GoldieBlox, the company devoted to encourage more females to develop interest in STEM, has had its controversies. But I think they’ve done an excellent job with their latest PSA, a video that parodies the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” campaign. The ad creatively shows the use of its toys to highlight the entertainment value of engineering and design. However, it also sprinkles in some sobering facts about the relatively low participation of our gender in engineering careers. I like that GoldieBlox offers explanations, resources, and links about each of these facts on its site.
In the fortuitous way that things seem to often happen in my life, I spent a fabulous Saturday morning with my daughter at a free event designed to spark girls’ interest in all things STEM related, then 24 hours later stumbled across a “Women Role Models” video on We the Geeks that reinforced all of my strong feelings about this topic.
We the Geeks is a series of Google Hangouts sponsored by the White House. The purpose is “to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation here in the United States. ”
In the latest episode, “Women Role Models,” several female guests are interviewed (you can see the guest list below), and give their insight on how to encourage more girls to pursue scientific careers. Many of the guests mention how influential their teachers and teachers were in stimulating their interest in science. What I heard repeated several times, though, was how important the excitement of the adult mentors can be. One guest said, “If you have an excited teacher, you’re going to be excited about it.” Another guest advised that parents should “learn with the kids… stay excited with them.” The latter point is key because, as she pointed out, if parents show that they are intimidated by science and math, that “trickles down” to the children.
Some of the other past episodes of We the Geeks have included: “Celebrating Black History Month,” “Student Startups,” and “Don’t Be Bored, Make Something.” I haven’t watched any of the other videos, yet, but they all look pretty intriguing.