3 Essentials to Turn Girls Onto STEM

science

The benefits of early exposure to foreign languages, music, travel, and sports on a child’s developing brain are well studied. The early years become the architecture of future learning. The same holds true of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM exposure at an early age becomes an integral part of the intellectual scaffolding upon which other disciplines and interests thrive.

But what if the girls in your life—your daughters, nieces, even neighbors—are past those early, formidable years? What if they wear headphones instead of footie pajamas and are more likely to crack a Geometry book than Dr. Seuss? Brain architecture in late-blooming STEM Gems is no less impressive. All women, regardless of age, are capable of erecting skyscrapers of the mind.

Early is good. Now is even better.

 

1: Talking STEM

 

STEM is all around us. STEM is in the car that takes your daughter to soccer practice, in the pink hair dye your niece uses to assert her independence, and in the street angles where your neighbor girl does trick skateboarding. Having adults around who point out the greater STEM picture in everyday life can leave a tremendous impact on a child’s STEM perspective. And you don’t have to be a STEM-oriented person to help your daughter or niece or neighbor recognize the STEM possibilities in the world around her.

Raising four children, my mom always looked for the best deal. She was a walking calculator. Mentally calculating percentage-off prices during holiday shopping and gratuity when dining out became a fun ritual she passed on to my siblings and me. When a delivery came inside a cardboard box, we made a game of the volume and dimensions, creating units out of everything from foam peanuts to stuffed animals. We figured out how many boxes we needed to construct the cities in our minds.

My dad was a firm believer that girls should work with tools and throw balls, not just play with dolls. My sisters and I were often outside with my brother, helping dad fix his car. We passed him tools and laid on the ground beside him, looking at the car’s undercarriage to understand what he was doing. After, we tossed baseballs and dribbled basketballs in the backyard. Without us knowing, my dad was teaching us the fundamentals of physics. After these experiences, learning about force and acceleration in high school was intuitive.

My parents didn’t simply sit us down one day to teach us about how to be an engineer. Through their actions and words, they intentionally demonstrated the fundamentals of STEM all around us. This foundation helped us to find our way into STEM careers.

Talking STEM means deconstructing life, one small moment, one small experience at a time. Every piece of technology, every tool, every food, every event, has a basis in STEM. Pick the moments and experiences that speak to your daughter, neighbor, or niece. Help her to realize that someone in a STEM field had a hand in making those ideas a reality.

 

2: Seeing Women in STEM

 

Not every girl is fortunate enough to build cardboard cityscapes and share a nightly dinner table with a STEM Gem. It’s important to remember, however, that STEM Gem role models are closer than you might think. STEM Gems are pediatricians, science and math teachers, and web designers for your small business. STEM Gems can also be found in books, magazines, online, and at local events.

Media can be an amazing source of STEM inspiration, but it can also send young women mixed messages. Overwhelmingly in television and movies, STEM roles are portrayed by men. The few women who fill STEM roles in the media are often eccentric, goth, socially awkward, or just stereotypically nerdy. While some girls can relate, the majority of girls cannot picture themselves cast in that type of role in their lives. The media has only just begun to embrace women of all shapes and sizes and colors in science, tech, engineering and math roles. Pay attention to these STEM messages and guide the young women in your life into meaningful conversations about the perception of STEM and how perceptions might influence her and her peers.

Seeing women in STEM roles is critical to combatting the inevitable disparaging remarks that girls who show an interest in STEM sometimes face. If girls have an established mindset from a trusted source that women can excel in STEM fields, they will be better equipped to respond to naysayers who tell them they’re not good enough or that girls can’t succeed in STEM fields.

 

3: Exposure to STEM

 

When I applied to MIT to pursue a chemical engineering degree, I never dreamed so many girls had the mentality that STEM was a boys-only endeavor. Beyond the tremendous role models I had in my childhood, I participated in countless programs that exposed me to STEM. By the time I reached college, my rightful place in STEM was so ingrained, no one could crush my determination.

Participating in STEM programs geared toward girls unleashes something powerful in young women. Being part of a room full of like-minded individuals, engaged in a unifying project or experience, energizes. Once girls are surrounded by peers who are excited about robotics or creating software or studying animal species so that we may better preserve them, our daughters and nieces and neighbor girls find their tribe—a group of individuals who share common passions.

