Friday, March 01, 2013

Grandma Got STEM

"So simple your grandmother can use it." drives me into a conniption.

Ha, many grandmothers know more nuts and bolts about how technology worked in their day than their grandchildren, because they could actually see the mechanical working parts.

Moreover, my generation (today's mothers) is more likely to know computer programming than our technology-consuming children.

Pennamite forwarded a linke to the Grandma GOT STEM blog.  From Why this blog?
Perhaps, like me, you are tired of hearing people say “how would you explain that to your grandmother?” when they probably mean something like “How would you explain the idea in a clear, compelling way so that people without a technical background can understand you?”

Here’s a similar saying you may have heard: “That’s so easy, my grandmother could understand it.”

I would like to counter the implication that grannies (gender + maternity + age) might not easily pick up on technical/theoretical ideas. As a start, I’m planning a public awareness / art project using grandmothers’ pictures+names+connections to STEM. This blog is where I’ll collect the info.

Please forward the call below (and answer it if you know/are a STEM granny!). So far I have had some really nice responses, including people who have said “I think my Mother/Grandmother did something with STEM, but I never really talked with her about it. I’ll get in touch with her and get back to you.” I’ve also heard from a number of enthusiastic grandmothers directly.
I hope you pass the link on.

I was particularly fascinated by the autobiography of grandmother Arlette Lambert Porter.  She managed to parlay a degree in pure mathematics into a wide-ranging career in computer programming in many industries.  She's 70 years old, still working, and a proud 3-time grandmother.
I have evolved with the technology and progressed from programmer to systems analyst to director of information systems for my branch of this world-wide company. The advent of the internet and web-based networking allow me to now sit at my desk and transfer data all around the world in a matter of seconds. I have evolved with the technology and progressed from programmer to systems analyst to director of information systems for my branch of this world-wide company. It is not at all unusual for me to communicate with people from Brazil, Scotland, China, Mexico and Canada, in addition to people throughout the US on any given day.

3 comments:

  1. I know that everyone else considers STEM subjects to be stereotypically masculine, but everytime I read it I still have to remind myself that that's the case. Growing up, I was surrounded by a mathematician/physicist/engineer mother, a chemist grandmother, and a carpenter aunt. In my small child head, those were the jobs that women usually did. Jobs that men usually did were things like English, philosophy, and teaching. :P

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  2. I love that website! Thanks for sharing it.

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  3. Awesome website!

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