We Honor Girls in STEAM for Their Philanthropy, Teamwork, Sustainable Product Design & Process
“We’re using our minds and making one cool, brilliant outcome. It’s totally awesome.”
— M.J. Winey, age 14, award recipient
Eight girls and young women were the recipients of the first-ever Pretty Brainy STEAM Awards, which the Pretty Brainy Board of Directors announces will be an annual event.The inaugural ceremony was hosted and underwritten by Nancy Richardson, founder, the OtterCares Foundation, and co-founder, Blue Ocean Enterprises. Richardson joined Pretty Brainy board member Charisse Bowen and yours truly in presenting the awards.
STEM Plus Art: Smarts, Service & STEAM
The honorees are —
For Excellence in Collaboration & Teamwork: Autumn Gooseff, Taylor Lyle, Erica Martino, M.J. Winey, Lizette Van Zyl & Chelsey PotterIn announcing the award for Excellence in Collaboration & Teamwork, we told the crowd gathered for the Sunday afternoon event that among the experiences we present girls is the challenge of learning to collaborate and work on a team. Pretty Brilliant, our current service learning project, is made up of six teams of K-12 design engineers, mentored by collegiate women studying engineering at Colorado State University. While all teams perform great work, one team stands out for its unwavering focus and unity. We recognize the brilliance of these members in working as one to devise home interior stairway lighting that is simple, yet utterly centered on the lifestyle and safety of their client, the Rzonca Family, and Habitat for Humanity.
For Excellence in Design Thinking: Lacy MillerThe award for Excellence in Design Thinking honors Lacy’s embrace of design as a critical process, not just an end product. Design, we told guests, “requires the maturity and insight to have a plan, yet to yield that plan in the face of challenge or opportunity.” It demands the resilience to revise and revise again and to learn to shake the hobgoblins of perfectionism. Lacy, who has been a student of Pretty Brainy programs since the 4th grade, will enter the 7th grade this fall. Her multiple design projects include an interior-lit backpack, the prototype for which was a collaborative endeavor with her friend Madeleine Colbert.
For Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship: Olivea Borden, Creator of the Oli-Bo-Bolly DollyPretty Brainy honors Olivea Borden for exemplifying how design has the power to improve lives, that youth is no impediment to entrepreneurship, and that sustainable practices can be inherent to and inform great design. Olivea’s business model is based on buy-one-gift-one. For each Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly purchased, a second doll is given to a little girl in a third-world country. Every dolly includes a message for its recipient that she is someone who is special and loved. Women in Nicaragua sew the dolls, which empowers them with meaningful work and the means to support their families.
We Thank the OtterCares Foundation for Investing in Pretty Brainy
The event also was an opportunity for us to thank the OtterCares Foundation for being a major supporter of our approach to girls in STEAM education. Gary Rogers, OtterCares executive director, honored us by telling guests that the foundation does not merely fund organizations and sees its support of Pretty Brainy as an investment.
Visit the OtterCares Foundation to learn about its work in championing innovative education that inspires young people to be entrepreneurs and philanthropists.