Halloween is the perfect time to craft creepy chemistry concoctions! Get ready to make some colorful, fizzy, foamy chemical reactions.
Science concepts: chemical reactions, CO2
Claudia Alexander was a planetary scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was the 17th African American woman to get a PhD in physics or astronomy. She was the last project manager of NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter and until the time of her passing had served as project manager and scientist of NASA's role in the Rosetta mission to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Remember the rendezvous with the comet last year?) In her spare time, Alexander wrote books on science for children and mentored young people, especially African American girls. "She wanted children of color to see themselves as scientists," her sister told reporters. Love that.
“This is among the purposes of my life — to take us from states of ignorance to states of understanding with bold exploration that you can’t do every day.” - Claudia Alexander
It's Wonder Woman Wednesday, and we are honoring Alice Bowman, the FIRST female Mission Operations Manager, of Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab and the Space Department’s Space Mission Operations Group. New Horizons, APL's mission to Pluto, is her charge.
Bowman was a chemistry and physics major in college, and her interest in space exploration was sparked by the shows Star Trek and Lost in Space, which she would watch with other eight-year-olds in her neighborhood. We are SO glad that Alice did not lose interest in science during the time when most girls' confidence in STEM subjects wanes. We are so inspired by this amazing woman. -- But then again, we are a little partial to chemistry majors.
We would like to introduce Camille Carlisle, who just graduated from St. Mary's Academy and has been helping us out at Yellow Scope: Science Kits for Girls' Headquarters. In the fall she will be attending Tufts University to study bio-psychology and pursue a career in medicine. For some insights into this young woman - who is definitely going places in the world - please read her answers to some questions that we like to ask interesting girls/women in STEM.
1) Who inspires you the most?
It is a combination of Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In and COO of Facebook, and my mom. They both represent the rewarding and complicated life of being both a mother and a successful career woman. Coming from St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girl school in downtown Portland, I have been surrounded by confident and empowering women who encourage me to not limit myself. My mom has been able to balance a career as an Emergency Physician and a mother for 18 years. I can only hope to do the same in my own life.
2) What mistake have you made that turned out to be a great learning experience?
It was a huge mistake for me to think that St. Mary’s would not be a good high school fit for me. I did not want to go to St. Mary’s Academy my 8th grade year because I had never been to my neighborhood school for more than three years. However, SMA has been the best education I have ever had. When I have a daughter I will encourage her to go to an all girls school because of the environment that states, “Today’s young women. Tomorrow’s leaders.”
3) We are really into the Growth Mindset at YS. (If you're not familiar with it, look it up because it will change your life.) What's something you're not good at... yet?
In a formal, educational environment, I tend to not be confident in my answers in large groups. I like to be right and often don’t articulate my thoughts because I don’t want to be wrong. After being surrounded by such self-assured young women at Saint Mary's Academy, I continue to work on becoming more assertive and unafraid of being wrong.
4) What's your favorite element, and why?
Carbon by far is my favorite element because it manages to sneak its way into every compound. From sugar, to carbon dioxide, methane, and diamonds! Who would think that nature could create diamonds from the Earth’s mantle to a crystalline structure of carbon (diamond lattice) and strong covalent bonding? Diamonds are supposed to be a girl’s best friend too right?
We are so happy to have Camille as part of our team!
We want girls to have all the opportunities that the world presents. Opportunity is one of the reasons we are passionate about keeping girls interested in STEM. It’s probably common knowledge that jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) often pay well, and that many STEM fields are growing. But did you know that the average wage for all STEM occupations is $85,570, nearly double the average for all occupations ($47,230)? AND, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, only five out of the 100 STEM jobs have wages below the average for all occupations.
Here is a list of the highest paying STEM jobs from the U.S. Department of Labor
A lead character in an animated movie that's a girl? Hollywood science that is relatively accurate? It sounds like INSIDE OUT might possibly be the must-see movie this summer. Historically, to be a female lead in a mainstream American animated movie, the unspoken rule has been that you had to wear a crown. Now “Inside Out,” Pixar’s new release, will introduce the studio’s first non-royal female lead. Riley is a regular kid whose emotions (embodied by Amy Poehler -- OMG Amy Poehler! -- Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith) are thrown into tumult when her family moves to a new city, and she begins to grow up. This is big news considering the dearth of female characters in the studio’s output: one lead in 14 movies, before this one. However, we were a little disappointed that none of the movie posters feature Riley. It seems that Pixar was not ready to feature a non-royal female lead in their marketing materials. Hmmmmmm.
We are definitely excited about the science that will be in the movie. According to NPR, the filmmakers get a lot of scientific details right. Inside Riley's head, you see memories get locked in during sleep, experiences transformed into abstractions, and guards protecting the subconscious.
Opening June 19th. #InsideOut #AmyPoehler #OMGAmyPoehler #Bechdel #GDIGIM
Father's Day is next Sunday, and we've come up with a Yellow Scope approved list of gift ideas.
How about accessorizing dad's bike with a hand-stitched Barrel Bag from Walnut? Give him a delicious snack from Fuller Foods. Because Sriracha. You can find these deliciously serious cheese puffs at Made Here PDX.
And of course we have included some science-y gifts for the dads: a Dadium shirt (psssst, it's not a real element), one of our science kits for a fun dad-daughter activity, and we had to include some socks on the list because no Father's Day Gift List is complete without socks. These ones are the Constellation socks from Sock it to Me.
A great book that includes geeky projects and activities for dads and kids is from the Geek Dad. We think a gift certificate to a local pub is a GREAT idea. One we recommend is the Oregon Public House, where you can drink a pint and change the world. Sound too good to be true? It's real. They donate 100% of their net profits to charity. #Aletruism
Happy Father's day to all who serve as a dad to someone!