Pretty Brainy Offers End-of-Summer STEM Workshops for Girls in Their Teens + Tweens

By Pam Jessen

Additional STEM Workshop Date: Fashionably Mashed also Offered September 16

[Fort Collins, Colo] – If Pretty Brainy has its way, there won’t be any more girls saying “math and science are boring.” The Fort Collins-based nonprofit organization is devoted to STEM and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) learning and is offering end-of-summer STEM workshops for girls July 30, August 6, and August 13.

Winning Design Team -- Las Chicas de Mathematicas 2013

Pictured, left to right: Haley Candelario, Stephanie Molitor, Kayla Johnson (counselor), Christasia Chavis, and Mudah Di.

The organization’s founder, Heidi Olinger, developed two unique STEM workshops for girls to engage middle school students in STEM/STEAM learning. Her workshops give tween and young teen girls a hands-on fashion design or jewelry design project made up of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Dana in a STEM + Fashion Design Workshop

Dana in a STEM + Fashion Design Workshop.

“It is a myth that girls can’t do math,” says Olinger, “and science is anything but boring, so we have to demonstrate what’s cool about STEM through a framework that a majority of girls value.”

Pretty Brainy partners with schools and other nonprofit organizations to offer the unique STEAM workshops. In the first half of 2013, the organization has connected 114 girls to hands-on, real-world fashion-design-plus-STEM projects through its two workshops, “Fashionably Mashed” and “Beyond Beautiful.”

According to Tracey Winey, media specialist at Preston Middle School in Fort Collins, “Working with [Fashionably Mashed] allowed our students to learn about economics, geography, physics, and graphic design through a fun, hands-on workshop.” Winey brought the program to her school in 2011. Preston has been recognized by Intel and Hewlett-Packard as one of the top schools in the United States for STEM education.

This summer, Pretty Brainy is offering Fashionably Mashed in a half-day STEM workshop for girls 10- to 14-years-old at ArtLab Fort Collins from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants can choose from three dates: July 30, August 6, or August 13. ArtLab is located at 239 Linden Street in Old Town. The cost is $49 per workshop and includes a designer’s material kit, a book, and blank t-shirt that will be transformed into wearable art.

STEM Workshop Also Offered September 16

Because of the popularity of the end-of-summer workshops, tween and young teen girls also can learn the STEM of fashion design September 16, when Fashionably Mashed will be at ArtLab once again. The event will be from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m.

September 16 is a day off from school for K-8 students in the Poudre School District.

Amanda in a Fashion Design + STEM Workshop

Amanda in a Fashion Design + STEM Workshop.

“This half-day course is a fun, summertime option for girls who want to learn first-hand about the real world of fashion design. The format allows a girl to be a designer for a day and not have to give up other summer activities,” said Olinger.

For more information about Pretty Brainy or to register for the workshop, please visit