women in engineering

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: Meet Elizabeth Celentano!

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What even IS a "Guest Guru"? Let us tell you! There are so many amazing people with so many incredible voices out there, that we wanted to dedicate a part of our blog to giving these voices a platform. Our new "Guest Guru" feature is our way of showcasing the amazing awesome people and places that we've had the chance to discover, to create a community of shared experiences. You know what they say: two minds (or like, a million minds) are better than one! Our Guest Gurus might be featured once, twice or on an ongoing basis if they want to share as much as possible with you! We know that we don't know EVERYTHING, and we're excited to collab with people that know stuff that we don't so that YOU, in turn, can learn from them as much as we can. We hope that you enjoy our very first Guest Guru post! If YOU have a great idea for a Guest Guru that we can feature on our site - email us at info@themathguru.ca! The more the merrier - enjoy the ride!

Women in enginnering are super cool

Hello TMG readership!

To my knowledge, I am the first guest-blogger to join the TMG family! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to share this space with you all.

My name is Liz. I am a full-time chemical engineer, working in a manufacturing plant. More importantly, I am a lifelong lover of math and science. More accurately, I am a 100% geek. Put whatever you want in front of it – math-geek, science-geek, music-geek, theatre-geek, board game-geek – I am EXTREMELY passionate about a lot of things.

That being said, I wouldn’t have loved math and science as much as I do just from my teachers at school. I was lucky enough to have an amazing tutor outside of school from grade 5 until I graduated high school that went above and beyond the normal school topics. He taught me to LOVE math contests and actually get pretty good at them (did you know you could get medals for MATH?!); he shared his love of astronomy with me (did anyone else see the recent super moon????); but most importantly he would teach me math in a way that made it relevant to me. He taught me that before Pythagoras existed, Ancient Egyptians would use knotted rope to create the right angles needed when building the pyramids using known ratios (later known as Pythagorean Triples). And in an unforgettable moment, he brought this demonstration to my house, and almost got my entire living room wet – but to this day I can recall the formulas for spheres, cones and cylinders without hesitation!

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I am hoping through these semi-regular blog posts that I can bring some relevant news or related topics to your attention to help get YOU excited about math and science! I’ll even talk about my work, what I’m getting excited about day-to- day, and I can even answer questions!

Stay tuned, and get excited for this collaboration!!!

Why Peace. Love. Pi.?

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Well, as the sweet scent of September soars in the air (along with the equally sweet scent of those school supply stacked Staples aisles), I figure it's time to do what I should have done LAST September: Start a blog!!! Hold up, we're moving too fast. Let's start at the beginning:) Hello, my name is Vanessa. I am the founder/director of learning and inspiration of The Math Guru, a boutique math and science tutoring studio in uptown Toronto which I started almost four years ago! Why did I decide to do such a thing you ask? Well, when I was in high school, I actually failed Grade Eleven math twice. Twice! Like many people who haven't found their educational guru, I hated math; until one day, I found mine.

My parents weren't too pleased with my whole "I'm just not a math person" thing and so they decided it was time for an educational switch. So, in Grade Twelve I headed to another school - and found my mathematical guru. Not only did my new teacher speak to me in words that made sense, but she inspired me to find the 'math person' within - the one that lies within us all. Most importantly, I learned that even though some things don't come easy, that with enough perseverance and perspective that those things do come - one way or another.

I couldn't believe that I had wasted such a huge chunk of my teenage life convinced that math just wasn't something that I was ever going to 'get', that this wonderful world of mathematics was simply off limits to some one like me. Totally insane, right?!

I became totally obsessed with the fact that there are a TON of people out there who just THINK that - believe that there's this type of person out there, with mathematical powers or something. Where do people get this idea in the first place? Why did I, for example, think that I didn't belong to this group of people?! Was it because I didn't fit the mathematical stereotype? Because I was artsy? Because I didn't have glasses and a pocket protector?! Because I totally didn't know the first thing about video games?! I was obsessed. So, I decided to get a closer look at the STEM fields (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the way that those fields intersect with teenage culture - or don't! Pretty cool, I know. I ended up publishing a paper titled Imagining a World Where Paris Hilton Loves Mathematics and becoming an expert on the ridiculous ways that the media generates and enforces stereotypes of what it means to be a mathematician!

So back to the whole tutoring centre thing. After all that, I decided that my goal in life was to rid math & science of their bad reputation - to salvage those intricately beautiful bodies of knowledge from the clutches of media-induced stereotyping: To make math and science cool. That's right. Believe it! But first, I wanted to make sure that I did whatever I could to make sure that no one ever ever went through life thinking that they simply weren't 'a math person.' And so...I started The Math Guru, a super chill boutique math and science tutoring studio! TMG is a safe space where tutors are people too, where learning takes place with tea lattes in hand, and where anyone and everyone can learn to love math and science!

Over the years, I have seen an amazing number of math-haters convert to math-lovers, have watched countless teens change their view of what it means to love math, and have had the absolute pleasure of watching those who think that math and science are totally beyond them eventually get their dream job - you know, the one you imagine you'll have when you're a kid and you haven't learned that society views math and science as the domain of a chosen few.

Most amazingly though, I have seen countless teens experience what I experienced when my world was rocked by an awesome math teacher: not just that "I can do anything" feeling, but that "I can do anything and I want you to feel the same way too" feeling.  It's not just me that wants to make math and science accessible to everyone - it's all of the wonderful kids and adults that walk through our doors. How cool is that?!

So, what's the deal with this blog? Well, this is where you will find my musings on a variety of things including (but not limited to!) math and science education, teenage culture, our education system, STEM, and well, the way all of those things intersect - or often don't. You won't just be hearing from me - but from guest bloggers as well. You know what they say: It takes a village!

If there's a particular topic that you're interested in reading about, if you've got ideas on how to begin to unravel the tightly wound STEM stereotypes out there, if you get your hands on something I absolutely have to see/share, or if you want to write for The Math Guru, get in touch - I would love to hear from you!

The ocean can do what the drop cannot - let's DO THIS!

peace. love. pi.

vaneSSa