Many universities, corporations and non-profit organizations are trying to remedy the lack of a solid STEM pipeline for girls and other underrepresented populations by offering programs and initiatives, both in summer and year-round, often fully or partially funded to the participant. I highly encourage participation in these local STEM opportunities. Not only does the content open up the STEM world to girls, but it also fosters discussion about STEM and models women in STEM roles.

Talking STEM, seeing STEM, and exposure to STEM are the most consistent themes in the back stories of the 44 STEM Gems highlighted in STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too. These three factors are doorways to the enriching world of a STEM career. Above all, approaching science, technology, engineering and math with intentionality is the best way to ensure future generations of women are well-represented in STEM fields.

 

ABOUT STEM GEMS:

STEM Gems: How 44 Women Shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, And How You Can Too is designed to inspire possibilities in girls and young women of all ages. Profiles of forty-four successful women in each of the four STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—highlight vastly different paths, but three factors consistently made an impact on their willingness to consider a STEM career.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Women 2.0.

 

 


Women 2.0 is building a future where gender is no longer a factor. Founded in April 2006, it’s now the leading media brand for women in tech. The for-profit, for-good company takes an action-oriented approach that directly addresses the pipeline from all sides: hiring, founding, investing, and leading.

These Are the Apps That Can Save You Big Money

apps

Shopkick

 

For many of us, shopping in our favorite stores is more or less a fun game. Shopkick truly turns it into one. Available for iPhone or Android devices, the free app helps you find out the latest deals at popular stores and even alerts you to the latest trends. Then Shopkick takes the fun to the next level, by rewarding you “kicks” for performing certain activities. Earn kicks for walking into stores, scanning items, buying select items or scanning receipts. Once you earn enough kicks, you can redeem them for gift cards at places like Starbucks, Target, and many other great stores.

 

SnipSnap

 

If you are a coupon warrior, then SnipSnap is the app for you. SnipSnap boasts that it has “the biggest database of printable coupons on the planet”, making it a great app for you to find coupons for all the things you are planning to buy. The app also allows you to turn a printed coupon into a digital one instantly, simply by taking a photo of it. It will send push alerts when a new deal arises or your saved coupons are about to expire, and its community of users will also alert you to which deals are good and which ones you should pass on. SnipSnap is available for iPhones or Android devices.

 

Digit

 

Digit is an app whose sole purpose is simply to save you money, a little bit at a time. After you link your credit card to the app, Digit spends time monitoring your spending habits. Once it gains an understanding of how you spend money, it starts looking each day to determine where there is a little extra money for you to set aside. Digit then sends that money to a FDIC insured account. The app will send push alerts to let you know when it does so and send reports on how much money you are saving, and you can transfer the money back into your main account anytime simply by sending a text. Available for Apple or Android devices, this is a great app for people that want to save more money but never seem to find the time to do so.

 

ParkMe

 

If you live in a big city or commute to one, than ParkMe is a must-have app. ParkMe can help you find the cheapest and closest parking area for wherever you are going; it will even allow you to comparison shop to find the absolute best parking place for the price. ParkMe’s database will also let you know if the parking lot in question has certain amenities, like charging stations for electric cars. And ParkMe’s onboard pay system allows you to pay for parking digitally as well, streamlining the entire process for you and making it hassle-free. ParkMe is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones.

 

Happy Hour Finder

 

If you enjoy going out for a drink every now and then, then Happy Hour Finder is an app that can help you save money while you are bar hopping. The app will map out the distances of bars with drink specials that are near you; it will even list the type and price of drink specials available and provides maps so you can navigate your way to them. Happy Hour Finder is free and available for iPhone and Android devices.

 

 


Breaking Into Startups: From Prison to Tech

tech

During the decade he spent in prison, Divine was known as a drug dealer. Today, Divine is known as a tech founder.

Divine struggled with numerous failures, chief among them recidivism; he spent time in and out of prison, being released only to find his way back. Breaking this cycle is a Herculean task, yet not only did Divine break it, he redefined it, turning the hardships he went through in prison into life lessons he’s applied toward beating the hardships of founding a company.

Prison became his university. Time became his key resource. Books, magazines, and podcasts his teachers and mentors; and his network. During his last sentence, a chance reading of Ben Horowitz’s blog would serve as a turning point. Meeting each other in person would take place years later, but once they met, Divine was inspired. That inspiration led Divine to reassess his life’s focus. He didn’t want to go back to selling drugs and while he liked rap he didn’t want to make a career out of it.

