5 Kickass STEM Jobs Of The Future

Sometimes it feels like you’re at TMG just to get your marks up, get into a good university and then forget everything you learned in high school math and science. But it turns out that high school math and science can get you really far! STEM skills (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are the most valuable job skills in 2018, and will continue to be valuable in the years to come.

So we put together a guide of super cool jobs (read: official Netflix meme creator) that use STEM skills to show you how all the data management, calculus, functions, physics, bio and chem are WORTH the work! Plus, we show you how you can create a path to getting to these jobs.

We listed jobs below like ESPN statistician, virtual reality designer/mental health counsellor and more that require the STEM skills that YOU have!

Move over Brad. One day, YOU’LL be on this cover!

Move over Brad. One day, YOU’LL be on this cover!

Data Science: ESPN statistician

Do you love watching sports? One of the biggest part of sports is the underlying statistical analysis, which is essential to big sports networks like ESPN! That’s right, math can be the way to work alongside Jody Avirgan or meet Kahwi Leonard.

What you need to succeed:

  • An undergrad math degree (a focus on statistics is helpful)

  • What to take in high school to get to your university math degree:

    • Data Management (MDM4U)

    • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)

    • One of Physics (SPH4U) (recommended), Biology (SBI4U) or Chemistry (SCH4U)

    • English (ENG4U)

How to make yourself stand out from the crowd:

  • Show your interest in sports! If you want to work for ESPN, have some extra-curricular sports leagues (house leagues work!) or university teams on your resume.

  • Watch ESPN! It might not sound like homework, but familiarizing yourself with the network will only help you show ESPN how passionate you are about working for the company.

  • Taking a hands-on data science course or university data science course. They’ll help you learn programming and how to apply Python, SQL, Excel and many other acronyms that sound intimidating but will help you build a winning team!

You could MAKE this page for  this incredible band !

You could MAKE this page for this incredible band!

Artificial Intelligence: Spotify Machine Learning Engineer

The Math Guru is filled with good vibes, good people and good Spotify playlists. Music is essential for studying, but it’s also one of the coolest industries to be in. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to sing or DJ, you can use the skills you learn at TMG to get you into the industry by learning how to create the code that cues up songs you might like and give you playlist recommendations.

What you need to succeed:

  • Undergrad engineering or computer science degree (they both require the same courses)

  • What to take in high school to get your engineer or computer science degree:

    • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)
      Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U)
      Chemistry (SCH4U)
      Physics (SPH4U)
      English (ENG4U)

  • YOU BETTER KNOW PYTHON, which is the coding language that is essential for extracting data insights and programming machines. Learn it! Now! (Here’s a class you could take while still in high school.)

    How to set yourself apart from the crowd:

  • Show Spotify your interest in music! You don’t need to be the next Ariana Grande or Steve Aoki to impress Spotify, but having a good amount of playlists will show them that you’re not only interested in music, but also their product! You might even develop a few suggestion for how to make Spotify better by frequently using it.

  • Answer any interview questions with a song lyric. Kidding, but this would be amazing to have a whole repertoire of “Where do you want to be in five years?” or “What’s your greatest weakness?” with answers like “thank you, next” (an excellent answer to any question).

  • The best machine learning engineers are constantly challenging themselves with new problems to flex their creative muscles. Challenge yourself with new courses or work with online communities like GitHub to practice your coding skills.

This is a flight map of one the balloons from Google’s  Project Loon , which brings internet access to rural communities. SO cool!

This is a flight map of one the balloons from Google’s Project Loon, which brings internet access to rural communities. SO cool!

Software development: Balloon Path Developer for Google

Google isn’t taking over the balloon industry, but it does use massive balloons to bring the internet to rural and remote areas. You know who maps the path for the balloons? A software developer! So knowing physics is essential to not only being part of Google, but also being part of a initiative to bring economic opportunities and information to remote areas.

What you need to succeed:

  • Undergrad engineering or computer science degree (they both require the same courses)

  • What to take in high school to get your engineer or computer science degree:

    • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)
      Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U)
      Chemistry (SCH4U)
      Physics (SPH4U)
      English (ENG4U)

  • You need to know Python, which is the coding language that is essential for extracting data insights and programming machines. Learn it! Now! Here’s a class you could take while still in high school. Or you can check out these web development courses at coding bootcamps and universities if you want to go pro right now.

