You can be cool and you can be smart
You can be cool and you can be smart At left, Kelly Mathews reads "Rosie Revere, Engineer" to her 6-month-old daughter, Marilyn (AP photo / Thinkstock)
You can be cool and you can be smart
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Kelly Mathews is on a mission. She wants to get more girls interested in STEM, which is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. For Mathews, it's a mission that begins at home with her 9-month old daughter, Marilyn.

"I want her to look at things and wonder how they tick," Mathews says. "And know that if she looks at something and says, 'Wouldn't it be cool if it could do that?' that she can make it do that."

That's why Mathews reads books like "Rosie Revere, Engineer" to Marilyn. She stocks her daughter's nursery with other such books, including "HTML for Babies."

Mathews is a software engineer in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. She is one of only two female engineers in her company. She believes the earlier girls are introduced to these fields, the better the chance they will be empowered to pursue those careers when they graduate from high school.

That's a belief that is gaining support in the education and business communities. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates women make up less than 25 percent of the workforce in jobs related to STEM. The acronym was coined by a member of the National Science Foundation in the 1990s.

Mathews has also teamed up with TechGirlz, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that aims to bridge the gender gap by teaching middle and high school girls about careers in technology. To her the message is simple: "You can be cool and you can be smart," and that girls "don't have to choose sides."

Kelly Parisi, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA, says her organization has been working to empower girls in science since its inception, way back in 1913.

At a recent badge activity in Hempstead, New York, Brownies and Juniors made what the volunteer scientists called "flubber", a silly putty-type compound made from glue, Borax, water and food coloring.

Parisi points out, the Girl Scouts offer "over thirty STEM badges in everything from coding to engineering to computer science."

Sean Cohen, chief operating officer at the email marketing firm AWeber, says he believes employers should get more involved in high school programs.

"Create job shadowing programs. Create experiences for young women to get more involved in STEM programs and see that there are careers around that," Cohen says.

Mathews hopes that by starting early, her daughter will know a career in STEM is well within her reach.

"If she wants to, and if she doesn't want to that's great too. I just want her to know what's out there."

Critical thinking challenge: Why might Kelly be more motivated than other women to interest girls in STEM?

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  • MGallagher
    11/20/2014 - 06:34 p.m.

    Kelly Mathews wants more girls to take the STEM program. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. Mathews is a software engineer in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. She is one of two girls who work with her as an engineer with 25 other guys. She Believes that if more girls are introduced to science at a younger age, they will gain interest in things such as this and pursue science careers after high school and college.

  • JackR-5
    11/20/2014 - 07:31 p.m.

    A mother of a baby wants kids to learn more about stem, an acronym for science technology engineering and math. She says you can be cool and smart at the same time and she is trying to get girls of all ages to try stem. She reads her baby engineering books.she wants more girls to have a career in engineering and start out early for a Headstart. She is only one of two female engineers and her company. A US stat shows that over 25% of jobs use Stem. I think it that is great that somebody will try and create jobs like this. If everyone could do this then we would have a very strong nation.

    • quinnk-bre
      11/24/2014 - 09:17 a.m.

      I don't think that is crazy. You can start teaching anyone at any age. Yes, she might forget but she might also understand. Her mom just wants to teach her, giving her a head start. Maybe the baby is a super baby, or will be since her mom started to teach her so young. She may be one of the smartest people in her class, just because her mom does that. Her mother may even just want to, for fun.

  • AlexM-3
    11/20/2014 - 08:24 p.m.

    Engineer and mom Kelly Matthews wants to get girls interested in science and technology. She believes that if girls are introduced to STEM at a young age, they are more open to going into that field as a profession. She is starting by teaching her young daughter Marilyn about STEM. She wants to teach young girls that it is not a bad thing to be smart and be interested in these subjects. I think it is good that people are encouraging girls to be interested in STEM. A lot of people think that STEM is for boys, but people like Kelly Matthews are putting an end to this stereotype. I think that if more people encouraged girls in this way, then girls would be more interested in science and technology.

  • SydneyG-4
    11/20/2014 - 08:39 p.m.

    In this blog a woman is trying to get girls to be more interested in STEM. She thinks that learning this and being interested is very very important. She is interesting making other girls interested because she wants everyone to know how great it is.

    Personally I don't care for it but some girls might and some girls may have even been interested because of this article.

  • ConnorK-2
    11/20/2014 - 08:39 p.m.

    Kelly Mathews a software programmer has hopes for her nine month old daughter to become a girl that enjoys the world of technology and engineering. She says she wants more girls to be involved with STEM, which is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. Woman make up less than twenty-five percent of jobs related to STEM. Kelly is hoping that introducing her daughter to this field early will persuade her to take a job that is involved with STEM. She isn't going to force her, but just wants her to know that these types of jobs are an option. In my opinion females should try getting involved with jobs that involve technology and engineering.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    11/20/2014 - 08:53 p.m.

    I think that Kelly Mathews is a really hopeful and amazing girl. I agree with Mathews that girls should also be doing science, technology, engineering, and math because not only boys could be doing science, technology, engineering, and math. I hope that she will be able to teach and persuade girls to do science, technology, engineering, and math so that girls will be able to do it to. These days girls don't like to do science, technology, engineering, and math for some reason.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why might Kelly be more motivated than other women to interest girls in STEM?
    Answer: Kelly might be more motivated than other women to interest girls in STEM because she probably was also motivated into learning STEM.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    11/20/2014 - 08:55 p.m.

    I agree with Ms. Matthews because she is trying to motivate girls to pursue a career in the STEM. This would help scientists to advance more in technology. Also, if women were in one of the careers of STEM, then they can help men correct a mistake in their calculations and prevent explosions or failures. This would be very useful for men and would save money for the government. They can be able to save billions of dollars in funds.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why might Kelly be more motivated than other women to interest girls in STEM?
    Answer: Kelly might be more motivated than other women to interest girls in STEM because she wants girls to be more into science and technology so the world can be a better and lazier place.

  • ColeF-5
    11/20/2014 - 09:27 p.m.

    Is there such thing as a smart baby? Apparently there is now. Kelly Mathews has a newborn baby that she would like to educate in STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. She starts small with books, staking her library full of technological books for babies.She hopes she can then go on to teach the world about STEM.

  • SoleilE-5
    11/20/2014 - 11:42 p.m.

    Kelly Mathews is one of two software engineers in her company in Philadelphia. She believes not enough girls are educated on the jobs available regarding STEM, and so, has made it her mission to educate young females. Mathews worked with Girl Scout groups to incorporate a STEM badge to educate the girls and show that "You can be cool and you can be smart." She also reads advanced inspirational stories of female scientists to her 9-month old daughter to make sure she gets a decent education.
    I think in today's world and in the future, almost all high paying and in-demand jobs will be regarding STEM. I believe it is important to educate the incoming generations on jobs available in STEM, however, I believe this education should be available to both genders, since not all boys may receive an education on the topic either. I also believe that by labeling the curriculum as "inspirational", it makes it seem very cheesy, teenagers will not take it seriously, especially with the catch phrase...

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