For Divine, the inspiration to do something new didn’t fade. It persisted, and while most people go for quick wins, Divine wanted something else: he wanted to continue to learn. With Ben and Felicia Horowitz as his mentors, Divine decided to found a company that would enable him to pursue his passion for teaching financial literacy.

Since lack of money always played a big role in his life, he knew that teaching financial literacy on a wide scale would help other people avoid the mistakes he had made.

Listen to Divine’s full interview with show notes on the Breaking Into Startups website in the podcast link below.

#24: Divine – The journey from going in and out of prison to Breaking Into Tech

 

 


Jeanette Lewis

Jeanette Lewis is a graduate of Smith College and University of Pennsylvania. She is a Communications/Public Relations professional living in the Bay Area. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

 

 

Breaking Into Startups: From Prison to Tech

tech

During the decade he spent in prison, Divine was known as a drug dealer. Today, Divine is known as a tech founder.

Divine struggled with numerous failures, chief among them recidivism; he spent time in and out of prison, being released only to find his way back. Breaking this cycle is a Herculean task, yet not only did Divine break it, he redefined it, turning the hardships he went through in prison into life lessons he’s applied toward beating the hardships of founding a company.

Prison became his university. Time became his key resource. Books, magazines, and podcasts his teachers and mentors; and his network. During his last sentence, a chance reading of Ben Horowitz’s blog would serve as a turning point. Meeting each other in person would take place years later, but once they met, Divine was inspired. That inspiration led Divine to reassess his life’s focus. He didn’t want to go back to selling drugs and while he liked rap he didn’t want to make a career out of it.

For Divine, the inspiration to do something new didn’t fade. It persisted, and while most people go for quick wins, Divine wanted something else: he wanted to continue to learn. With Ben and Felicia Horowitz as his mentors, Divine decided to found a company that would enable him to pursue his passion for teaching financial literacy.

Since lack of money always played a big role in his life, he knew that teaching financial literacy on a wide scale would help other people avoid the mistakes he had made.

Listen to Divine’s full interview with show notes on the Breaking Into Startups website in the podcast link below.

#24: Divine – The journey from going in and out of prison to Breaking Into Tech

 

 


Jeanette Lewis

Jeanette Lewis is a graduate of Smith College and University of Pennsylvania. She is a Communications/Public Relations professional living in the Bay Area. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

 

 

How to Watch Black Enterprise’s New Tech Podcast on Any Device

podcast

BE The Code is a new podcast on all things tech, hosted by Sequoia Blodgett, Black Enterprise’s tech editor in Silicon Valley. The podcast explores matters related to technology that are important to African Americans and those within the African diaspora. The podcast lets the audience in on winning strategies and game-changing advice from Silicon Valley’s top innovators, celebrities, and rising stars.

Blodgett is a tech entrepreneur with insight and access to the venture capital scene. She is also the founder of 7AM, a lifestyle, media platform focused on personal development guided by informed pop culture.

Now available on iTunes, you can also access the podcast across any device. The episodes are available on SoundCloud and YouTube.

The first episode features Monique Woodard, a venture partner at 500 Startups. Rodney Williams, founder and CEO of LISNR, stopped by for the second episode. Williams provides insight into how he raised over $14 million in VC funding, while living outside of the tech capital of the world.

“In the forthcoming days, we’re going to expound on some of the subject matter discussed in this episode. We will teach you exactly how to pitch, what to say, and we’ll go into detail on when or if you should be seeking venture capital in the first place,” says Blodgett.

You can check out the episode on YouTube at the below links:





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Company Ripe for Venture Capital?

Venture Capital

A lot of people start businesses but they are not all ripe for venture capital investment.

According to the Small Business Administration, about 600,000 new businesses are started in the U.S. each year, and given the datasets from the MoneyTree report, only 4,561 received venture capital investments in 2016.

So before you go getting your hopes all high, it’s best that you know if your company qualifies, so you aren’t spinning your wheels and wasting time.

First things first, if you are looking for venture capital investment in the tech community, you need to be going after a BIG idea. Why? Because VC wants to make lots of money. A 2x return, what’s that? No, they want to see the 10x return, the unicorn, that comes galloping toward them with its horn held high.