How to set yourself apart from the crowd:

  • Google is notorious for its wild interview questions. You might want to practice your creative, on-the-fly interview skills by taking an improv class. Plus, it’s another interesting hobby to show to Google (and it’s fun)!

  • Google is obsessed with innovation. What have you done that is out-of-this-world? Have you helped solve a problem at school or at home or in your community? I know it sounds daunting, but if you feel like you haven’t done something of this calibre yet, maybe start thinking about a project you would LIKE to do to help mankind. Don’t worry too much about impressing Google at this point, but pick something you’re passionate about and get to work!

  • This role is focused on using Python, but knowing other coding languages will only help you. Take a look at other coding languages and start learning some!

Anamorphine  is a VR game that explores post-traumatic denial - like can you even imagine?!

Anamorphine is a VR game that explores post-traumatic denial - like can you even imagine?!

Virtual reality: mental health counsellor/simulation designer

That’s not a typo: you can be a designer of very cool virtual reality simulations while also basically being a mental health counsellor. Okay, not a certified mental health counsellor, but you’ll be helping mental health counsellors with their jobs.

Virtual reality is going beyond video gaming and awkward corporate videos: it’s starting to simulate fears and traumas for people to cope with their anxieties and PTSD in safe yet realistic environments. But to help people cope with their mental health issues using VR, you need to know physics really well.

What you need to succeed:

  • Undergrad engineering or computer science degree (they both require the same courses). A minor in sociology or psychology would be helpful!

  • What to take in high school to get your engineer or computer science degree:

    • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)
      Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U)
      Chemistry (SCH4U)
      Physics (SPH4U)
      English (ENG4U)

  • Knowing how to design is important for VR because it needs to look so real. Taking a User Experience (UX) or User Interface (UI) course will allow you to create more realistic videos.


How to set yourself apart from the crowd:

  • Companies are only starting to work with VR. By the time you get out of university, it might be more prevalent in tech companies - but mental health corporations may still be wary of it. Knowing why VR is important is as essential as knowing your VR skills. Make sure you know the value of VR and how it can help any organization you’re working with.

  • Mental health is a tricky field. You need to be super sensitive to people’s different backgrounds and circumstances. The best way you can show that you’re invested in mental health is to practice empathy. You already do that with your friends and family, but to get even better at it, consider volunteering with a vulnerable population. Mental health fits into any people-related field, so this will show your commitment to learning and empathy (and you’ll finish your 40 hours).

  • Immerse yourself in VR! Try out all the VR games, movies and simulations available. You can visit places like House of VR and DiVRge to try out the latest in VR!

Just one of Netflix Canada’s  amazing tweets .

Just one of Netflix Canada’s amazing tweets.

Digital marketing: Netflix social media lead

The Netflix IG account is too good. Yes, it’s basically a meme account, but that’s the beauty of it. And how amazing would it be for YOU to be the in charge of the account?!

I know it seems crazy, but the person who creates all those memes has to do a lot of statistics. THAT’S RIGHT: DATA MANAGEMENT LEADS TO MEME JOBS. Social media requires analyzing what’s popular, what’s driving website traffic and where your fans are - so you need to get the math down to be a killer social media lead!

What you need to succeed:

  • You can have you pick of undergrad, but ones that directly correlate to digital marketing include math (with a focus on statistics), business/commerce (with a focus on marketing) or psychology/sociology (to learn about humans and how they interact with memes - a real course).

  • These courses will get you to any one of the above mentioned degrees:

    • Data Management (MDM4U)

    • One of Biology (SBI4U) or Chemistry (SCH4U)

    • English (ENG4U)

  • Google analytics is essential for the savvy digital marketer. You can get certified FOR FREE here.

How to set yourself apart from the crowd:

  • Watch Netflix! Doesn’t sound like homework, but you need to know your product inside-and-out in order to engage with its fans. How can you make good memes if you don’t even watch “Riverdale” or “Queer Eye”?!

