When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to become a math teacher, hairdresser, or cashier at Safeway. Looking back at the dreams I held as a six year old, I realize why I deliberately chose these specific professions – my life as an elementary school girl revolved around school, playdates, and shadowing my mother as she ran errands. But even as a child, surrounded by Barbie and Polly Pocket, I gravitated towards professionals involving technology, math, and engineering. Escalators, revolving doors, calculators, and the barcode scanners at the Safeway checkouts could occupy me for hours. Perhaps if my toys had corroborated the example set for me by my teachers and my local grocery store, the impact would have been even more immediate. Eleven years later, I am finally teaching myself to program and dreaming of a major in computer science.
I came onto the GoldieBlox team as an intern two weeks ago, and I’ve already fallen for its mission. Debbie’s ambition and passion is both unconditional and captivating. She and Goldie are an inspiration to me, and I hope our work will pass along this inspiration to others. Role models like Debbie will fuel my and future generations to approach STEM fields with that same ambition and passion.
The research I have done here at GoldieBlox has made me aware of some surprising statistics. A mere 5 percent of first-year female college students intend to major in STEM fields. In 2011, 11.7 percent of bachelor’s degrees in CS went to women. And only 3 percent of all tech start-ups are led by women. The list goes on and on.
Although these statistics are alarming, they have inspired me to commit myself to GoldieBlox’s mission. It’s clear that these fields are stereotypically male-dominated. But stereotypes are meant to be broken. With companies and organizations such as GoldieBlox, we hope to usher in a new generation of female engineers and technologists.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – Alan Kay