Monday, April 28, 2014

Leading Women in Children's STEM fields

Displaying StephanieEchevestePhoto.jpgToday I am very excited to have a guest blogger!  Stephanie Echeveste works in community relations for the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s MAT online and Masters of Education Programs. She has taught English on the northern coast of Spain and created crazy clothes for In her free time, Stephanie likes to blog, eat black sesame ice cream and explore new cities.  I hope you like what she has to say about women in the Science and Engineering field and the websites and links she recommends.  

5 Women Making Waves in Science
Science desperately needs more women in the field. In every area of scientific research, the XX formation is greatly under-represented, despite the vast challenges before us. That’s why great women who are making a big impact in the field are so important. Here are five females who are turning the tide of women in science today — and making more than a few waves in the process.

Debbie Sterling, Creator of GoldieBlox

Debbie Sterling’s small-town upbringing didn’t offer much exposure to the world of engineering, but a conversation with her math teacher was the jumping off point toward a Stanford degree in mechanical engineering and product design. As she settled into her new career digs, she became increasingly disturbed by the lack of females in the field — which led her to create GoldieBlox.

Through her company, Sterling aims to move beyond the “boys’ toys” that have dominated the childhood culture for over a hundred years by designing a construction toy from the female perspective to “disrupt the pink aisle.” She hopes to inspire young girls in need of the direction and confidence to become future engineers. Or, as The Guardian put it, “Move over Barbie, there’s a new girl in town.”

Find out more about the disruption of the pink aisle at, and follow their efforts on Twitter @goldieblox.

Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code

Her first introduction to computer programming came when Kimberly Bryant was a freshman electrical engineering student in college and Apple Macintosh was the new craze in town. But Bryant says she felt culturally isolated, since she didn’t have Black classmates. Though much has changed since then, she’s still bothered by the persistent lack of Black women in science, technology, engineering and math professions. She blames it on lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics — something she’s trying to change.

Her company, Black Girls Code, has a vision “to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.”

To find out more about Bryant’s work, visit the website at, and follow her on Twitter @BlackGirlsCode.

Adriana Moscatelli, Co-founder & CEO of Play Works Studio
Adriana Moscatelli co-founded Play Works Studio in 2013, with a dream to help girls all over the world discover and develop a passion for science. Armed with a degree in industrial and interactive design, as well as extensive experience consulting for techno-play giants like Pokeman, Hasbro, Microsoft and Nokia, Moscatelli’s expertise with software development, mobile applications and gaming helps her lead the charge as CEO at Play Works Studio.
Loaded with talent and playful expertise, Moscatelli’s Play Works Studio design team creates games that encourage children — especially girls — to jump into the scientific fray at a young age. Funded by the National Science Foundation, their work emphasizes the development of spatial and logical reasoning skills by teaching basic computer programming concepts to create solutions.
To find out more about Play Works Studio, visit them at, and follow Moscatelli on Twitter @adrimk.
Regina Agyare, Founder of Tech Needs Girls Ghana and CEO of Soronko Solutions; Aspen New Voices Fellow
Regina Agyare’s passion to get women to discover their own voices and pursue their dreams through technology is why she leads Soronko Solutions, a Ghana-based software development powerhouse and social enterprise that focuses on using technology to drive human potential.
Through the development of apps for the disabled, as well as the use of mobile phones, laptops, raspberry pi’s and tablets, rural Ghana children are equipped with STEM and critical thinking skills to fight poverty and solve daily challenges. Recently, Agyare founded an exciting mentoring program called Tech Needs Girls to teach girls how to lead and innovate by learning computer coding. Agyare is also an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow and a mentor with the Women’s Tech Connect Global Mentoring program.
To find out more, visit the website at and follow her on Twitter @ragyare.
Jan Chong, Engineering Manager at Twitter 
She’s on Hackbright Academy’s recent list of 21 rising female leaders who are making major marks in the engineering world. As the engineering manager for the Android team at Twitter, Chong focuses on developing new technologies that help people integrate work and play into daily life.

A Stanford graduate and previous engineering manager at OnLive, Chong’s leadership at Twitter has helped the 140-character giant show off its scalability prowess by moving from a single, team-based development model to a project-based development model that integrates contributions from experts across Twitterland. The outcome has been the growth of Android code development efforts from three engineers in 2012 to over 70 unique contributors from 10 different teams in 2014.
To watch the progress of her efforts, visit And of course, you can follow her on her own turf @lessachu.  
Science desperately needs women, and the efforts of these female visionaries are paying off in young hearts and minds everywhere. It’s through collaboration and the sharing of knowledge that small steps can lead to big change — which is why we’d love to have your input.
Have you used any of these resources in your classroom? Do you know of more women making waves in science? Let us know in the comments below!