Well, the course is coming to an end and although I have had my struggles with trying to work 40-50 hours a week and go to school full-time, I was still able to learn a lot of new skills. I learned how to create and maintain my very own blog, which is something I might just keep using in my personal life. I learned how to embed hyperlinks and how to cite pictures and media. I chatted with a librarian for the first time and expanded my skills at obtaining research. I learned how to create a budget in Excel, too!
In addition to new skills, I feel like I have gained a broader perspective on gender, both historically and presently. I was excited to learn that although we have historically had a very patriarchal society, this has dramatically shifted and women are even surpassing man in many different areas.
I am definitely going to continue using many of the skills I learned. I will probably continue using my blog and make it into something where I can talk about all the new recipes I come up with. I will also keep using Excel to maintain my budget and plan for trips, since I will be done with school so soon . . . well, for now. Overall I am satisfied with the class and all the things I have learned.
Throughout my research on the GoldieBlox toy, I have learned a great deal about our solution to getting more women in STEM fields. GoldieBlox seems to be hitting the nail on the head as it targets young girls, at the same age as gender differentiation really starts to occur. Throughout this course I have learned a lot about the problem of a lack of female presence in STEM fields, but not much about actually reversing the cycle. Targeting young children seems to be like a very effective way to begin. Providing them with the tools they need to become interested in science, math or engineering will ultimately lead to more women going into those fields and having more and more female role models, which is great! I also learned how to explore different research databases, besides the basic library search for articles. This proved to be very helpful considering I was struggling to find many articles related to this fascinating new toy.
I am so excited to be starting my Gender Lens research project on Goldie Blox. This is a brand new product that was designed in an effort to get girls more interested in engineering. I have been successful in learning about the product itself. Right away I noticed that it seems to be very gender neutral, especially when compared to traditional toys marketed to girls. There is a variety of color, rather than being blasted by pink and purple. So far, my problems align with this being such a new product. Because of this, there is not a lot of research on the product. I will have to be resourceful when it comes to finding my research, such as by comparing the product to research on previous female oriented products. I haven’t been able to find a single scholarly journal so far. I initiated a chat with 24/7 librarians. After just a few questions, “Abby” was able to direct me to a database where it took me only a few seconds to find articles!! Thank you, Abby! I was able to find a lot of articles and have provided many links to these under “links Gender Lens Project: GoldieBlox”.
Well, after a very late evening, I have finished the cultural research project. It seems not very long ago that I thought I would never be able to get it done! However, the time has come and now I get to talk about it being complete and moving onto the next phase of the class. I found it to be fairly simple to insert images into my blog. I think the only hangup I had was trying to find the copyright symbol, so I just wrote it out. I also had to do some adjusting with sizes as well. However, Los Alamos National Laboratory apparently has some very strict copyright guidelines because there was no way to copy my graphs needed for the “technology” section. I am pretty tech-savvy and was able to get them into a word document, but no matter what I did, the image would not copy correctly onto my blog. It was the only place I could find related graphs as well, so hopefully that won’t ding me too horribly.
Legos, now we get to talk about legos! I used legos all the time! I had a pink and purple lego house with a “glass” (ok, so it was plastic) elevator in it and all sorts of lego accessories. My brother had a lego castle! Yes, I know what you’re thinking…talk about gendered toys! The only part about them that wasn’t gendered was the fact that my brother and I played with both of them, equally. I think I loved that castle as much as my fancy lego mansion. I work with kids and have nephews now, so I still get to play with them every once in a while.
I chose to conduct an online chat with an OSU librarian. I told them about my topic, which is on Dr. Betty Harris. I told her about the few resources I found and also that most of the information I have found so far is very generic. There is not very much information on the explosives identifying device that she invented. She encouraged me to check out the library resources and conduct a search on OSU’s online database of articles., which didn’t yield many results.
After doing a search on the library website I still having no luck in finding a very solid article, the librarian suggested that I narrow my research down and focus on different aspects of Harris’s life. I decided to focus on the cultural aspects of Betty Harris’s life after finding out that the colleges she went to were all black schools. She suggested that I try to find research based on the cultural barriers that Harris faced, so I have set out to explore this. I have found this to be the most helpful. Although I am still fairly early in my research, I have found some helpful articles!
Dr. Betty Harris grew up in Louisiana. She pursued a chemistry degree in college and received both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in chemistry. After getting her master’s degree she got a job working as a college assistant professor in the chemistry and mathematics department. She then began working with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and ended up becoming a research chemist and became known as an expert in her field. Among many of her accomplishments, one of them was helping the Girl Scouts develop a chemistry merit badge. However, she is most well-known for her invention of a device that could perform tests in a field environment to identify explosives. She eventually began to work in explosives research and development. She managed the lab at Solar Turbine Inc for a while before going to work for the U.S. Department of Energy Office. Harris also received the Governor’s Trailblazer Award for all of her chemistry-related achievements. And last, but certainly not least, Harris strongly advocated for a stronger education in science and engineering, “As a nation we must continue to provide a comprehensive and competitive education in science and engineering for our young people. We must always encourage and support them, for without research and development, progress in technology and information transfer will not occur.”