As a young engineer, Debbie Sterling set out to solve some of society’s big challenges. Now she’s building a special bridge, one that connects girls with a future in engineering. With the help of a wildly successful crowdsourcing campaign she launched Goldieblox in 2012. Goldieblox provides a much-needed female engineer role model who help s girls develop their spatial skills and build self-confidence in their problem solving abilities.
1. What do you love about math?
I love how mathematical concepts are the foundation behind understanding and modeling patterns in our world. When you really think about it, math is truly the basis for everything.
2. What is your favorite math memory?
My favorite math memory is when my high school Calculus teacher encouraged me to study engineering at Stanford. Thanks to her, I tried something I might not have, and it eventually led to my starting Goldieblox.
3. What advice do you have for parents who want to create a math-friendly environment?
Math doesn’t have to just be a bunch of numbers on paper. Math can (and should) be interactive! Find a way to engage your environment and incorporate mathematics into everyday life. When you’re baking cookies, for example, is a great time to play with fractions! Showing children how math affects some of their favorite things is a great way to get them interested without intimidating them.
4. Girls often like and excel in math in the early grades, but do not pursue degrees or careers in math later on. How can we involve and retain more girls in math?
This is exactly the problem Goldieblox is out to solve! Girls lose interest in math and science as young as age 8. It’s a huge problem – not just in the United States but also globally. We have to give our young inventors the tools (and toys) they need to cultivate and maintain interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). By building their confidence and telling our girls that they are more than just princesses, we can inspire the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians!
5. Tell us about the last time math got you out of a tricky situation?
Packaging Goldieblox for shipping was definitely a memorable moment when math was able to help. During this process we had to measure and calculate every dimension of our product and take into account various schedules and timelines. In the end, everything about our packaging and distribution is really one long, complicated math problem.
*bonus* Thanks to math we can…
Send astronauts into space, measure and track dolphins around the world and build bridges and tunnels to bring people together. Thanks to math we can do anything!