Guess the Character (14)

Guess the Character (14)

Author: Cordula Buse

The character we are looking for was an inspiration for many girls to pursue science in the 1990s. She has an education in both physics and medicine, as well as training in forensic science and pathology. Our character uses her scientific skills to solve mysterious cases involving paranormal activities.

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Dr. Dana Scully is a fictional special agent with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Together with her partner, Fox Mulder, they investigate the “X-Files” in the TV series of the same name, cases that involve paranormal activities and phenomena. Scully holds an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Maryland, USA, and went to medical school at Stanford [1]. Due to her training in forensic science and pathology, she is uniquely qualified to assist in and contextualize the autopsies conducted in many of the team’s cases and provide useful insights.

While her partner is a firm believer in the supernatural and the existence of aliens, Scully at first remains a skeptic. Due to her scientific background, she is meant as the logical counterpart, trying to reasonably explain the unexplainable and keeping her partners’ paranormal ambitions in check. Later in the series, however, she also becomes a “believer”.

As an accomplished and successful female scientist, the character of Scully was an inspiration for many girls. A 2018 survey indicated that the interest of girls in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) increased over the course of the series, a phenomenon known as the “Scully Effect” [2]. Gillian Anderson, the actress who portrayed Scully, explained [3], “We got a lot of letters all the time, and I was told quite frequently by girls who were going into the medical world or the science world or the FBI world or other worlds that I reigned, that they were pursuing those pursuits because of the character of Scully.”


[1] The X-Files Wiki, Dana Scully, (accessed February 3, 2023)

[2] 21st Century Fox, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, The “Scully Effect”: I want to believe … in STEM,, 2018.

[3] Jennifer Vineyard, Nearly Everything The X-Files’ David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Said This Weekend, Vulture, October 14, 2013.



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