Photo Friday: Disney Princesses Grow Up to be Earth Scientists

What did you want to be when you grew up? Well, one artist decided that the beloved Disney princesses wanted to be more than just royalty— they wanted to be earth scientists.

Science communicator and cartoonist JoAnna Wendel re-imagined five of Disney’s most popular princesses as field scientists across the world, forget the pretty dresses and prince charming. It’s not the first time artists have recreated the princesses, whether it’s morphing them into Game of Throne characters, zombie princesses, or even cats. But as Mohi Kumar from AGU’s Eos backstories to Wendel’s drawings suggest, these STEM heroines are curious, resilient, adventurous, and determined: all necessary characteristics of being a scientist. Earther’s Maddie Stone also wrote on Wendel’s art, noting how such images of familiar Disney princesses doing fieldwork with appropriate scientific equipment may seem like a small thing to do but could inspire the next generation of scientists to be more female and diverse.

Today’s Photo Friday showcases these environmentally-conscious Disney princesses: Queen Elsa (Glaciologist), Princess Jasmine (Atmospheric Chemist), Fa Mulan (Paleontologist), Princess Merida (Conservation Ecologist/Park Ranger), and Princess Ariel (Oceanographer). Be sure to check out Wendel’s work. She already has plans for the next round of princess scientists, including Princess Moana as a volcanologist!

With a passion for the cryosphere like GlacierHub, Elsa has dedicated her career to understanding the characteristics of the ice she conjures. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting and cataloging ice cores (Source: JoAnna Wendel/Instagram).


From ice sheets to deserts, Mulan stumbled across an amazing paleontological find working as a paleontologist (Source: JoAnna Wendel/Instagram).


Ariel’s been busy the past few years on land, but recently she’s found her calling back in the ocean, working as an oceonagrapher studying changing ocean conditions and acidification (Source: JoAnna Wendel/Instagram).


All those breathtaking rides on a magic carpet got Jasmine to thinking about questions related to the atmosphere. Now her research as an atmospheric chemist involves understanding the chemistry behind the atmosphere’s composition (Source: JoAnna Wendel/Instagram).


Merida is dedicated to protecting vulnerable microenvironments as a conservation ecologist/park ranger. She spends her days exploring forests, cataloging ecological diversity, and monitoring the health of the ecosystem (Source: JoAnna Wendel/Instagram).