Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Little Ms. Crate: gift idea for kids

If you read my blog, you know I'm an active supporter of STEM education, especially when it comes to girls. As a girl, it never occurred to me that working in technology was an option for me because I did not see any women role models. I fell into this field that I love in my mid-20s, but I wish I'd found it sooner. So one of my biggest volunteer missions is to be an active volunteer in my community so girls see that they, too could have a career in tech if they so choose.

Today, I want to share a new crate subscription that was launched recently on Kickstarter.

The service, Little Ms. Crate, introduces young girls to a new career in STEM or leadership each month, and spotlights female role models in the featured field. Crates samples are Little Ms. CEO, Little Ms. Digital Animator, Little Ms. Scientist, etc.

I think it's a great idea and I have supported it. If the venture is funded, then Lu will get a Little Miss CEO kit for Christmas. If you'd like to support the venture, here's a link to the Kickstarter page.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Moms as Mentors Building Bridges workshop

It's been a hectic few weeks at work trying to launch 2 marketing websites, complete with new links and assets. But when I read on my local moms' forum that Moms as Mentors was hosting a STEM mom/daughter bonding event, I decided to take the day off and go with Lucinda. I'm so glad we went.

It was a dreary day as we trudged out to Uncle Chris's prized Saab wagon, a loaner while my reliable-but-worn 10 year-old Camry was in the shop, courtesy of Uncle Chris. After a struggle with locks and a fight with the umbrella (who lost), we were on our way to Dedham.

We were the first participants to arrive, and Lucy made me a lovely name tag.

We visited the amazing science room at the Dedham Country Day School and its classroom pets, turtles. We ran into another JPmom Hillary and her daughter, who brought a friend.

We started the session with a big circle. The organizer kicked off the event with a fun activity where she asked questions such as "who has a purple toothbrush?" and if you fit the description, you ran into the middle of the circle. Then the daughters introduced their moms to everyone in the room.

Our main activity was pairing off with our daughter to build roller coasters for marbles using foam tubing, cardboard, masking tape, and some cardboard. The activity progressed in difficulty. The first challenge was to build a roller coaster that included a hill. Then we were to add a loop. Finally, we tried to incorporate both a hill and a loop.

We got right to work and Lucy started brainstorming. She surprised me with how many creative ideas she offered, and how easy it was to work together on this project. I noticed no resistance, only enthusiasm, as we worked through the various obstacles of the activity.

We finished the hill challenge quickly and set about the loop. We had a few failed attempts, wherein I held the tubing and Lucy let the marble go and she would retrieve it from across the room. I think I impressed her by introducing new vocabulary such as minimum viable product, beta, and testing phase.

On about the 5th or 6th run, we got the loop working. We spent the remainder of our time securing the loop with tape, cardboard, and trying to repeat our early success. Lucy was overjoyed when she got the whole thing working!

I was struck by how fun loving yet determined Lucy was throughout the morning. It struck me, as a scholar of Amy Cuddy and her research on power poses, how after each success, Lucy automatically threw her hands over her head, beaming and exclaiming. I use the power pose and a pep talk as part of my interview preparation, and it is very effective.

We had the chance to recreate the victory pose after we finished our third challenge.

Then we had a few minutes to walk around and admire the other teams' work.

For our final, much shorter, activity, we made bracelets for each other. Each bead was intended to signify something we appreciated in our relative.

At the end of the activity, we filled out surveys and a few participants offered observations. I shared that I was impressed by Lucy's patience. She told the group that she thought I was good at angles. and engineering.

We went to lunch afterward and shared the meanings behind the bracelets we'd made for each other. I told her that hers meant she was a true friend, excellent leader, loved the water, was a princess, had true love and kindness in her heart, and was a hard worker. Her bracelet for me had all sorts of holiday symbolism, and told me I was beautiful, kind, and loving, and a leader.

Don't worry if you missed this event! There's another one right around the corner this Saturday 11/14 in Boston.