Artistic Changemaker: Rachel Ignotofsky

Illustrating her point

Rachel Ignotofsky, TYL ’11, fell in love with drawing as a child. So, when she landed a job as a greeting card designer with Hallmark during her final year at Temple, it constituted what many would see as the realization of her career hopes. And during the next four years, Ignotofsky found the job was indeed a dream—just not hers.

“It was someone else’s dream job,” she said. “I really wanted to create things with my artwork that talked about subjects that I thought were really important.”


Photo by Lonnie Timmons

A leap of faith, rewarded

In 2015, Ignotofsky quit, taking the leap to work for herself full-time. On the heels of a U.S. Census report showing a gender gap in STEM fields, she illustrated and wrote Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, an art-powered celebration of the accomplishments of oft-overlooked female scientists.

“As I wrote this book, I realized there are a tremendous amount of women who have contributed to science just as much as Einstein and Tesla, but their names aren’t well-known,” she says. “They became invisible.”

By contrast, Ignotofsky wanted to show young girls: “If you can see it, you can be it.”

The book has become a New York Times Best Seller, and Ignotofsky went on to publish Women in Sports and The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth. Her next book, Women in Art, is due out this fall.

“There’s a great thing that happens when you get kids excited about history and science: They kind of feel like they can teach the teacher,” she says. “It’s that self-esteem you can give a kid that I think really helps them make it in this world.” 

—By Angelo Fichera, KLN ’13