know of. Of the many reports I've made, none have been replied to. But I'm still hopeful dA will try to do something. Or at least write another PR stunt-esque journal about how they are going to do something. Making a better dA tomorrow tomorrow right?

Whenever I see:

(In case you're curious, I've attempted to contact the deviant on the piece… with the comment "How is this photography?". The comment has since been hidden and I have been banned from the deviant's page.)

My reaction:
FINALLY :… :excited:

I'm sure most of us have grown out of our middle school aim screen-names (eesh is that thing still around?). I've been hoping to switch usernames for a really long time, even if it meant switching accounts...but now it looks like we won't have to!!! Too bad JFotography was already taken. I guess JeanFan is good too; people won't get confused and call me Rose. Though it does probably mean I'll have to make scientific publications under my husband's last name to try to separate my photography from my real work. Practicality over feminism. Okay, I'm ranting. Too much coffee. Too many exams. Good luck to any one else still taking exams in school.


Anyways, are you planning on changing your username? If so, what was the story of your current username anyway?
I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but it seems like every time I check dA now there's a journal in the footer that's along the lines of "WIN POINTS!" And every time I click them, there's a laundry list of rules and hoops people have to jump through in order to participate such as "watch me", "write a journal about this", fav my sh*t, give me a blowj*b, yada yada yada. Oddly enough, a lot of people seem more than happy to comply.

(What's even more funny is, of the comments I've read, none are negative. Which is in contrast to when I hosted a contest a few weeks ago with more or less no rules and got repeatedly accused of end games and hidden motives. Maybe people just feel better knowing that those giving out points are not really generous but rather are secretly @ssholes. Maybe people feel less suspicious if the hoops are just out there and visible for them to jump through so when there are no hoops they feel compelled to try to find hoops. We'll have to do some statistical testing to see >_> <_<)

So what do you think of these contests? What rules are you willing to comply with to participate? And when do the rules just go too far?
Made an account on 500px:

Let me know if you happen to have an account there too and I can add you :D

You're never too old to venture into somewhere unfamiliar to start something new :)

Winner Announced for Raffle: Win 400 Points

Journal Entry: Sat Apr 21, 2012, 8:38 AM

Winner Announced for Raffle: Win 400 Points

:spotlight-left: Congratulations to shyBUTartistic :spotlight-right:

Winning number is the 234th fav.

Well this was fun while it lasted. I'm out of points for now so there likely won't be another raffle for some time. Hope everyone had some fun. It was nice to see people wishing each other good luck. If it doesn't hurt you and can help someone else even if it's just by making them smile, then why not do it?

A few personal comments from this experience: Never have I seen people get so happy, so excited, and so curious over anything else I've ever offered for free (from tutorials, to PS actions, to stock photos, and more) in the same way they are currently getting for, in this case, a 5 dollar raffle...which all seems strange to me, because you'd think that the tutorials, PS actions, stock photos and so forth were all much more valuable than the opportunity to win 5 bucks or even 5 bucks. What is it about money that turn people into such a frenzy?

Thanks for your support!

Remember: People Have The Power

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 18, 2012, 4:32 PM

Remember: People Have The Power

Thanks to everyone for writing, commenting, and just giving their opinion on Fair Exposure and the category games that resulted from the algorithms. Some may call it complaining; I think it's just active debating to try to find a solution. Can't solve a problem if you don't recognize it as one. We all deserve a pat on the back and some milk and cookies for this one :milk: :cookie: :cookie:

dA's awareness of the game is the first step of many steps that will hopefully be taken towards the right direction:…

(I'm particularly interested in whether stricter enforcement will actually lead to "site suspension" for those "purposely and/or flagrantly manipulating Fair Exposure." Ideally the threat will be sufficient to deter gamers, but I'm sure there'll be a few rebels.)

Through our actions, through our voices, we the people have the power to bring about change. Whether here on dA, or elsewhere in life, sometimes all that's necessary to start the wheels of progress is a conversation. So speak. Because collectively, if our voices are loud enough and our logic is sound, others will listen.

PS: If you haven't entered the raffle yet, there's still time:…

Thanks for your support!

Raffle: Win 400 Points

Journal Entry: Sat Apr 14, 2012, 4:56 PM

Raffle: Win 400 Points

Update: the winner has been announced!…

Points seem to make people happy so why not do a raffle. I have 400 points lying around anyway from my days of llama trading.

Rule: Fav :+fav: this journal entry

Prize: 400 points

Ending: 4/21/12 (one week from now)

On the 21st, I will use a random number generator to randomly select a number x uniformly distributed from 1 to the number of favs the journal has (so every fav has an equal chance of winning). If you are the lucky deviant be the xth fav, then you win the 400 points. Easy as that.