  • Start experimenting with social channels. You can do this with your own personal brand (like TMG alum and social media manager Sarah Dunkleman) or have an entirely new passion project on IG or another social channel (like Vanessa did with TMG). Make sure to keep up with the analytics, the statistics and what makes a good post (it’s not just a posting frenzy)! This will take you above and beyond your competition who only have a finsta.

  • Volunteer for social media roles at not-for-profits. SO many not-for-profits are desperate for social media managers, and you could be their saving grace (while getting your 40 hours). Plus, it’ll show Netflix that you know how to tackle a social media challenge.

5 Podcasts To Listen to When You Wanna Learn Something

As the start of summer approaches and you leave your textbooks and notebooks behind, it can be easy to completely tune out of all things education related. Although we don’t blame you, (your brain totally deserves a break after all that hard studying) learning is one of those things that we should never really stop doing. Podcasts are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient ways you can gain some new and awesome information (without even having to read!) Here are 5 podcasts we recommend you give a listen.

P.S. We love to have these downloaded and ready to go poolside, lakeside or for summer road-trips and drives to the cottage!

1. TED Radio Hour

You're probably familiar with TED Talks, and might even have watched these videos in one of your social science or english classes. Typically, TED talks (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) are done by experts in a given field who present their subjects in a 20-30 minute talk. The TED radio hour podcast compiles recorded TED Talks and groups them by theme into 1-hour long episodes. There are hundreds of episodes on a wide range of themes, including happiness, consumer branding, the effects of tech screens, and our connection to food.  

2. Radiolab

Radiolab is without a doubt one of our favourite podcasts. Every episode blends a narrative story with scientific or historical information. The episodes range in topics from political scandals, to scientific discoveries, to stories surrounding social causes that you probably haven’t heard about. The best part about Radiolab is how engaging it is. One of the co-hosts is also a composer, so every episode features amazing audio effects that really enhance the story. We guarantee that time will fly when you’re listening to Radiolab, and you’ll def walk away with some serious new wisdom.

3. No Limits

This podcast hosted by Rebecca Jarvis features conversations with all your fave #girlbosses. Jarvis interviews female entrepreneurs whose success in their respective careers has been entirely self-made. Each episode discusses what they’ve learned from their mistakes, advice they would pass on to others, and the tricky decisions they’ve been faced with. Some episodes we recommend checking out include Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks', Sally Krawcheck's (a.k.a the female wolf of Wall Street- without all the illegal stuff), Rebecca Minkoff's (designer of the bag you probably own) and cosmetic mogul Bobbi Brown's.

4. Stuff Your Should Know

This podcast is exactly what it sounds like- an entire show dedicated to going deep on topics you should know about! It’s produced by the creators of howstuffworks.com, but tbh when we’re feeling lazy we prefer the podcasts, since we don’t have to actually read anything. There are hundreds of episodes available for download on pretty much any topic you can think of. Seriously anything. Porta-potties? Yes. Quinoa? Yup. Frostbite? Yeah. Breast-implants? We wish we were joking but we aren’t. Anyway you get the idea...

5. Freakonomics  

Ever wondered how to win a Nobel Prize? Consider what it would mean for the restaurant industry if tipping were banned?  Is China actually stealing American jobs? Do people who get better sleep earn higher incomes? These and so many more topics are all addressed on the super popular freakonomics podcast. Hosted by an economist and a journalist, the show claims to “explore the hidden side of everything.” What we love about Freakonomics is that it combines popular culture with economic information, so you feel like you’re learning tons. As a fun bonus, some episodes are dedicated entirely to interviews with some pretty cool peeps, like Master of None star Aziz Ansari and Daily Show Host Trevor Noah.

5 Female Engineers Who Made History!

TMG is always super eager to remind you that women have been kicking butt in engineering throughout history - this isn't a new thing! Sometimes we all need a little reminder of how powerful women have ALWAYS been, so this week’s blog post is going to give you a mini history lesson by showcasing famous female engineers and their accomplishments over the years.

1. Edith Clarke (1883-1959)

Edith Clarke totally helped paved the way for the future of female engineers. In 1918, Edith Clarke was the first woman to earn an electrical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recognized as the first female professor in the United States, Clarke taught electrical engineering at the University of Texas for 10 years.

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2. Emily Roebling (1803-1903)

Another pioneer in the field of engineering, Emily Roebling is one of the first women field engineers. Credited with being at the forefront of one the biggest feats of engineering for her time, Roebling is best known for her role as Chief Engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883. Talk about impressive!

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3. Stephanie Kwolek (born 1923)

Stephanie Kwolek’s invented Kevlar, a stiff synthetic material five times as strong as steel that is found in the production of bullet-proof vests, as well as a whole range of everyday products including safety helmets, camping gear, snow skis and cables. Thank you Stephanie for inventing such a strong and useful material, we couldn’t be more impressed with your invention!

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4. Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000)

Hedy Lamarr is a total superstar who helped crushed stereotypes about women in engineering. When we say “superstar” we mean it literally – Lamarr was known as a star of the silver screen in the 1930s and 40s AND known as one of the women to help invent WiFi – yup, you heard it right – WiFi! How awesome is that?

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5. Mary Anderson (1866–1953)

The next time you’re driving in the rain and are freaking out about not being able to see in front of you BUT you decide to turn on those windshield wipers to help solve your problem of poor visibility, you should think about Mary Anderson, the inventor of the windshield wiper. Talk about a super useful and widespread invention – thank you Mary Anderson!

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Guest Guru: Elizabeth Celentano Talks Engineering!

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It’s my favourite month of the year, and it’s not even my birthday!!! March is National Engineering Month in Canada (check out http://www.nem-mng.ca/)  when engineering professionals nationwide reach out to young Canadians to help them learn about career options in engineering.

What is an engineer?

As defined in the Professional Engineers Act, professional engineering is:

  1. Any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising (or the managing of any such act);
  2. That requires the application of engineering principles; and
  3. Concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, or the managing of any such act.

What does this really mean?

Well, the first two parts are easy. Engineering principles are basically just a fancy way of saying that engineers use scientific principles and apply them to design solutions to a problem. The last part is about duty to the public. Yes, you heard that right. As a Professional Engineer, you have to act in ways that safeguard and protect the best interests of the public. That can be a super big deal if your company wants one thing, and the best interest for the public is different!

What does this look like in real life?

I went to school for chemical engineering (transforming matter into products we use every day), but my current job is more of an industrial or manufacturing engineering role – this means I work to make manufacturing processes efficient from beginning to end.

On any given day, I could be working on:

  • Developing spreadsheets to track our performance (How much product are we making day-to-day? How are we performing when we change products? Every time we produce a certain product, are we running faster or slower than last time?)
  • Running trials to evaluate our production line’s ability to run new products
  • Proposing improvements to make current products run faster, with less “downtime”, or with less waste

However, I like to look at it as solving problems. Everything I do is to solve some problem, and the solutions I develop utilize all the math and science skills I’ve gained from school and past work.

What about you?

What problem would you solve if you were an engineer?

Leave your ideas in the comments.

Better yet, try this quiz presented by Engineers Canada: http://www.nem-mng.ca/chart-your-course

 

5 Ad Campaigns That Legit Demonstrate #GirlPower

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Ads are legit everywhere and since we're CONSTANTLY bombarded by them, the messages they produce have a lasting impact. We really think the media has a responsibility to provide us with messaging that helps rather than harms, but sadly, that's not the way it works! The good news is that not all ads are created equal. In fact, we've even found a few that ACTUALLY aim to empower women. We're super obsessed with the crazy power that the media has over us and have been advocating for POSITIVE media messaging forever and ever and ever. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, but at least we've found a few bricks and mortar. Check out our list of 5 ad campaigns that use their power for good instead of evil, and actually aim to empower and inspire women!

1. Always, “Like a Girl”

At the start of their ad, Always asks: “What does it mean to do something like a girl?” The response to this question is at first disheartening: girls of older ages mimic, based on learned stereotypes, what it means to them to “run like a girl”, “fight like a girl”, and “throw like a girl”. Plot twist: challenging these stereotypes adopted by older generations are younger girls, girls whose reactions to these questions are without influence from others; these younger girls simply demonstrate how to run and fight the way anyone would. These girls have the advantage of not yet being jaded by stereotypes and media that tell girls to be a certain way – we could learn a thing or two from them!  After breaking the news to the older girls about how the younger girls reacted to these questions, the older girls reflect upon their initial reactions and change their responses to reflect who they truly are. In fact, when asked if she would change her answer to the original question, one of the older girls responded with: “I would run like myself." We LOVE this campaign - love yourself for YOU, embrace yourself AS YOU, and don't let anyone tell you WHO YOU ARE!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs&t=97s[/embed]

2. Dove, “Choose Beautiful”

In Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” video, women are given two doorways to walk through, each labelled differently. One doorway is labelled “average” and the other doorway is labelled “beautiful”. The video shows most women walking through the “average” door and then captures their reasoning behind this choice. According to the women featured in the video, the reason they chose to walk through the “average” door was because they were constantly put down by others, by media which dictates what "beautiful" is SUPPOSED to be...so they simply didn't feel entitled to walk through that doorway labelled “beautiful”. The message of the video is simple: rather than choosing to listen to what others say about your beauty, it is important to define beauty for yourself; a woman should #choosebeautiful - we LOVE IT!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdM-4siaQw[/embed]

3. P&G, “Thank You Mom – Strong”

P&G’s “Thank You Mom – Strong” campaign, demonstrates the amazing amazing power of mothers. In a world where we often forget to recognize the power of our amazing moms, P&G highlights the importance of mothers in their child's lives! So often moms are portrayed as nagging, frantic women who can't seem to get it together - totally unfair and untrue! Alternating between flashbacks and current moments in athlete’s lives, this advertisement demonstrates the lasting impact that THEIR moms had on their super awesome lives. Showing a side of the mother-child relationship that isn't usually portrayed by mass media, this campaign praises mothers and challenges the stereotypes we have about the roles they play in our lives.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ3k6BFX2uw[/embed]

4. Always, “Girl Emojis”

By interviewing girls of all ages, Always uncovers a problem with emojis: they fail to truly represent women and the roles they play in society. Okay, let's face it - we all love a good Emoji, no argument there! But the representation of women in emojis fails to be diverse; female emojis lack representation in a variety of professions and most of the female emojis are wearing PINK - like really guys?! It may seem like a little thing, but it's just another way that stereotypes are reinforced LITERALLY at the tip of our fingers! The solution? Always asks girls what Emojis THEY would want to see. The answer to this question is super-empowering and brings a huge smile to our faces here at TMG. They want to see female cops, cyclists, lawyers, doctors...they want to see THEIR life dreams reflected on their phones, not the archaic dreams of he status quo. Plain and simple, this ad is awesome.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3BjUvjOUMc[/embed]

5. Dove, “Beauty on your own terms”

This awesome ad opens with women reciting the same old same old:

“how can she be a lawyer?” “only skinny girls can dress well” etc etc ugh

The messaging women have had to swallow their entire lives piles up and totally makes the viewer feel completely dejected and...gross! Just when it feels like this ad CAN'T possibly redeem itself, the tone completely changes. Instead of succumbing to the bombardment of insults they've received their whole lives, these women speak back and stand up about the injustices they have faced. Words of retaliation are sung, fists are raised, stands are taken. SUCH a kickass campaign - guaranteed to pump you up and change your mind about what we are all truly capable of!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XOa7zVqxA4[/embed]

Our advice after watching these advertisements? Talk and think about these videos! Share them with a friend, a family member, your network. What are they telling you about your belief system? What are they telling you about YOUR idea of what it means to be a girl? Finally, use your newfound wisdom to challenge the gender binary, challenge stereotypes, challenge others and most importantly - to challenge YOURSELF!

Guest Guru: Q & A with Mayim Bialik!

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Okay guys, this is a big one for us. Last year, one of OUR role models, Mayim Bialik, invited us to write a piece for her incredible and inspiring site, GrokNation. Today, she’s making a cameo on our blog as an ever-fab Guest Guru! Aside from being a kickass leading lady on The Big Bang Theory, she's one of the big players in the movement towards encouraging women to pursue #STEM. Mayim is an advocate that we totally look up to and wish we could hang out with on the daily - for real. We’re so pumped that she took the time to answer some of our burning questions! Q: Let's start with this: what is the absolute coolest thing about math and/or science?

A: Well, it's hard to pick one thing! I think the coolest thing about math is that it is a completely arbitrary set of names and labels we have given to a system that literally runs the universe. Instead of calling things one, six, and 500, we could also call them polkadot, badger, and violin. Math would still be math because it just IS and we find ways to explain what it is with words and symbols and labels.

Q: Why should high school kids stick with math and science instead of dropping them at the earliest opportunity?

A: The majority of jobs available to young people in the future will require some background in math and science. In addition, some of the higher paid jobs and jobs in the fastest growing most exciting markets require math and science. Plus, understanding math and science sets you up for understanding the world in a whole different way even if you don't choose to go into those for your career. It can help you plan for your life including finances, buying a house, and general decision-making. Also, it gives you an appreciation of the universe that can really change your perspective on life in great ways.

Q: I love love love that you're passionate about finding ways to encourage young women to enter STEM - that's what I'm all about! What are three things that you think we all could be doing that we're not?

A: More positive role models, more mentorship programs, and more funding from the government please!

Q: Girls often develop the belief that they're inherently bad at math much more frequently than boys do. Why do you think that is?

A: Girls and boys brains do tend to work differently, and this means that sometimes the female brain appreciates being taught in ways that have typically been designed to teach male brains.  Sometimes, girls need to be able to picture themselves as a mathematician or a scientist in order to be able to understand why the skills are even important to put in effort to learn. Also, girls tend to be more social, more verbally sophisticated, and more interested in different kinds of activities than these classes sometimes lend themselves to. Creative teachers and more funding for math and science in schools would help this a lot.

Q: I really really believe that a huge part of why girls aren't inspired to pursue STEM is due to the fact that popular media doesn't exactly paint STEM as inspiring or welcoming for girls. What do you think?

A: I think we definitely see a lot of stereotypes of females in the media when we think about women in science. In addition, our culture in general reveres youth and beauty over praising and understanding the kind of people who pursue a life in math and science. So I don't know that I would blame the media, but I think the media is part of a larger problem we have in our culture with what we value and how.

Q: Do you think that your character in Big Bang is finally a step in the right direction for popular media and representations of women in STEM? Have any young women reached out to you about our character?

A: A lot of people think the characters on the Big Bang theory are stereotypes and possibly negative stereotypes of nerds and geeks. I personally know people like all of the characters!  and while Bernadette is a microbiologist who wears more attractive clothing and cute headbands and Amy is more of a modest dresser, we are showing two different kinds of females in science and I love being a part of that.  Also, all of the characters on the Big Bang theory who are scientists enjoy their lives, enjoy the way their life is structured and have friends and successful relationships. I think that is very important to show on television.

Q: Lack of confidence is a major issue when it comes to girls pursuing STEM. What advice do you have for parents of young girls who develop a fear of math in elementary school?

A: Reinforcing that boy and girl brains alike can and should learn math is very important. There are a lot of programs online that parents can be involved with alongside their children to encourage them to build positive skills especially in the math department.

Q: How do you feel about the word 'nerd'? Yes or no and why?

A: I fall under the category of nerd and geek so I say yes!  I have been called a nerd a lot in my life by people who were being mean, but now the culture has shifted, I kind of like being called a nerd. I love all sorts of nerdy and geeky things and enjoy my life a lot because of those things.

Q: Is there hope? Seriously - do you think things have improved in terms of female participation in STEM fields, and do you see them continuing to improve?

A: I think there is definitely hope. You and the work you do give me hope!

For more info on Mayim and the amazing work she does to encourage young women to pursue STEM, check out her full-on website or visit Groknation! LOVE her SO MUCH!

Can you think of someone who you would love for us to feature as a Guest Guru? Holler at us: info@themathguru.ca!

Photo Cred: James Banasiak

 

Math In Real Actual LIFE!

All too often TMG tutors hear students complain about the lack math’s relevance to their everyday lives. We've all heard the classic “when am I going to ACTUALLY use this in real life?!” and “WHY am I doing this?!” We get it. You think that math is useless. BUT guess what? The answer to these questions is that there IS a purpose to what you are doing - you're EXPANDING YOUR MIND GUYS! You're building a muscle! You're adding a beautiful mathy-coloured lens to the kaleidoscope of your BRAIN! But okay, I get it. You want to see application. You want to see math in action. So we've got it! Sure, maybe not ALL of what you’re learning is totally and completely relevant BUT that doesn’t mean math is IRRELEVANT. In fact, math is totally plays a part in your everyday life, and we're here to prove it to you. So for all you haters out there, here are 5 ways in which you can actually use math IRL.

1. Baking

Did you know that baking is basically where fractions were born? Okay not actually, but maybe! When you read a recipe, all the ingredients needed to make that delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies are measured in fractions. For example, ¼ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of flour, etc. If you wanted to make 24 or 6 chocolate chip cookies instead of 12, one would have to ACTUALLY do math by MULTIPLYING or DIVIDING the fractions. CRAZY, right?!

2. Road Tripping

Believe it or not, math comes in handy when traveling. Heading on a roadie? if you’re going on a road trip and want to estimate how much gas you need, you would calculate the predicted miles per hour and the distance traveled. By calculating how much fuel you might need for your super fun journey, you're eliminating the possibility of being stranded without gas– AWESOME!!

3. Time Management

One of the best ways to effectively manage your time is to make detailed to-do lists that involve some simple math. One way to figure out the urgency and importance of each task is by rating them on a scale of 1-5 (1 being of marginal importance and urgency and 5 being of critical importance and urgency), and multiplying these numbers (importance x urgency), to find out how to dedicate yourself to the task. Who even KNEW math could be involved in making to-do lists?! So COOL!!

4. Money Management

What should I do with my money? Should I spend, save or invest? How much do I spend per month on rent, groceries and other costs? These are all important questions guys! By NOT asking these questions and NOT doing the math involved in answering them, you could end up broke – YIKES!!

5. Grocery Shopping

Like we said, math is EVERYWHERE. YES, it's even in the grocery store. Ever go into the grocery store and want to figure out the cost of an item on sale or figure out the cost of a bag of oranges per pound? To find out the answers to both of these questions, calculations are needed! Multiplication, estimation, decimals, percentages - all vital to figuring out whether that supersize box of Oreos is actually a deal or ACTUALLY a total scam!

Guest Guru: Elizabeth Celentano Dishes On Ice Cream!

Hello all! I think there is little else that is more enticing to me than ice cream (OK, I’ll admit it - crème brulee might top it, and realistically it is just a different version of sugary-creamy goodness). So what better scenario could I have this week then being able to make ice cream with my coworkers during a team building exercise?

And the more surprising part? I had 3 experienced, full grown adult, male engineers ask me why salt was needed to make the ice cream.

So, let’s talk science!

First of all, remember that this is when you are making ice cream by hand. Good old hand-crank, churn for long time, until the cream mixture freezes. The salt is required for the ice on the outside of the hand-crank machine.

Ice cream machine

OK, now back to the why…

Let’s talk about melting and freezing. They actually happen at the same temperature. For example, if I’m a solid and I want to become a liquid, I have to get enough energy (typically in heat form) to raise myself to my melting temperature. If I’m solid ice, I need to get up to about 0 °C. However, getting up to that temperature won’t automatically turn me into liquid (which is why you can still get ice, or snow, on days that are 0 °C). Liquid molecules have much more energy than solid molecules, which is why they are fluid and can’t hold their form. With all the energy required to go into the phase change, there is no temperature change occurring during the phase change.

So what about the salt?

Well, for ice cream, this melting / freezing point is actually at a lower temperature than 0 °C. The sugars and fats in the ice cream mixture require a colder temperature to freeze than pure water molecules would alone. This requires more than just ice to cool the ice cream mixture (otherwise the ice would melt before the ice cream is frozen).

Salt is the key! Salt itself has a much higher melting point than water, so making a salt-water solution will lower the point at which the solution melts!

But, in turn, it’s actually important for the salt-water mixture to melt. Why? Because the energy needed to change the salt-water mixture from solid to liquid needs energy (remember, the phase change we talked about?). That energy comes from the environment. And in what form? Heat. In other words, taking heat from the surroundings to melt the salt-water mixture ultimately makes everything colder, including the ice cream mixture – which needs to be colder than 0°C to freeze.

It’s not magic, it’s SCIENCE! And delicious science at that.