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GTL

September 29th, 2014

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So…while I was (slacking off) at the Jersey Shore this weekend, some really amazing stuff happened!  (And hey, even this girl knows when it is time to take a break!)

1. The #STEMPrincess2 Project went international – with our first backer OUS – thanks, Soo!

2. The pharmacy podcast on third spaces popped out with John Cowan of Cowan Drugs.  I should have the embed code soon so you can listen to the face made for radio (yours truly) right here…very soon! Thanks to Todd and his crew over at pharmacypodcast.com for me to shine on the radio!

3. The latest article on pharmacy careers from Pharmacy Times came out – with the spotlight on Jim O’Donnell - one of my favorite creative thinkers in pharmacy at Community Health Network!

How might I top all this in October? Not sure.  But I have a few tricks up my sleeve….

So, title of this post is NOT gym-tan-laundry.

It’s Great-Times-Longer?

Good-Pharmacy Times-Louder?

Great-STEM-Leadership?

I give up!

The Best Way to Complain: Create.

September 24th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.40.52 PMFirst off, note to Santa: I think I need to get a T-shirt that warns people that conversations with me may lead to blog posts.   But that aside, (and frankly what initiated this post today) was a friend who shared with me that her daughter has a problem:

she loves superheros.

However, when mom went to search the internet for girl superheroes, she really didn’t dig what she found. Images of women superheroes were sexy. Voluptuous. Uninspiring and lascivious for girls. Needless to say, mom was a little bummed out.

I shared with her that maybe she and her daughter might consider creating their ideal superhero woman or girl together. That way, her daughter can figure out on her own (rather than the ‘help’ of society and the internet) what is truly important in a superhero girl or woman.

This reminds me of my talks with writers too. When I talk to budding writers, I always steal and reapply (with full credit to Toni) Toni Morrison’s awesome quote about books, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That’s how 90% of my books came to fruition. And, a lot of my books came from frustration and complaint over an idea or a book NOT existing.

Two stories, one point: the best way to complain about something wrong in your mind, world, or universe is to create. Just start something. Maybe it’s a superhero. Maybe it’s a STEM Princess (like my project), a book, or a company. Whatever it is–don’t be like 99% of the world and sit back and complain, criticize, whine about it and wait for someone else to fix the problem. Channel that energy into obligation that Y-O-U need to do something about it. Think about it as part of your hint from the universe that perhaps Y-O-U can be the person to change it for the better. Share your revolution with others!

Make it. Start it. Create it. Don’t wait for someone else. Don’t channel the energy into negative. Use it to start something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be great.

The greatness is in the dare to do it anyway…!

D = Database Administration and Dakota

September 23rd, 2014
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Princess Dakota, Database Administrator

We’re at D of our alphabet of STEM Princesses…next up, Dakota.  She’s
into Database Administration.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about this field, but it appears that many women and professionals in this arena studied either computer science or management of information systems, informatics, or any combination thereof in school.

Dakota’s one sheet is below.

While I’m sure there are many women in this field professionally, I would say that this one was a challenge to find some rockstars within.  Maybe they are out there, but I had trouble finding them.  It would be GREAT to see and hear more stories about women rocking big data.

I know big data is a big deal in healthcare – as I’m sure it’s a big deal elsewhere.  Let’s see more women in here rocking it out–OK, dear Universe?

Thanks!

The ABCs of STEM

September 21st, 2014

C is for Chloe: The Computer Software Engineer from Erin Albert

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m on the STEM bandwagon again for the second Kickstarter program to raise enough funds to continue the #STEMPrincess book series until October 24th.  This time, I’m trying something a little different on the “campaign behind the campaign.”

I’m trying to feature each of the 20 princesses in the book with their chosen professions. But, I think it is really important to show girls not only the career options in STEM (there are almost overwhelmingly too many!) but also show them “real” women who have been-there, done-that with a particular STEM career field.  Finally, it’s also important to show where a girl can dream to educate herself about the field with the best college and university programs (even online and offline, in some cases).

It’s been fun to put each of these backgrounds together for this series.  I’m learning a lot myself.  (I didn’t and still don’t know a ton about bioinformatics or astronautical engineering, but I’m slowly getting them!)  And if I can get them, so can a girl who may be the NEXT GENERATION of STEM educated professionals!

Right now on the campaign, I’m up to C.  Through my ignorance, I’ve met many bright women in tech and STEM who have guided me in different directions on who the rockstars are in their respective fields, and even given me some cool history on the areas (for example, thanks to Sonja Fisher for pointing me in the direction of this article).

If I can reach one girl with this slide deck and inspire her to think about a career in some quirky corner of STEM that I never heard about as a kid myself, this campaign has done its job.  Yay!

The NFL, Domestic Violence and STEM

September 21st, 2014

Generally, I enjoy finding how seemingly disparate things fit together.  Today, however, I take little joy in it due to the subject matter I’m about to embark upon.  But, I think it needs to be stated.

I’ll fully disclose that while I have not lived in Indiana my entire life, I was born here and have lived most of my life here.  Indiana also loves to parade around that it is one of the sports capitals of the world.  Although, I’ve never personally subscribed to the love for sports.  At all.  I’ve never been to a Colts game–never stepped foot in their new shiny stadium (even though I’m sure my tax dollars have paid for part of it at some point), and still scratch my head as to why the NFL is a non-profit.

I digress.

Of late, unless you’ve been on Mars, you already know the story with domestic violence and NFL players.  You also know how the NFL has handled (or not handled) its problem with domestic violence.

What I’m about to suggest–how STEM education is tied to all this–may be controversial, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway.  Here goes.

I think the BEST way to prevent women in particular from domestic violence situations is through ensuring that they are financially independent.  The BEST way to ensure financial independence is to then educate women in career areas in demand, and career areas where pay gaps between genders are smallest.  Where is that, you may ask?

STEM.

Now, I tried to find articles and data that would support that women who are more educated are less prone to be victims of domestic violence.  Unfortunately, (at least in other countries outside the U.S.), the opposite appears to be true in many cases–in that women who are more educated know their rights, question authority, and thus can be more prone to violence when they question a patriarchal society.

However, I’ll continue to argue the opposite for women in the U.S.  STEM Education can increase financial independence for women.  I think if women can be educated in STEM, they can also be independent, and not have to depend on any significant other, period.  They also aren’t victims of wide pay gaps in STEM fields just because they’re women (in most cases).  Indiana is ranked 45-46th out of 50 states for pay gap (depending upon which study you read, this one by AAUW says 45th) – which means that women are paid even less on average than the national 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.  In Indiana, that’s 74 cents instead.  I find this unacceptable.  And this is why I’m focusing my time and energy on educating the NEXT generation of girls (and boys) about STEM–so that they can live freely and independent.

So, I guess my message is in particular to the ladies today.  Ladies, I’d like to challenge you to think long and hard about whether or not you should be watching football this Sunday on TV.  Do you really want to get behind this? For that matter, what about the largest NFL sponsors?  Are you supporting them with your hard-earned 74-77 cents for ever dollar a man makes?  Should you be?

I’ll let you decide the answer to these questions.  However, I’m certain you can guess what I won’t be doing this Sunday – or any Sunday for that matter.

 

B is for Bioinformatics

September 19th, 2014

We continue with our STEM and Girls alphabetology today for the #STEMPrincess2 Campaign on Kickstarter!

B = Bioinformatics, and Princess Bella from The Amazing Adventures.  Here’s the scoop on bioinformatics:

May your week end be bioinformatic-tacular!!!!

(Don’t worry.  I’m not ready to quit my day job for a career in puns…)

A is for Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

September 18th, 2014

When I was a kid, I had ZERO clue what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It really wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that I figured it out.

On the other hand, I really didn’t have a book or series of books that could show me my options when I was a young girl, either.

So, I’ve decided that during this #STEMPrincess2 Kickstarter campaign, I want to focus more on each of the 20 princesses, show the world some superstars on EARTH that are women rockstars in each professional STEM area of the 20 princesses, and gear kids up early for what they can dream to be when they grow up.  After all, go big, or go home!

 

Today we begin at the start – with Princess Abigail.  She’s the aerospace/astronautical engineer in our first book.  But – there are some amazing women from Earth that rock this “space” too (get it)?  Also, I’m going to check and see what the top educational programs are in each area of STEM to share with the bigger audience.

Here we go!

 

Are 3D Printing and Maker Spaces Ways to Engage Kids in Engineering?

