31 years ago, I left the scientific field to have children. At my university, there was only one other female science professor. How did the male professors balance family & science careers? They had spouses to care for their children. How many women left the scientific world because there were no supports in place for them to have families? Why are there so few female and minority professors in sciences at top universities in the USA?
Improving science education
When my daughter began to ask science questions, there were no materials available to explain science to children, so I developed science education tools to explain science simply to young kids. In 1995, I founded Little Scientists to engage young children in hands-on science. 25 years ago, it became quite apparent that there was a problem in science education — most elementary school teachers were afraid to teach science.
Little Scientists and other science education companies have made progress in STEM education over the last 26 years. In 1998, I began working with inner-city children. These children did not have equal educational opportunities as suburban children in STEM. In 2017, I founded the non-profit Great Science for All to eliminate the socio-economic achievement gap.
Narrowing the opportunity gap
The COVID-19 pandemic proves that science education is critical for our future. Over the year of the pandemic, children from affluent families have continued to receive great educational opportunities while children from poor families have struggled to have any education at all. The socioeconomic achievement gap has grown wider, and we must support STEM opportunities for disenfranchised children. In 2021, there are many groups that are trying to equalize the opportunity gap so women and minorities can have opportunities to become scientists and receive great I-STEM education. I am writing grants to increase Little to Great Scientists programs in inner city schools, working as a member of the MWM group, E4EL, and the governor’s council of women and girls. We need to realize the inequities, and fund programs that give all children the same educational opportunities. The cycle of discrimination against woman and minorities must end.