Heidi Olinger, Founder and President
Heidi A. Olinger is the founder of Pretty Brainy and serves as president of the Board of Directors. Heidi launched Pretty Brainy in 2008 with the goal of designing innovative learning that respects girls’ genuine interests and evaluation of science, technology, and math. Pretty Brainy received its first funding to develop STEAM-inspired apparel for girls, which in 2009 won the highest honor from the Mom’s Choice Awards®. In 2010 Heidi led a pilot workshop in The STEM of Fashion Design™ that resulted in Pretty Brainy fully pivoting in the direction of designing and delivering experiential learning steeped in real-world implications and outcomes. Consistent with this new direction, in 2013 Pretty Brainy became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of Empowering Girls to Gain STEAM.
Heidi’s education includes degrees from the Universities of Wisconsin and Colorado and post-graduate work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Future of Learning Institute at Project Zero. A key focus of her pedagogy and service to profession was helping minority students find their voice and place of belonging at the university. Heidi has been honored by the Boettcher Foundation and others for teaching excellence.
With more than 16 years’ experience in K-12 and higher education, Heidi also has served as an instructor for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps for Learning (I-Corp-L). Colorado Women of Influence has honored her as a Woman of Vision and the 2017 Woman of Inspiration.
Board of Directors
Meena Balgopal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Science Education
Department of Biology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO