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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Local Lady Featured Interview: Hoosier Girls STEM KickStarter Project

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As small children we are all primarily driven by a natural, innate scientific curiosity, but as young children mature into young men and women a divide occurs. Girls are not as actively encouraged to pursue math, science, technology or engineering as equally as their male counterparts. Erin Albert is passionately pursuing a plan to change this, especially in the Hoosier state.

Frazier Designs is a one woman Graphic Design company recently relocated to Richmond, Indiana. Pam Frazier is a part of Erin's Kickstarter project designed to encourage Hoosier girls to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) through an exciting story (written by Erin Albert) about Princesses who save the world from ignorance in The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM.

The dynamic duo are on a quest to promote STEM to Indiana's young girls, one book per library at a time. I chatted with both author, Erin Albert & illustrator, Pam Fraizer below. Here we go:

Erin Albert/Pharm, LLC:

Statistics show that girls aren't encouraged to pursue STEM careers nationwide. What makes you especially eager to encourage girls specifically in your home state of Indiana?

"See this article I wrote for Inside Indiana Business on the terrible stats for girls in Indiana and STEM: Why It Is Imperative to Get Girls in Indiana Engaged in STEM.  
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Also, relative to Indiana - I grew up in Indiana (not in Indianapolis--actually outside of South Bend).  I was a first generation college graduate.  And although at the time when I went to college, I had no idea that first generation college grads really struggle with completing college, let alone going into STEM as a girl - the stats were against me completing.  But, I did.  And now that I'm in STEM (I'm a professor of pharmacy practice at Butler University during the day), I feel an intrinsic motivation to give back in a way that I can best accomplish (through writing a book) and make sure we reverse the abysmal trends in Indiana when it comes to STEM performance and girls."

In addition to funding your Kickstarter project and hopefully one day reading this fantastic story to young girls, what can adults do to help encourage the young women in their lives to pursue this type of knowledge (STEM)?

"The most successful women in STEM now had a wide variety of interests when they were girls (myself included).  
  • Get girls (and boys for that matter) a library card early.  
  • Take them often to the library.  
  • Take children to museums.  
  • Get engaged and excited about what they want to learn more about, and co-learn as a family.  
  • Don't as a parent get sucked into the gender bias when it comes to toys - if a girl wants to play with Legos or Matchbox cars - encourage her.  
Getting girls and boys interested in a variety of subjects when they are young is the best way to get them to think broadly about their careers and their lives later on in life.  As an aside, I will include a link in the book to resources I'm finding for after school programs, summer camps, and learning programs outside of the traditional classroom that encourage kids and girls in particular in STEM."

Pam Fraizer/FraizerDesigns:

Is this your first gig as an illustrator for a children's book?

"This is the 2nd children's book I've illustrated. The first one was a "customizable" book "God Smiled." It was published by two entrepreneurs as a fund-raising vehicle for churches and schools There were over 30 customizable fields for parents/grandparents to complete. Each book ends up being a story about an individual child—featuring their name, parents and grandparents names, time and place where the child was born, school they first attended, first teacher, friends, etc."

Do you have a favorite fictional character? 

"Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite books! It's an important book about loyalty, friendship and love. This book also has fantastically sensitive illustrations by Garth Williams. Garth's illustrations have an honesty to them that makes the characters come alive. I would have to say Charlotte is one of my favorite characters and a beautiful female role model—smart, resourceful, imaginative and brave."

(For more positive Princess characteristics see Erin Albert's Princess Manifesto HERE)

Thank you so much Erin & Pam! Best of luck to you both! Indiana is lucky to have such creative STEM advocates. 

To make this book happen it needs funding! It's not too late to be a part of the Princesses from Planet STEM- visit the Official Kickstarter Page HERE!!!

I can't wait to introduce the Princesses of the Planet STEM to my kids!

<3 the Local Gal

PS Never heard of Kickstarter? Learn more HERE.

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