Some of what defines a human being is nurture, but most of it is nature. Sure, the potential is there at birth and we can alter genetic predisposition, especially neurologically, as we do with "upbringing" and education. But I believe most of what you are is determined at the moment of conception.
Two of my nieces, slightly older than my daughter, went in opposite directions. One works overseas for the US State Department while the other is an environmental/civil engineer who likes to climb tall physically challenging mountains as a hobby.
bdcast, there will always be young girls who are inclined toward Barbies and boys inclined toward sports or GI Joes, which is fine. But I've never been able to completely understand the disconnect between girls who are good physics and math, and yet bypass engineering. I think part of it is the idea that engineering is for people who grow up with great mechanical/electrical skills. But there are several areas of engineering (industrial and civil to name a couple) that are populated by people who don't necessarily have those skills. They happen to be good at math and science, not necessarily at mechanical stuff. I know a structural engineering professor at a major university who grew up with no mechanical skills and put his math smarts to use in finite element analysis. In addition be being a prof, he has a great consulting business.
I like the concept of toys that offer a chance at engineering type thinking, and these may do that well enough, it is always a guess as to which toys will be the big hot. Of course while a lot of engineering is built on the principles of physics, there is a lot more thanb physics to engineering. My guess is that a lot of women who may be interested decide to go some other direction when they see the lack of respect engineering gets, and all of the other things that engineers have to put up with. Maybe they go some other way because they spot these things sooner than us male engineers. I know for certain that if I were a doctor or a lawyer I would not have folks second guessing me so much, and assuming that my job must be really easy because I never comment about how hard it is. Quite likely the brilliant women spot this a bit sooner.
Charles. I'm still baffled! My wife majored in mathematics in college because it was fun! Did she go on to grad school or get a job in industry? Nope. Her first job was as a letter carrier (postman). The post office had to clear out their other restroom to accomodate their first woman to ever work there!
She eventually put her knowledge of Cobal to good use when she went into computer programming also as a civil servant. When we moved away from Metropolis the IT jobs did not follow her to the boonies. She never did return to science, math or software engineering.
My daughter was never interested in the gadgetry in my home lab/office. Not enough social interaction. She did discover photography, one of my hobbies, and that has stuck with her. But she always tended towards Barbie dolls, lace and the color pink, to the chagrin of her liberated mom.
I like EBike's, but the interface on this one is a little too glitzy. It may be great for the people that can't put their phone in their pocket, but I don't want to download an App just to ride my EBike.
I converted a junk Target bicycle to an EBike a few years ago. Some of the folks at the office said that I was "cheating" by riding an EBike, but then again, I never saw any of those people use anything other than a car. With a simple pedal sensor the EBike gives you a little boost that takes the edge off of hills and strong winds so that you can commute any day that isn't raining and not have to change your clothes when you get to the office. I used the machine extensively and kept track of the miles to see when I reached my Return On Investment. Yes the ROI was longer than a year, but the gadget did pay for itself and the commute was certainly more pleasant through the rural bike paths.
So, I really like EBike's, but having to load my phone into the handlebars and download an App to make it go seems just a little bombastic.
I like the idea of the GoldieBlox. I've always been baffled by the small percentage of women in engineering. High school girls do well in physics, yet don't seem to make the transition to engineering, for reasons that I've never understood. Maybe ideas like this one will build interest at an earlier age.
Lauren, this bike idea seems a little over the top. The bicycle is already the most efficient form of transportation. If you need a boost, mosp people can just walk the bike until you get somewhere that is less of a problem. I do not recall doing that in decades. I use a thing called gears.
The gloves are interesting, though. they may be useful if biking. It would be interesting to have a fingerless cycling version.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
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