Girls in STEM and STEAM

Kata, grade 4, with the LED jacket she designed to increase a runner’s visibility at night. STEAM workshop: Textiles + TechStyles.

Kata, grade 4, with the LED jacket she designed to increase a runner’s visibility at night. STEAM workshop: Textiles + TechStyles.

In learning about circuitry, the science of electricity, and customer-centric design, Lacy (l) and Madeleine, grades 4 and 5, created an interior-lit backpack. The STEAM workshop in which they participated, Textiles + TechStyles, was made possible with funding from the OtterCares Foundation.

In learning about circuitry, the science of electricity, and customer-centric design, Lacy (l) and Madeleine, grades 4 and 5, created an interior-lit backpack. The STEAM workshop in which they participated, Textiles + TechStyles, was made possible with funding from the OtterCares Foundation.

Deanna Scott, executive director, Northern Colorado Bioscience Cluster, interviews Max Kwan and Karina DeLeon about their device to help teens keep track of their car keys. The Bioscience Cluster sponsored the 2016 Pretty Brainy Shark Tank at the Innosphere, a Colorado incubator for startups. Photo: Shanthini Ode

Deanna Scott, executive director, Northern Colorado Bioscience Cluster, interviews Max Kwan and Karina DeLeon about their device to help teens keep track of their car keys. The Bioscience Cluster sponsored the 2016 Pretty Brainy Shark Tank at the Innosphere, a Colorado incubator for startups. Photo: Shanthini Ode

Laprele Zeller, grade 6, fields questions about her design from OtterCares Executive Director Gary Rogers. After conducting interviews at a local shelter, Laprele created an emergency alert backpack for the homeless. The 11-year-old was a participant in Textiles + TechStyles2, a Pretty Brainy workshop in which middle and high schoolers learn design thinking and how to code in the Arduino programming environment. photo: Shanthini Ode

Laprele Zeller, grade 6, fields questions about her design from OtterCares Executive Director Gary Rogers. After conducting interviews at a local shelter, Laprele created an emergency alert backpack for the homeless. The 11-year-old was a participant in Textiles + TechStyles2, a Pretty Brainy workshop in which middle and high schoolers learn design thinking and how to code in the Arduino programming environment. photo: Shanthini Ode

Mentoring is a key component of Pretty Brainy’s mission to empower girls to gain STEAM. Briana Chamberlain, Schuyler Rideout and Daniela Gonzalez (l to r), Engineering majors at Colorado State University, began mentoring girls with Pretty Brainy in February 2015. One hundred percent of Pretty Brainy students agree, “I like working with the mentors.” photo: Shanthini Ode

Mentoring is a key component of Pretty Brainy’s mission to empower girls to gain STEAM. Briana Chamberlain, Schuyler Rideout and Daniela Gonzalez (l to r), Engineering majors at Colorado State University, began mentoring girls with Pretty Brainy in February 2015. One hundred percent of Pretty Brainy students agree, “I like working with the mentors.” photo: Shanthini Ode

Pretty Brilliant: Girls in Engineering Design Making Life Brighter for Their Community

This inside view of a Pretty Brainy workshop in Fort Collins, CO, documents the organization’s style of project-based learning and mentoring, including telementoring with engineers at Environmental Lights, based in San Diego.

Organization News

The Pretty Brainy STEAM Awards Fundraiser

Pretty Brainy honored six middle and high school girls and two mentors for their accomplishments in service learning and STEAM. The event, held June 14, 2015, at the historic Edwards House in Fort Collins, CO, was underwritten by Nancy Richardson. Richardson is founder of the OtterCares Foundation and co-founder, with her husband, Curt Richardson, of Blue Ocean Enterprises.

Gary Rogers, OtterCares executive director, with Nancy Richardson (l), who launched the OtterCares Foundation in 2010, and Heidi Olinger, CEO, Pretty Brainy. Richardson underwrote the inaugural Pretty Brainy STEAM Awards Fundraiser.