So, let’s say you are poised to make the next Snapchat. OK. Here comes another ingredient. You need to have a unique idea with a high barrier to entry. What does that mean? It means that if you don’t, Instagram can come and knock you right off. Whoopsies. You get the point. Do you have a specific patent, a trademark, is there some type of intellectual property that is difficult to copy, what makes your product difficult to replicate?

Those are a few things, now add traction, a compelling value proposition, and a solid team to that and you are on your way.

What did you say? All checks out. Oh good! Now let’s set up a pitch meeting.

Oh, wait a minute. One other thing that I should mention is that you should know your investor’s thesis before you try and pitch them. Maybe you are a company positioned with a high-growth opportunity, but are you approaching the right investor?

Monique Woodard’s investments focus on tech categories that are seeing high growth with black and Latino consumers, so if you are trying to disrupt the cat couture market it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not investable. It just means she may not be a fit for you.

Happy Fundraising!

 

 

 

 


Sequoia Blodgett Sequoia Blodgett is a technology editor for Black Enterprise, Silicon Valley. She is also the founder of 7AM, a lifestyle, media platform, focused on personal development, guided by informed, pop culture.

Love Tech? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Go to CES 2018 [WATCH]

CES

CES 2017 came and went. Every year the show, which is already huge, seems to get even bigger. Organizers spared no expense in delivering a fantastic conference since this year marked the 50th anniversary of CES.

The big hits at the show were vehicle tech, internet-connected home devices, robots, and tech products to teach kids skills such as programming.

There was also some incredible tech beauty products. The O’2 Nails Mobile Printers lets you print any design you can imagine on your nails:

Image: O2 Nails (Image: O’2 Nails)

 

YouCam Makeup, a company that creates virtual makeovers for selfies with an app, launched a new product that works with makeup outlets such as Sephora. Using the YouCam new app, you can virtually try on makeup from Sephora and then go into Sephora and purchase the cosmetics.



The iGrow is an FDA 510k-approved hair growth device. It grows hair using Low-Level Light Therapy. This is a therapy that “utilizes laser or light energy below a specific energy threshold and within a specific wavelength,” according to iGrow’s manufacturers. The founder of the company says there is clinical evidence to show that this therapy triggers cellular activity leading to hair growth.

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

There were robots all over. Many were concierge robots, designed to offer customer service at business locations. LG demonstrated its robot built to help customers in airports. The robot rolled across the stage at LG’s event.

Image: LG (Image: LG)

 

There was so much to see. As a journalist who has been to CES for the past four years, I was also delighted to see more African Americans at this year’s show than previous years. I’m eagerly anticipating a special showcase dedicated to the amazing technology coming from Africa in 2018.

Watch the video below for a quick and dynamic recap of the technology at CES 2017:



 

 

 

 

Love Tech? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Go to CES 2018 [WATCH]

CES

CES 2017 came and went. Every year the show, which is already huge, seems to get even bigger. Organizers spared no expense in delivering a fantastic conference since this year marked the 50th anniversary of CES.

The big hits at the show were vehicle tech, internet-connected home devices, robots, and tech products to teach kids skills such as programming.

There was also some incredible tech beauty products. The O’2 Nails Mobile Printers lets you print any design you can imagine on your nails:

Image: O2 Nails (Image: O’2 Nails)

 

YouCam Makeup, a company that creates virtual makeovers for selfies with an app, launched a new product that works with makeup outlets such as Sephora. Using the YouCam new app, you can virtually try on makeup from Sephora and then go into Sephora and purchase the cosmetics.



The iGrow is an FDA 510k-approved hair growth device. It grows hair using Low-Level Light Therapy. This is a therapy that “utilizes laser or light energy below a specific energy threshold and within a specific wavelength,” according to iGrow’s manufacturers. The founder of the company says there is clinical evidence to show that this therapy triggers cellular activity leading to hair growth.

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

There were robots all over. Many were concierge robots, designed to offer customer service at business locations. LG demonstrated its robot built to help customers in airports. The robot rolled across the stage at LG’s event.

Image: LG (Image: LG)

 

There was so much to see. As a journalist who has been to CES for the past four years, I was also delighted to see more African Americans at this year’s show than previous years. I’m eagerly anticipating a special showcase dedicated to the amazing technology coming from Africa in 2018.

Watch the video below for a quick and dynamic recap of the technology at CES 2017:



 

 

 

 

A Podcast That Provides Tech Industry Advice? Where?!

BE The Code - Monique Woodard/Sequoia Blodgett

Have you ever been curious about how to pitch to a venture capitalist to secure funding for your tech startup, or what it means to raise $14 million while living outside of Silicon Valley?

Well, look no further. Black Enterprise is bringing you, BE the Code, a new podcast series filled with winning strategies and game-changing advice from Silicon Valley’s top innovators, celebrities, and rising stars.

In our first episode, we sat down with Monique Woodard, a venture partner at 500 Startups. Many of you may already be familiar with her, but did you know that she grew up on a farm, spent her early days working for Uncle Luke Records, and created a startup that delivered fresh meals to senior citizens?

Click the clip below to watch Episode 1 of BE the Code, as we uncover hidden gems and a whole lot of other fascinating information about breaking into venture capital investing, both as an investor and as a founder.



In the forthcoming days, we’re going to expound on some of the subject matter discussed in this episode. We will teach you exactly how to pitch, what to say, and we’ll go into detail on when or if you should be seeking venture capital in the first place. Stay tuned!

BE The Code - Sequoia Blodgett Image: Niranjan Deshpande/Sequoia Blodgett

‘BE the Code’ was created by Black Enterprise Tech Editor (Silicon Valley) Sequoia Blodgett and VP of Digital Shelly Jones. This series, in part or whole, will be available online on Blackenterprise.com, iTunes, and on all of Black Enterprise‘s social media sites.


Sequoia Sequoia Blodgett is a technology editor for Black Enterprise, Silicon Valley. She is also the founder of 7AM, a lifestyle, media platform, focused on personal development, guided by informed, pop culture.

See How This Coalition is Helping Black Female Techies

Coalition(Image: S. King for the Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing 2016) (Image: S. King for the Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing 2016)

 

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing Conference Committee leadership Chair Dr. Jamika Burge and co-Chairs Drs. Jakita Thomas and Ryoko Yamaguchi to discuss all things computing and technical careers. They provided important background on their organization and shed light on why this career path is so compelling.

BlackEnterprise.com: What was the motivation behind creating the Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing? 

RCBW&GIC: Black women are one of the least represented groups in the computing discipline. The Black Women in Computing (BWIC) community exists primarily to celebrate the contributions of black women in computing and technical careers and provide communal support and outreach for its members.

The Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing serves as the research arm of the BWIC community. Created in 2016, it seeks to investigate—through empirical research—ways to combat the lack of awareness of black women in this space. It also seeks to create a body of research focused on and informed by the exploration of the common experiences of black girls and women in computing. The Coalition also plans the annual conference for black women in computing every January.

BE: What has been the biggest hurdle in demonstrating the value in computing-related fields?

RCBW&GIC: Computing has become an integral part of our lives. We use smartphones, laptops, and tablets to do everything from surfing the internet to completing substantive work in every industry. Computing—computer science, more broadly— enables us to apply computational thinking to solve a range of problems.

From developing social media platforms to connecting people, performing data analytics to discovering insights from large amounts of data, and ensuring that the technologies we develop are usable by everyone, computing is an effective problem-solving methodology. To continue to grow as a discipline and truly innovate, computing must embrace the ideas and solutions created from a diverse talent pool.

BE: What are core goals for the foreseeable future?

RCBW&GIC: Immediate goals for the Research Coalition of Black Women and Girls in Computing include continuing to address the issues of intersectionality that are inherently part of the black women in the computing community.

After the January conference, we will cultivate our partnerships to provide research and development workshops for computing students and professionals. We are also in the midst of data collection to better articulate the intersectional experiences of black women in computing and how they are similar to and different from the experiences of women in computing, more generally.

BE: If you could offer one piece of advice to young black women who are undecided about entering a computing related field, what would that be?

RCBW&GIC: Anything worth pursuing will have its challenges. A career in computing is no exception. One amazing benefit, however, is that no black woman interested in pursuing a career in computing needs to feel alone. There is an amazing community available to support her at any stage, whether she’s just starting out or a senior-level professional. We encourage young black women, in particular, to reach out, connect, and network with the BWIC community.

 

 


Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, WordSmithRapport.com.