Here are four things you can do now to help a girl succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math

It Doesn’t Require Technology. It Doesn’t Cost Money.

If the national push to increase the number of females in STEM studies and careers is to succeed, the education girls receive must respect who they are and how they see the world. (STEM = science, technology, engineering, math.)

In this Pretty Brainy TED Talk, founder and CEO Heidi Olinger outlines foaur things parents and educators can do now to help every girl succeed in STEM — no additional resources required.

Science and Math Girls Love.

Based on her experience in both the K-12 and college classrooms, Olinger’s insight is grounded in the approach that, to help students best learn, educators at every level must appeal to what students value. By putting this philosophy into practice, Olinger relates, girls in her STEM programs, who are as young as 10 years old, work with physics, business math, environmental science, and more. Science, technology, and math girls love, she explains, are delivered in a context in which girls are highly interested and that is important to their worldview.


Among her examples? Fashion design, a discipline that, while being an excellent context for engaging girls in STEM, is also an example of the power of STEAM learning, or STEM augmented by art.

In challenging us to examine who among our young people is receiving a rigorous and beneficial education, Olinger draws a parallel between the racially segregated classrooms of 1963 and the high school Advanced Placement, or AP, courses of today.

“You have a heroic mission,” she tells each of us, “and so does the girl in your life. See her for who she is — a hero with a mission.”

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