Gary Rogers, OtterCares executive director, with Nancy Richardson (l), who launched the OtterCares Foundation in 2010, and Heidi Olinger, CEO, Pretty Brainy. Richardson underwrote the inaugural Pretty Brainy STEAM Awards Fundraiser.

Guests included (l to r) Colorado State Representative Jeni James Arndt; Wade Troxell, Fort Collins, CO, mayor and Colorado State University professor of Mechanical Engineering; Katie M. Hoffner, member of the Pretty Brainy Board of Directors; and Lisa Rephlo, executive director, Colorado Clean Energy Cluster.

Guests included (l to r) Colorado State Representative Jeni James Arndt; Wade Troxell, Fort Collins, CO, mayor and Colorado State University professor of Mechanical Engineering; Katie M. Hoffner, member of the Pretty Brainy Board of Directors; and Lisa Rephlo, executive director, Colorado Clean Energy Cluster.

Winners of the Pretty Brainy STEAM Award for Excellence in Collaboration & Teamwork. With Heidi Olinger (l), Pretty Brainy CEO, and Nancy Richardson, OtterCares founder, are Autumn Gooseff, Erica Martino, Taylor Lyle, M.J. Winey, and their mentor, Engineering major Lizette Van Zyl. The girls designed family-safe stairway lighting for a Habitat for Humanity home.

Winners of the Pretty Brainy STEAM Award for Excellence in Collaboration & Teamwork. With Heidi Olinger (l), Pretty Brainy CEO, and Nancy Richardson, OtterCares founder, are Autumn Gooseff, Erica Martino, Taylor Lyle, M.J. Winey, and their mentor, Engineering major Lizette Van Zyl. The girls designed family-safe stairway lighting for a Habitat for Humanity home.

Community

The International Society for Technology in Education

Bee Pettner, 14, Maria Passantino, 17, and Madeleine Boyles, 13, represented Pretty Brainy at the 2016 conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (#ISTE2016).

Bee Pettner, 14, Maria Passantino, 17, and Madeleine Boyles, 13, represented Pretty Brainy at the 2016 conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (#ISTE2016).

The girls, who joined Pretty Brainy CEO Heidi Olinger at the conference, taught teachers from around the globe how to build circuits with eTextiles.

The girls, who joined Pretty Brainy CEO Heidi Olinger at the conference, taught teachers from around the globe how to build circuits with eTextiles.

Maria looks at the work of her student, Michael Davidson, a teacher from New Zealand. Davidson tweeted about his success in creating his first-ever circuit, “My light went on!” Librarian Michelle Colte posted, “Sewed a circuit and met amazing organization @prettybrainy. Must bring to Hawaii.”

Maria looks at the work of her student, Michael Davidson, a teacher from New Zealand. Davidson tweeted about his success in creating his first-ever circuit, “My light went on!” Librarian Michelle Colte posted, “Sewed a circuit and met amazing organization @prettybrainy. Must bring to Hawaii.”

Pretty Brainy’s chaperones for the conference, which was attended by a reported 16,000 educators worldwide, were (from left) David Pettner, Audre Pettner and Claire Boyles, who gathered for a photo opp with Madeleine, Maria, Bee, and Heidi Olinger.

Pretty Brainy’s chaperones for the conference, which was attended by a reported 16,000 educators worldwide, were (from left) David Pettner, Audre Pettner and Claire Boyles, who gathered for a photo opp with Madeleine, Maria, Bee, and Heidi Olinger.

Pack2School with the OtterCares Foundation

Pretty Brainy reprised a version of Margaret Mead’s 1957 landmark activity, “Draw a Scientist,” with hundreds of K-12 students. The drawings represent a scope of how girls see themselves in STEM and their perceptions of science in general. Most students, including Destiny (left) draw a mad scientist. But MaryJane, who is 7, drew herself as a scientist diving into the ocean to save a dolphin.

Each year in August, the OtterCares Foundation provides new backpacks and school supplies, at no cost, for students in need in Colorado’s Poudre School district. While waiting in line for supplies, students learn and create with Pretty Brainy and other organizations.