September 17th, 2014
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3D printed objects

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The “goo” 3D printer

I’ve been on a bit of a quest of late.  A quest to figure out how to make 3D action figures for the #STEMPrincess project.  Every parent out there says I need an action figure or stuffed STEMPrincess to go along with the book series.

So, I was lucky enough to reconnect with a friend yesterday afternoon, Kim Brand, president of 3D Parts Manufacturing, LLC, to hear more about 3D printing – mainly for bringing my #STEMPrincesses to life.  But I got a lot more out of the conversation.

First, I learned about Maker Spaces.  Indy even has one, called Club Cyberia.  They are places with large industrial tools and classes on making things.  I think of them as co-working spaces with tools.  Apparently, there is a resurgance of people who want to make things with their hands, and Maker Spaces are where people can do just that.

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Mid-level 3D printer

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UV Oven for objects from “goo” printer

Between that, and 3D printing, I was excited.

Apparently, Kim is helping get 3D printers into schools, so kids can learn hands on about 3D printing, but more important, like and see how practical things like math and engineering play in the real world through hands on learning with 3D printers.  His shop has a partnership with Junior Achievement now.

Kim argues two ideas, which I thought about overnight, and agree with to some extent. 1. We are forgetting how to make things with our hands, and need to bring back the practical arts to the schools all over the U.S. (Who didn’t take shop class? Apparently a lot of kids today. Sad!) 2. 3D printing is a cool way to help kids see how math, science and engineering play out in the real world.  That is, we all learn these subjects in school, but to have the real-world hands-on application of concepts seems to be missing in our classrooms these days.  We’ve got to get back to hands on experiential education.

I suppose I take this for granted in pharmacy, since we have 4 years of experiential education now for our students.  But I wonder, how many other programs have an experiential component?  Law doesn’t.  Should they?

All I know is that although Kim and I can’t really work together on my 3D action figures project for a couple of reasons, I’m glad I had the chance to catch up with him and learn more about this fascinating world.  That, and challenge your schools to ensure they have opportunities for kids to have hands-on, maker based learning.  We’re doomed without them!

Smarter Cities: How Do We Make Them?

September 16th, 2014

I was asked the other day what cities can or should do in order to attract the educated.  My opinions wound up in this article over at WalletHub, on the smartest cities ranking (who knew Ann Arbor, MI was so smart)?

Anyway, I’m a firm believer in education being a solution to so many problems in the universe.  Most notably, I’m fired up about girls/women and STEM education.  There are not enough women going into STEM careers, as I’ve shared before.  Currently, the U.S. workforce in STEM is only 24% women.  Women are single digits in engineering professions.  When city growth and economic development is so dependent upon a STEM educated workforce, we HAVE to have cities that help make its citizens smarter.

Today, I’m launching my next Kickstarter campaign to continue a book series on educating young girls ages 5-9 about STEM careers, through the #STEMPrincess project.  After the first book’s campaign (for The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM), backers suggested that they wanted to have the power to give books away everywhere, not just in Indiana, so this campaign I set up differently, to give the power to the backers on giving copies of the second book away, instead of me deciding who should get copies.  Press release is below.

I’m happy to help the entire U.S. educate girls and boys about STEM through this potential book series.  I hope that we have enough backers to step up and support this potential book series.  I’m sad that I only had the opportunity to introduce the STEM princesses in book 1–so now I must continue the series to get 20 different STEM career options and princesses in front of girls everywhere in more depth and detail.  If I can just inspire one girl to become a doctor, or an engineer or a theoretical physicist, I’ve done my job with this book series.  I hope you can help–our girls (and boys) desperately need it in order to ensure we continue to have smart cities in the future!

#STEMPrincess2 press release – The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM book 2 from Erin Albert

You asked. I deliver.

September 15th, 2014

The #1 question I’ve had all year:

“Albert – WHEN are you going to write book 2 for the #STEMPrincess project?”

Answer:

Now.

Let’s do this.

#STEMPrincess2 will run until Rocktober 24th.

Do I have some fun surprises planned?  Absolutely.

I can’t NOT do this.  This needs to be done.  When it comes to STEM and girls, we still have a LOT of work to do.

I hope you’ll join me in the effort to help girls get on board with STEM.  After all, our future depends on it.