Page 1:This page contains 10 panels.
Panel 1:Dr. Mona Minkara is wearing a white lab coat, black pants, brown shoes, and a brown hijab. She is standing next to a computer setup. There are two monitors, and a white desktop to the right of the monitors. Connected to the desktop are a grey keyboard and mouse. The left monitor shows a ball and stick model of pentadecanoic acid, the right monitor shows a rendering of a simulation of a slab pentadecanoic acid in water. Additionally on the right side of the panel there are two window panes covered in snow, with the University of Minnesota logo beneath it. Dr. Mona Minkara is saying “Hi! I’m Mona Minkara and I’m a computational chemist who does my own research at the University of Minnesota. I love it here! I’m used to the cold because I grew up in Massachusetts, so it’s a bit like home.”
Panel 2:Mona Minkara’s face is shown with her wearing sun glasses and smiling. A rendering of helicobacter pylori urease and a carbon nano tube. Mona is saying “I model things using my trusty computer! Things like pentadecanoic acid and surfactant layers… its kind of like taking the real world and using equations to put it into a computer. Pretty cool, right?”
Panel 3:A child version of Mona wearing a green t-shirt is shown sitting at a desk day dreaming of the magic school bus from the “The Magic School Bus” cartoon series. The magic school bus has airplane wings on it’s sides and jet engines in the back currently. In the bottom right corner a gray box is shown with the words “remedial classes”. The text bubble at the top of the panel states: “When I saw “The Magic School Bus” for the first time as a kid I knew I wanted to become a scientist. I did my own experiments, from trying to freeze carbon dioxide to pretending to be Sherlock Holmes.”
Panel 4:A child version of Mona wearing a blue t-shirt is excitedly exclaiming “I am ready for ANYTHING”. Her exclamation is in red text instead of the usual black. She is smiling and is holding her right hand up. The text of this panel is “I entered a new school just outside of Boston when I was in second grade. I was so excited, that when the teacher asked me whether or not I was ready, I said…” child Mona’s exclamation “I am ready for ANYTHING” is directly below this text and is to be read with it.
Panel 5:Child Mona, wearing a green shirt, is shown sitting at a desk with a frown as she looks at an adult handing her a white cane. The adult is only shown from the waist down and is wearing a red mini skirt with red shoes. The text states: “Soon after, I was diagnosed with macular degeneration and cone rod dystrophy. I was given a cane.”
Panel 6:A child version of Mona is shown in a pink t-shirt, brown pants, black shoes, and glasses with black frames at the front of a class room. She is holding chalk as she writes on the green chalk board at the front of the class room. She is currently writing the number six, which is the first number of a mathematical statement she is writing on the board. Above her current writing in ascending order are the statements “6 X 6 = 36” and “6 X 5 = 30”. These statements are on the right side of the board. On the left side of the board are the statements, in descending order, “5 X 5 = 25”, “5 X 6 = 30”, and “5 X 7 = 3”. It can be assumed that the last statement actually says “5 X 7 = 35”, but Mona’s head is blocking the view of the 5 in 35. On the bottom of the panel are three desks with open books on them. There are four objects in the air with speed lines that indicate they are traveling from the direction of the desks and towards child Mona. The objects from left to right are a balled up piece of paper, a banana peel, a wooden pencil, and a banana. The text of the panel states: “I was bullied because of my glasses, and the way I had to stand so close to the board”.
Panel 7:There are four people in this panel. Three of them are adults who are only shown from the waist down, are wearing short skirts and red shoes. The fourth is child Mona. The left most person is an adult with a pink skirt with red details. They have a thought bubble that states: “Poor girl, she is blind”. The second person is an adult with a skirt with yellow on the top and red on the bottom. They have a speech bubble that states: “You are Blind! You will Fail!”. The third person is child Mona is shown from the back. We only see her head and her right arm which is point at the fourth person. Mona has a thought bubble which states: “I love her” and is referencing the fourth person. The fourth person person has a skirt has a white skirt with pink details. They have a thought bubble that states: “She loves science! She will do well.” The text of the panel states: “Some teachers pitied me; others believed in me, regardless of the differences between me and my peers. Those teachers were the ones who inspired me, and who pushed me to take classes beyond the lower levels I was placed in because of my lack of sight.
Panel 8:There is a white piece of paper in the center with a purple gradient background. The gradient starts as dark purple in the top left and fades to white towards the bottom right corner. The paper states: “Report Card” at the top. There are three subjects on the report card with grades assigned; Math is A-, Reading is B, and Science is A++.
Panel 9:An open metal tool box is in the center. It has a red top, black rim, grey inners, and a blue bottom. The blue bottom has the words “TOOL BOX” written on the front. The text states: “… and I got amazing grades in my science classes! That was when I realized I was able to do more; that is when I started to expand my toolbox.”
