Our next 20x20 collaborator is Jessica Malaty-Rivera, an infectious disease epidemiologist and science communicator. She earned her MS in Emerging Infectious Diseases from the Georgetown School of Medicine and has dedicated the last 15 years of her career to research, public health policy, and vaccine advocacy. Her specialty is in translating complex scientific concepts into impactful, judgment-free, and accessible information for a diverse audience. She is currently the Science Communication Lead for The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, a researcher with the COVID-19 Dispersed Volunteer Research Network, and an expert contributor for NBC Bay Area and CNN. Between her day jobs and being a full-time mama to two little kids, she also dedicates several hours a week to promoting science literacy and debunking misinformation on social media.

When I found Jessica via her work with The COVID Tracking project, I knew she’d make a great collaborator. She’s a self-professed “jewelry nerd” and two of her uncles were jewelers, so her love for the industry runs deep! Once we began brainstorming, it was clear we had a shared vision as well. We wanted to create a piece that was meaningful and represented her Egyptian heritage, her background in microbiology, and her love of jewelry. Using a few of my existing styles as a model, Jessica and I went to work. We came up with a versatile necklace made with chunky chain, a unique medallion, and two charms that represent wisdom and transformation. The hexagon-shaped pendant is a nod to the carbon molecule and the winged scarab is a symbol of rebirth and renewal - something we all could use after a year like 2020! Whether you choose to purchase the entire necklace or the medallion alone, 100% of the proceeds will benefit 500 Women Scientists, “a grassroots organization that has created the most impressive network of women scientists committed to promoting inclusivity and equity and women led science”! We hope you wear these pieces as tangible reminders of this unprecedented year and the “new you” that will emerge when this is all over.


What was the idea or inspiration behind this piece?

I love jewelry, especially meaningful jewelry. I wanted to design a piece that represented the many parts of my life, my history, and even my work.


What was your favorite part of the jewelry design process with Zoë?

Zoë was a dream to work with. It was clear from our first brainstorm discussion that our shared style and vision would produce something really special.


Are there any similarities in your approach to designing a piece of jewelry and your approach in science?

Research! My job as a scientist is to research. Creating this piece involved a lot of reading about ancient imagery which has inspired a lot of modern-day science!


Why is this charity that you chose close to your heart?

500 Women Scientists is a wonderful organization committed to promoting inclusivity and equity among women in science. As a woman of color in science, it means a lot to me to support this work.


What's your favorite way to style the piece?

Layered. It's rare that I'm wearing one necklace at a time. And this lariat is absolutely perfect to pair with other necklaces. I'm currently loving it with my Zoë Chicco marquis diamond eye necklace.


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