Beth Holloway, director of the Women in Engineering Program at Purdue University, has made a statement encouraging the use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys for all children – especially girls.
She seems to have a good sense of timing. The chronic lack of women in STEM fields and efforts to remedy that absence are gathering attention as more female tech executives enter headlines, and the current gift-buying frenzy of the holiday season is a good opportunity to introduce STEM toys into a child’s intellectual diet.
“Parents need to provide girls with toys that indulge their feminine side but also those that allow them to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from designing and building something,” says Holloway. “Those accomplishments will encourage them to continue to stretch their imaginations.”
Purdue is also the home of another rare individual – a female dean of a STEM discipline. Leah Jamieson heads the engineering school at Purdue, and has the unique advantage of being able to affect change in STEM culture at its roots in an education environment.
She was recently mentioned by Docusign CEO and former Purdue board chairman Keith Krach at a speaking panel for Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference, regarding her achievements in female STEM education and her potential as a strong role model.If you have a little girl to shop for, switching gears from dolls to Legos may be something to keep in mind this year. Holloway was helpful enough provide several links to excellent, STEM related toys for many ages.