Panel 10:This panel is thin and stretches across the bottom. It states: “To be Continued…”
Page 2:This page contains 7 panels.
Panel 1:This panel is as wide as the comic page. The background is fading from white to blue to purple from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. It shows a child version of Mona with a red shirt, white pants, and brown shoes on the left side. She is holding a blue magnifying glass in front of her right eye with her right hand. There are a a long set of blue shoe prints leading away and to the right side of the pane. They make a loop before reaching the side. Child Mona is stating “This is what Sherlock Holmes would do!!!”
Panel 2:Mona’s head is shown from the side in the bottom left corner. She is wearing a blue hijab. She is in what looks like a building since there is a gray floor, a green wall on the left, and a red wall on the right. The green wall has the Wellesley college logo on it to imply that Mona is currently at Wellesley college. The red wall, which Mona is facing, has a gold sign with black text that reads “Disability Resource Center”. The text bubble on top of the panel reads. “In high school, my confidence in taking classes grew, and soon I went off to college! I quickly found out I would need to fight for accomodation.” Mona is saying “I need a reader NOT a tutor!!!!!”
Panel 3:Mona is shown facing us in a black graduation gown with a blue accent around the neck. She is also wearing a black hijab, and a blue graduation cap. In her right hand is a white scroll with a red ribbon (assumed to be a diploma) and in her left hand is her tool box from the last panel of the last page. On the left side of the panel (Mona’s right) is a white wall with the Wellesley college logo on it. On the right side of the panel is another white wall with the University of Florida logo. The text bubble states: “I graduated Wellesley soon after…and made my way to the University of Florida. But not after I gave the commencement speech for my graduating class!”. Mona is saying “Goodbey Wellesley…”
Panel 4:Mona is shown in the center of a classroom sitting on a brown desk. She is wearing a brown hijab, a pink blouse, and red pants. Next to the desk is the tool box from previous panels, but it is now filled with various objects (which are too tiny to accurately determine what they are). The floor is gray and the walls are purple. On the right wall is a green chalk board and on the left is a projector screen (with nothing currently on it). Standing in front of the projector screen is a person. The top of their head is covered by the text bubble, but they are wearing a blue button up shirt, brown pants, and white shoes. The text bubble at the top of the panel states: “Here I learned a LOT about what it was like to be a teacher when I was asked to be a T.A. for a chemistry class. I had to use the tools I had in my “Toolbox” to be successful.” Mona has two text bubbles, the one on the left states: “P V = pi R T”, and the right states: “Write that on the board, please!”. The final text bubble on the bottom of the panel states: “This is when I discovered my passion for teaching.”
Panel 5:The panel contains two large text bubbles, one on the top and one on the bottom. In between the text bubbles is a rendering of helicobacter pylori urease. The top text bubble states: “At this point in my career, a lot of professors and even some of my students were very skeptical of my achievements. Sort of like the teachers I had when I was younger, but I was able to prove I was capable.” The bottom text bubble states: “I earned my doctorate from the University of Florida after doing my research on helicobacter pylori urease. An advisor at this time saw that I could think outside the box with my unique perspective!”.
Panel 6:The background of this panel is a gradient of red to white from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. On the bottom left of the panel is a desk with a large grey computer monitor. On the screen of the monitor is a rendering of helicobacter pylori urease. In front of the monitor is a keyboard which is being used by a person with long blonde hair and a grey polo shirt with a red collar and red writing (unknown) on the left breast. Next to this person is Mona wearing a brown hijab, black sunglasses, and a red shirt. Mona has a thought bubble with an image of a plot in it. The plot has three peaks, but no information on the axes. Above Mona and the person, but below the text bubble is a plot. This plot has three lines. They have many peaks, with the highest peaks on the left and right sides. The red line is the most visible line, with the peaks of the blue being visible on the left and right sides. The green only has peaks visible on the left side of the plot. The information on the plot is too small to be read. The text bubble of the panel states: “I use what I learned back then, and apply it to my research. For example, sighted people can watch movies on their screens, but I look with math, sometimes I pick up on things people with sight miss.
Panel 7:The tool box from previous panels is shown again, but it is again filled with objects like the last time it was seen. The objects are large enough to be identified. On the left is a black object with a white screen that states “IPHONE”, next to it is a black circle with a white apple in front of a pink background. The circle has a brown wrist strap. Next to that is a black square with a green apple on the bottom. On the object is a white screen with black braille. Hanging over the right edge is a pair of blue head phones. There are three circular text bubbles on the left side of the panel. Some of the text bubbles escape the boundaries of the panel slightly. They state: “Even now my toolbox continues to expand… Right now I’m trying to learn braille!… I hope that I can continue to build my toolbox for the rest of my life!”
Written by: Tanner Lambson
Illustrated by: Sumyuktha Vijay Anand