Verizon’s new ad promotes encouraging girls’ interest in STEM

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

Bravo, Verizon, for making a very powerful ad about how parents may discourage their daughters from pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) interests.  They teamed up with Makers and Girls Who Code to create this video, which although depressing, is receiving a lot of praise.

I’m sure I received some similar comments about not getting my dresses dirty and the like when I was little, but I was fully allowed to explore my curiosity outside – I remember making shell and rock collections, constructing brick “houses” for tomato hornworm caterpillars, catching butterflies on my neighbor’s flowers, and lots of hiking and camping with my family that fostered my love for plants.  My dad is an engineer, and he was always asking if his daughters wanted to help him do car repairs or assist with construction projects – in fact, just the two of us put up a new fence at my grandma and grandpa’s house when I was about 12 or so, I can change the oil in my car, and I have figured out what was wrong with some of my early CD and MP3 players by taking them apart and looking inside.  I’m grateful for these experiences and hope that other parents are not limiting these sorts of activities to only their sons. I may well not have gone into science if I was prevented from doing those things.

Watch the video of the ad, and you can read a little bit more in this article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/verizon-ad-tells-parents-to-encourage-girls_n_5526236.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.