Have fun :D

(this is just a simple raffle to give away some unused points to try to brighten someone's're not forced to jump through hoops or watch me or comment or do anything other than fav this journal for logistics reasons so it's easier to pick a winner...what do you have to lose? if I tacked on more rules like watch me, like me on FB, fav my pieces, etc like I've seen other people do, would people actually be less suspicious and more willing to participate?...seems like we have some hypothesis testing to do here)
(for those who are concerned, lotteries in which points must be donated in order to win a pot of points is not allowed on dA, but raffles are fine)

Thanks for your support!
The categories game refers to the switching or misplacement of deviations into less competitive or algorithm preferred submission categories in order to gain a ranking advantage in dA's popularity algorithm, generally as a means of appearing more frequently on front page and subsequently gaining greater exposure.

The categories game arises from the inherent category biases under dA's "fair exposure" policy. The goal of the policy is to "maximize the display of the most popular deviations in a variety of topics…with Fair Exposure, the community is exposed to a varied cross-section of deviantART. " What this boils down to is that certain categories have inherent ranking advantages and others inherent ranking disadvantages on front page. For more information on dA's fair exposure policy and how it leads to the categories game, consult my last journal on "How to win at deviantART: Exposed:…"

As you may have guessed, some deviants have decoded this underlying ranking categories bias and turn it into a means of using the system to achieve greater exposure (a game if you will). Whether exploiting this loophole in the system to your advantage is right or wrong is not for me to say or judge but for you to think about. But what I offer you instead are simply my results (while statistically insignificant, are nonetheless based on statistics) from analyzing this underlying ranking bias in the Photography section so that you may, if you wish, use this information to your advantage. If we're all informed then we're all on even playing grounds then that's what's fair...right?


These are the categories you can submit to in order to gain a ranking advantage under dA's fair exposure policy based on the statistics collected from gaming. Interestingly, the effects of switching between categories (the jumps in ranking) take place in as little as 5 minutes though sometimes can take as long as half an hour.

The results (for Photography section only):

Non-competitve and algorithm preferred categories (categories that seem to be given a preference or bias in the algorithm; simply switching to these categories will often cause a substantial jump in ranking)
1. Architecture
2. Horror & Macabre
3. Abstract & Surreal

Non-competitve and algorithm neutral categories (categories where it's easier to get ranked 1st in the category simply due to the lack of other deviations competing for the same spot thereby making it easier to appear on front page)
1. Urban & Rural
2. Transportation
3. Still Life
4. Darkroom
5. Conceptual
6. Miscellaneous

Highly competitive but algorithm preferred categories (being even 5th in these categories will often result in a higher ranking than being 1st in categories such as Macro despite otherwise similar statistics)
1. People & Portraits
2. Animal, Plants & Nature


Common strategies I've seen from others:
1. Miscategorizing temporarily into Resources (also highly noncompetitive and algorithm preferred) to gain a ranking edge and then switching out a few hours or days later
2. Miscategorizing temporarily into Artisan Crafts (also highly noncompetitive and algorithm preferred)
3. Miscategorizing temporarily into Customization

Particularly for the photography category:
1. Submitting absolutely everything into Miscellaneous, Digital Darkroom, or Conceptual (the primary strategy for discrete gaming)
2. Using less competitive categories as "stepping stones" to reaching section front pages but then switching to a more correct category once reaching the general front page to avoid drawing negative attention


The good news:
(Most) people won't fav crap. Particularly in less competitive categories, sub-quality snapshots with only a few favs may manage to make it onto front page. During its time on front page, lots of people may view the deviation, but very few (<1%) will actually fav the deviation. This low conversion rate of viewers to fav-ers suggests that although being on front page means reaching a larger audience, if your work isn't "good", then people will realize that and just move along. So at the end of the day, working hard and improving your art is still the most important contributing factor towards gaining exposure and popularity.

The better news:
You don't have to game to take advantage of the system. Just try out a different genre! Do Horror photography. Do Architectural photography. Then submit to that category. Legit! Try something new.

The bad news:
Transparency in gaming is more of a detriment than benefit. A few deviants along with myself have been playing the categories game very transparently, primarily as a means of raising awareness but also of course while collecting statistics. I have also noticed others playing extremely blatantly though never admitting to such gaming. The unfortunate trend seems to be that people are hesitant to accuse others of "wrongdoing" (ie. gaming), but some are more than willing to judge others for the "wrongdoings" they've admitted to committing. So there is really little positive reinforcement for transparency or trying to get people informed. On the contrary, the most positive reinforcement comes from keeping others in the dark. But most just don't care. And perhaps that's the worst news…

Good news? Bad news? You decide:
Gaming works. Consider the analysis below.


A tale of two photos:

Both of flower macros. Both of comparably high quality. One submitted into Macro. The other switched around all categories to gain a ranking advantage.

