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Posts Tagged ‘Kickstarter campaign #STEMPrincess’

Studio (i) Interview: The #STEMPrincess Project Goes Across Indiana

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Really grateful to my friends over at Inside Indiana Business, who not only allowed us to discuss the plight of girls, STEM and Indiana in digital print, but now, VIDEO!  If the video link doesn’t take you directly to the #STEMPrincess video on Studio (i) – just look for the orange title of the book “The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM.”

If the stats don’t disturb you after watching this video, I don’t know what will.  We should not rest until we’ve done what we can to get this book into the hands of girls across the state to get them fired up about STEM.  Please consider contributing to the project, and regardless, support girls and boys EVERYWHERE who are interested in learning more about STEM – encourage them wherever you go, and whatever you do.

Princess, Redefined: A Manifesto

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

DakotaWhen I was little, and even to this day, I’m a sucker for a great princess story.  Who doesn’t love to watch a girl walk through a challenge and come out on the other end “happily ever after?”

But, when you first hear the word “princess,” what is the first word that pops into your head?  Is it pink…tulle…frilly…waiting to be saved…helpless…spoiled…wearing a crown…or something else?  When I posted this question on the Faceplace recently, I was blown away by all of our baggage (my own included) when it comes to the word.

The primary objective of my new book, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses of Planet STEM is to introduce girls ages 5-9 to STEM careers—everything from computer programming to physics and many STEM careers in between.  However, I have a secondary objective in this book as well:

I want to redefine what it means to be a princess.

There have been other attempts to redefine what it means to be a princess.  Ironically, Disney themselves created this video, which I think moves more toward what it really SHOULD mean to be a princess.  Did they go far enough?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes, being kind and nice isn’t enough – princesses sometimes have to make unpopular decisions because they are the right things to do. Princesses need to speak up and be heard, too.  Consider the film Brave–as an example of princesses moving toward a new definition—the film took several years to finally see the silver screen, and there were even efforts after the film to make Merdia “prettier.”

I’m not quite sure we’re there yet with the best definition of a princess.

However, since the word itself has so many connotations and baggage attached to it (positive, negative, and somewhere in between), I thought it was time to write a manifesto on what a princess SHOULD or COULD be, not necessarily what everyone may conjure up on the idea of the word.  After all, the saying goes, “Own it. Or it owns you.” right?  So, why not try and own it!

Here goes.

Princess, Redefined: A Manifesto

1.  Being a princess isn’t about a look, a dress, a color, a crown, tiara, or a prince.  Being a princess instead is a state of mind.  Each is rare, glorious, and one-of-a-kind.

2.  A princess never seeks perfection, because she realizes there is no perfection.  Instead, she seeks excellence—in herself, and helps others to find their own inner excellence.

3.  A princess is pleasantly persistent, fierce, and 100% authentic, even if her authenticity isn’t popular or mainstream.  She listens to her gut.

4.  A princess zealously and passionately advocates for herself and others, especially when others cannot advocate for themselves.

5.  A princess welcomes challenges as opportunities to learn and shares knowledge with others, even when she is trying something for the first time, and even when she is scared.

6.  A princess isn’t afraid of failure.  Instead, she seeks out failure as an opportunity to learn and become a better person.  She believes that nothing is really a failure anyway, if she tried her hardest to make something happen and learned along the way.

7.  A princess flexibly collaborates, experiments with and embraces change, and can also work independently.

8.  A princess is adventurous, curious, creative, resourceful, and intrinsically motivated to make the world a better place.

9.  A princess is vulnerable, but she is not weak.  Admitting, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” does not make her weak. It makes her strong.  It makes her even stronger when she DOES find out and follows up.

10. A princess seeks out different points of view, people who inspire, and diversity of opinion and debate in order to create positive change in the world.

11.  A princess realizes that no one is coming to rescue her.  She must save herself.

 

What do you think?

Caroline Sacks, the Derailed #STEM Princess

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

When I received my notice from the public library that my copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath was waiting for me, I immediately dropped everything and ran to get my hold.  Included in that pickup was the fear that my own work was going to come to a screeching halt, because I’d have to immediately start his book.  His books I devour – like nonfictional carb-free candy.

Anyway, as I dug in, I’m not going to lie.  The first 40 pages were brutal to get through, mainly because he discussed two of my least favorite subjects on the planet:

1. war and
2. sports.

Bleh. However, when we reached the education and classroom size section on page 40, I started to fully check in.  The bit on impressionists was great too, considering I just saw a ton of that artwork last weekend at the Barnes in Philadelphia – better.

Where I completely engaged was the section on Caroline Sacks*.  Gladwell opens up by stating that “more than half of all American students who start out in science, technology, and math programs…drop out after their first or second year.”  (page 81) Unfortunately, Caroline was one of these victims.  Organic chemistry did it to her.

I can relate.  Organic was the ‘weed out’ class in my college, and it lived up to its reputation.  I questioned whether or not I should be a pharmacist during and after taking that class.  But–I survived. Barely.  I’ve even complained here at this very blog that Organic has created more lawyers in this country than we’d all care to admit (and Mr. Gladwell, I said it first in a public venue).

I’m not going to give away Gladwell’s theories as to why Caroline didn’t make the STEM cut, that’s for you to use your own library card on to discover.  But what I do want to emphasize here – as you all know I have a one-track mind with my #STEMPrincess project this Rocktober, is this: even if girls are in love with science, or any STEM discipline when they are young, the odds are still against them.  Even if they make it all the way to college.  Even if they make it all the way to the Ivy league, like Caroline did.

Read Gladwell’s book.  If you have a girl in your life who loves STEM, whether she is 5, 15, 25 or 55–keep on encouraging her to stay on the STEM track. Even if it’s hard.  Even if she’s frustrated.  Even if it sucks for her.  Because eventually, she’ll have more autonomy, better pay, and she can help our future through any STEM pathway she chooses.  She can also mentor the next generation of girls interested in STEM, so even more of us girls can infiltrate and equalize the STEM professions.

(Oh, and Mr. Gladwell, if you’re reading this blog – please consider supporting my Kickstarter project on girls and STEM…thanks! (Can’t blame a girl for tryin’!))

*That’s apparently not her real name.

Here it is…ready or not!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

 

Princess Chloe, Planet STEM

Princess Chloe, Planet STEM

Well, here’s my Rocktobular project, peeps!  You’re getting it a bit early.

It’s all about girls and STEM in Indiana.  If you’ve read the stats – you already know that 1. girls are way behind in Indiana…and 2. girls are actually decreasing their interest in 2 of the biggest growth areas of STEM now – a. computer science and b. engineering.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t stand back and watch this happen to my sisters, the state of Indiana, and the country of the United States of America.

I’m writing this children’s book as you already know, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM – and paying for it out of my own business coffers to help girls and their parents engage in STEM careers…but, I’m running this Kickstarter campaign to get enough copies of this book into ALL of the public libraries in the state, so that little girls–no matter their station, family, or lives, may have access to and be inspired by this book.

The amazing Pam Fraizer of Fraizer Designs is already on board to help me create the amazing 20 princesses in the book (the picture in the Kickstarter video is Chloe and her fraternal twin sister, Dakota).  There’s more on what they do in the Kickstarter video.

I hope you can help.  I’m sharing this with you before I post and spread it to the masses – as my fab 13 always has my back.  I appreciate your support.  BETTER YET–the future female engineers, computer scientists, and STEM rockstars of the state of Indiana thank you for your participation and inspiring them to make. This. Earth. Better for all of us!!!!