5 Words to Never Say to a Girl in STEM

5 wordsDon’t be hard on yourself.

Us girls are hard on ourselves. The worst thing you can say to a girl taking classes in STEM  (science, technology, engineering, and math) and who is already worried about her grades is “don’t be hard on yourself”.

She is worried about her GPA, she will be critical of herself, and those 5 words are not helpful.

What is helpful though are these 3 words: Give yourself space.  I hope you tell your daughters these words because it resonated with me as a student.  Those 3 words are liberating.

Give yourself space to make mistakes.

Give yourself space to make a B.

Give yourself space to learn, to take on challenges, to grow.

I tell myself those 3 words everyday even as a mom. When I think, “Am I giving them enough activities? Are they in front of the TV too much? Am I a good mom?” I come back to those 3 words and I give myself some space to learn.

We are all here to learn – we don’t know everything. And today I want you to take away those 3 words and tell it to your daughters and to yourself.

I’m talking to those girls who are making A’s and are worried about making a B or a C. Those girls who have a certain pride that can’t make anything less than an A. I know there are some girls out there like that and moms who have daughters like that.

It’s OK to not make an A.

It’s OK to give yourself space.

We are the hardest on ourselves – we really are, but we don’t need anyone else to tell us that. Today is about those girls going through the tough subjects in school and who are already critical of themselves. Tell them that it’s going to be OK.

Give yourself room to grow.

(I posted a video on You Tube here if you and your STEM daughter want to watch together.)

Categories: lovely conversations, thoughts of a girl engineer Tags: , ,
A Secret Revealed

logo-7Now that school has started do your kids come home cranky and tired?  Do they just want to veg out after a long day?  Or are your kids a ball of energy and looking for a creative outlet?

The last thing some of us want to do or have time for is a science experiment. Really, who has time for science after school?

But as parents we play a significant role in our kid’s scientific curiosity.

Did you know when it comes to science, children form an opinion (either positive or negative) by the age of 7?!

Do you want your kids to still light up when they discover something new? Do you want them to continue being curious about their world?  Do you want your girls to be confident when they sit in their first science class?

I know I do! As mom’s we can positively influence our kids love of science.

In the next few days, I am going to share with you easy ways to keep your daughters  (and you) excited about science despite the craziness of school, homework, and activities.

But first I want to let you in on a secret… 

Over the summer I have been writing a book just for you!  It will help you ignite your daughter’s curiosity and empower her with science.

I am putting the finishing touches on it and will be publishing it on Amazon as an e-book in the next few months! I am so excited to share it with you and can’t wait get your feedback.

It is my hope that this book will be life-changing for you and for your daughters!

P.S.  I highly recommend reading my friend Morgan’s book if you’ve ever wanted to write a book but didn’t know where to start.  Check it out here.

In the meantime, good luck with the kids after school today!  I still have a few Summer Bucket List experiments we need to complete.  I think today may call for baking fossil cookies!  Enjoy!



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What We Learned about Science from the Movies

The first impression is often the last impression. And so it is with science too.  If our earliest experience as a child to science was a bad one, then it will shape us for our entire lives. But if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, then you saw some amazing possibilities of science through the big screen.  As kids, these movies perhaps made us feel like we could change the world, alter the future, and “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

let's go to the movies

So let’s go to the movies shall we?

Back to the Future (1985): “Don’t worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88 mph, the instant the lightning strikes the tower… everything will be fine!” – Doc Brown

I was in elementary school when this movie came out and it made a big impact on me. I had convinced myself that I could build a protype time machine and eventually build it. How amazing would it be to go into the future to correct the outcome of a present mistakes? I was inspired by the wild haired Doc Brown, hover boards, flying cars, and the banana-fueled flux capacitor.

I learned that science, reasoning, and a little luck could open up new possibilities.