Roughly 1 hour into the game, our macro photo is at 37 favorites and 101 views for a conversion rate of 0.37, ranking 1st in Macro 8 Hours but only 60th in Photography 8 Hours. Our switch-y photo is currently 1st in Miscellaneous 8 Hours and is slightly behind at 28 favorites and 81 views for a comparable conversion rate of 0.35, yet ranking 30th in Photography 8 Hours.

Our switch-y photo switched to Abstract&Surreal, suddenly jumping from 60th to 25th in Photography 8 Hours.  It is then switched again to Architecture, suddenly jumping from 25th to 6th in Photography 8 Hours where it stayed for the rest of its "24 hour potential front page life span" while our macro photo simply stays in the same category.

18 hours later, our switch-y photo is 1st on the general 24 hour front page with 1,230 favs and 5,511 views for a conversion rate of 0.22. Our macro photo is 70th on the general 24 hour front page with 163 favs and 731 views for a conversion rate of also 0.22.  

163 favs and 731 views is still a lot to be appreciative for. But at the same time, based on the trajectories of both deviations, I'm of the opinion that if our macro photo had been the one to get switched around, it too would've been able to achieve >1000 favs and >5000 views. But it was simply never given that opportunity.


So should you play the categories game? At this point, I really don't know anymore.

On the one hand, there does seem to be something rather devious with gaming a system to your advantage and subsequently presumably to the detriment of others. But on the other hand, when we've put so much time, effort, thought and passion into our artworks, it's disheartening when they are seemingly denied of an opportunity for greater exposure, not because people don't like our artworks, but because we failed to submit them into a more advantageous category. At the same time, there's no denying that people are playing. So if everybody's doing it, why can't we?

So until the system, until dA, changes to prevent this categories game, you can debate and decide for yourself: Will you play the categories game?


Perhaps as with economics and politics, the system is geared so that the rich get richer by exploiting these loopholes while the rest are left in the dark. But if more people know, then more people can lobby and demand for change. However, sadly, in all these settings, most people just don't seem to care. People don't care to notice. Less care to get informed. So if people don't care, then why should dA?

And so the psychopaths continue to exploit the loopholes of the system as well as the apathy of the masses.

50 greats under 50 favs

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 4, 2012, 9:12 AM

50 greats under 50 favs

50 stunning works all with less than 50 favorites

Arcade by rmayani Le theatre by LacrymosaStudio :thumb173545873: Trees In The Snow by AgenttSmith :thumb163259021: 2011-021 by rainris thief of time by look-out-sunshine Automne et brouillard by yuushi01 Dark night of the soul by E-BZ summer time for love. by de-eva 090510 by dini25   Hands up by Bobbwhy :thumb285858705: Wanna macaron ? by tigerelune saltimpalo by FrancoBorsiWildLife Tiger 3 by SweetLhuna --.-- by TheBlackKiTTi so many reasons to thank God by KrisKros2k by firemisha My cherry by Tralalex Elena and Beaux by scollie :thumb189232076: Birth 3 by LisaMeyer . c o m p l e x i t y . by mistandsparkles Light and shadow by jup3nep Reality and imagination by jup3nep Lines lll square format by deylac Stone sculptered by Kounelli1 Wasmi Valley by Ageel Wings IV by astroangel :thumb279061046: Heavenly souvenir by thedaydreaminggirl :thumb207789769: World of magic - painting the sky by KiidfromtheOzz Beans for Breath by blondesRsnart :thumb278335345: Dark as the Night by EmilySoto Angel Rays by rh89 :thumb288306640: Shine Down by RyanHeffron   Cala Ginepro by Mantide 0330 by karman87 Dome of St. Peter's by Andross01 The Robber 2 Stacked by Alliec Owl by V-a-N-i-e Screw In by Qayzas lost by bsoOma   Phoenix by divafrida

be sure to fav these under-appreciated works and
check out these talented artists :gallery:

if you have or know of more under-appreciated works deserving of more attention and exposure, feel free to submit to this forum:…

Thanks for your support!

15 greats under 15 favs

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 30, 2012, 1:32 PM

15 greats under 15 favs

15 amazing works with under 15 favorites :wow:

Tomi by floflagy feathers and ice. by x-purple Explosion by made-in-utopia   porcupine by scollie Gran Canaria Sunset by Mantide Ascalaphus by Misslulu07 Critical thinking. by triciavictoria   Less by Krapivka2007 tiny cowboy by fotosister Jaq by mariae 201 by iuventa    young lady by iuventa 212 by iuventa   The last one by LisaMeyer Mercy the cat by SteppeGrass

Be sure to fav these under-appreciated works and check out these talented artists :heart:

Thanks for your support!