Speaking of STEM. My dad was an engineer. He worked for that incubator of Nobel Prize winners, Bell Labs (ok, he didn’t win one, but plenty of his colleagues did). By the time I was in 9th grade, I’d decided that math wasn’t my thing, even though I did well in it, (and eventually scored higher in math than in verbal on the SAT). I preferred theater, reading and writing, and back then we humanities types stuck to a pretty straight path.
What’s with that? I can’t point to any particular source of discouragement when it came to the pursuit of math and science but there wasn’t much encouragement either. Girls in math and science were definitely the exceptions.
My teenage daughter works hard on her 8th grade science projects and gets enthusiastic feedback from her teachers. At her school, the high school physics & chemistry classes are exciting – the teachers ensure that everything students do has a real world application. Car mechanics, molecular gastronomy in the kitchen. And while she loves the arts, I hope she doesn’t feel she has to choose one direction over the other, but follows the path that curiosity and imagination create.
Interestingly, in retirement, my father makes things out of wood. Sure, he brings all the precision of an engineer to the process. But his creations are a work of art. I’m attaching photos of a chair and loveseat he made….
Editor, Her Mind