Wellesley Club goes to the FAB LAB by Nancy Wettlaufer

2015 Holiday Coffee held at the Suncoast Science Center Faulhaber FAB LAB

After an introduction by Executive Director Ping Faulhaber, our holiday coffee speaker, Dr. Jennifer Holt, presented telling data on “Teaching STEM to Girls” (What we know now that makes all the difference).  Many in the audience nodded in agreement.

We smiled with pride that things were different at Wellesley now, even if as young women we had all been affected by the barriers she enumerated. Every hand went up when she asked how many had majored in a liberal arts curriculum. Then she helped us understand the reasons for that startling discovery.

Out of curiosity I went online to research pre-med majors at Wellesley today and found a telling article by Hannah Gavin ‘01: “A Harvard Medical School Student’s Reflections on Wellesley”.   Her clincher is in a sidebar: It was the first time a professor had expected more of me than I felt capable of accomplishing, but I soon learned that such expectations were not unattainable.

This was one of the many points made by Dr. Holt in her Power Point presentation.:

A girl needs to believe in her ability to succeed in STEM tasks or situations; she needs support for taking risks, being curious, being wrong, and questioning authority. Instruction should be designed for collaboration & interaction, use gender-inclusive, language and images, and provide space for quiet/private experimenting. It should consider aesthetics by using appealing, colorful environments; put bright and engaging images on signage; use soft edges - wood or stone, not metal, and include sounds, smells & other contextual aspects.

After her stimulating presentation, Jennifer applied her principles by providing experiential learning in small
groups - helping many of us cut out holiday ornaments on the FAB LAB laser equipment to take home with us.
Irene Rutberg is pictured here with Jennifer Holt.
Our secretary Diane Mott Davidson suggests further reading on the subject of "fixed mindset" vs."growth mindset"  
for those who might be interested: Mindset, by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck.



President Connie Rieben (on the right) and all in attendance say "Bravo" to Allison Opa (on the left), our new VP and Program Chair, for creating this wonderful holiday event for the Club. The sweet treats were delicious and the cameraderie was unbeatable. The event served as a fun way to collect funds for our charity, the Mothers and Infants Program also and we even had a fun raffle to help purchase stocking gifts for the residents.  We raised almost $2000, enough to cover our Ruby Sponsorship and the stockngs.  Thank you for your generosity. And a special thanks to Jennifer Holt for making a snowflake ornament to go in the stocking for each resident.