January 12, 2013  • Events & Media

stem-girlElaine participated as the inspirational speaker during IGNITE, a girls-only event at Math Plus Academy in Columbus, Ohio to encourage the pursuit of science, technology, engineering, and math skills.  Elaine spoke to over thirty girls ranging in age from third grade to eighth grade about the importance of STEM skills to all areas of their lives and future careers – not just those that involve numbers.

Many of the girls excitedly volunteered their own professional goals.  Some wanted to be marine biologists, some wanted to pursue creative technological arts like puppeteers or animators, still others wanted to be veterinarians.  One even wanted to pursue martial arts.  Led by Elaine, the girls shared ideas about how basic STEM skills they mastered could be applicable to all professions – even those that fall outside of traditional STEM careers.

Elaine talked about how she uses STEM skills every day as a creative entrepreneur, and how the analytical reasoning, logical sequencing, and structural understanding she gleaned from STEM classes and experiences make her a better educator, a more competent CPA, a more informed citizen, and a better woman.

An excerpt from Elaine’s talk, More than Math, is included below:

[blockquote]Once upon a time, I wanted to be a dog-sled racer.  And then I wanted to be a veterinarian to help animals.  And then, I wanted to be a journalist to tell stories.  And then I studied industrial engineering to learn about efficient and beautiful ways of designing businesses.  And then I studied accounting and economics to become a CPA.  And then I started working for artists and arts organizations, helping them solve problems and think strategically about business solutions.

And that’s what I do now. I’m a story-telling CPA who works with and teaches artists and arts organizations about accounting, business, and economics.

It sounds like it has nothing to do with being a dog-sled racer, right?  But it does.  Because what you learn in your science, technology, engineering, and math classes have to do with much more than simply science and math.

Every painter I’ve known is also a scientist, specifically a chemist, with an expertise in materials and mixing.  Some of the most brilliant technological minds I’ve known are actually artists who use technology to make the world a more beautiful – or beautifully functioning – place.  Every sculptor and dancer I’ve known knows more about engineering and the structure of why a particular piece or movement works or doesn’t work than many engineers.  And every musician I’ve worked with understands how to engineer an incredible recording, not only from a musical standpoint, but also from a building standpoint, and from a technological standpoint.

Everything I’ve done in my life relates to math in some way; but it is so much more than just math.  The skills you are learning and developing through your science, technology, engineering, and yes, math, pursuits will permeate all areas of your lives.  They will make you better analyzers of information; more judicious citizens; more savvy consumers; and stronger women.

Remember, it is so much more than math.  It’s fun.[/blockquote]

Read more about the event and similar future events on Math Plus’s website.

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