Jurassic Park (1993):“Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.” – Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

Who isn’t fascinated with dinosaurs in the base case?  Here we had a movie that brings them back to life and puts them in a theme park!  Just look at the success of the sequel Jurassic World.  This story line just resonates with people. As a kid, didn’t you think maybe it could be possible to extract dinosaur blood from amber and bring a dinosaur back to life? And, let’s be honest, who of us didn’t want to have a cute little velociraptor baby for a pet?!

I learned why we need to evolve beyond the past, even if the past is fascinating, so we can fully live in the present.

Apollo 13 (1995):  “Houston, we have a problem.” – Jim Lovell

Based on a true story, we sat amazed and fascinated at the danger of space travel in the 1970’s and how much precision and science it took to get Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) and crew back to earth.  Then with all the technology of the space program they had to rely on  the moon’s gravity as a ‘slingshot’ to get back home. The movie managed to make physics and calculating the remaining shuttle power a hand sweating experience.

I learned the importance of continuing to explore. Exploring the unknown is what humans are called to do.

Twister (1996): ” I gotta go Julia, we got cows” – Melissa

We were all rooting for Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) to be able to put her measuring device in the direct path of a tornado.  An invention that could predict the path of a tornado and a great story of grit and determination – not to mention a female science heroine!

I learned determination is paramount for science to be successful.

Armageddon (1998): “The human thirst for excellence, knowledge; every step up the ladder of science; every adventurous reach into space; all of our combined modern technologies and imaginations; even the wars that we’ve fought have provided us the tools to wage this terrible battle” – President

How incredibly frightening would that be if an asteroid the size of Texas was headed to earth. But thank goodness for NASA, Ben Affleck, and Bruce Willis to use science, a nuclear bomb, and drilling techniques to save the day.  And who could forget the incredible Aerosmith cover song! This movie gave me hope that if the worst possible came our way – that science, along with amazing heroes, could save us.

I learned that science can save the world.

Did these movies resonate with you to consider, even dream, that science could bring about the impossible? What were your favorite science-themed movies as a kid? 

Categories: thoughts of a girl engineer Tags:
Be who you are.

uniqueInsecurities. We all have them. Growing up, we wonder are we pretty enough, smart enough, wearing the right clothes, making the best grades.

Then after college we go out into the real world with a new found confidence.  We  go to our first real business meeting and the insecurity creeps in again. “Should I ask a question or should I just stay quiet? What if they ask me a question and I won’t know the answer? Did they just assign me a task to do?”

As an engineer in the offshore oil industry, I sometimes found myself being the only female sitting in a room full of men.  “What if they think I’m a fraud posing as an engineer?  What if they ask me a question that I should know the answer to and I don’t?” Great, keeping piling on the insecurities to the list.

Then, as if the universe wanted to tell me a message, I found this quote and it became my mantra that I would remind myself daily and write in the margins of my notebooks:

Be who you are and say what you think

Because those who matter don’t mind

And those who mind don’t matter.

– Dr. Seuss

That quote served me well to quiet the insecurities while in industry – then I became a mom and the insecurities changed shape once again.

Am I being the best mom to my daughter? Am I doing enough tummy time? Should she already be walking? Does she have enough friends?  Should I work full-time or stay at home? Will she be proud of me? Does she want to grow up and be like me? Do I even want her to grow up to be like me?!

Now as she grows up, I certainly don’t want her to have those insecurities like me. I want her to be confident and happy and to speak her mind.  I want her to laugh and not take herself too seriously. I want her to be curious, to explore the world, and I want to lead her there.

So I say my Dr. Seuss mantra and we try experiments together and ask questions about how the world works. And of course I don’t know all the answers, the experiments don’t always work, my voice starts to crack a little and then I remember….

Be who you are… so I laugh and tell her I don’t know all the answers but we’ll find out together.

I hope she remembers this quote and uses it throughout life because life won’t always work out the way she’ll plan it to be but she should always stay true to herself… my yellow flower among all the other red ones. And I want her to remember her family and special friends will always be the ones that matter in life and we’ll laugh with her through her ups and downs while she navigates her own path to figuring out the world.

Categories: thoughts of a girl engineer Tags: ,