Photo: Ericka McConnell
Throughout the year, parents have been able to count on Jessica Malaty Rivera, a microbiologist and infectious disease epidemiologist, to debunk all the COVID conspiracy theories proliferating on the web. She took on one of the most important jobs on the internet: providing her followers with calm, clear-headed pandemic updates while battling vaccine misinformation. Malaty Rivera, who’s working from home with two young kids underfoot, isn’t just a data-loving mom with an Instagram handle: She’s also the science communication lead at the COVID Tracking Project. Her approach— unbiased facts about our health and the virus—has never been so valued by anxious, overburdened parents looking for answers. Plus, she gets the juggle: She posts her Instagram stories and hosts AMAs about the latest research during her kids’ naps.