James Bond meets Harriet The Spy!

I may be a couple months shy of my 31st birthday, but I am NOT too old for new toys & teeny bopper shows... and toys, and brain games, & experiments, oh my!

One of my obesssions in life is Netflix. I watch it nearly every day as I'm drafting, drawing, or painting, particularly for the documentaires. They're endless! (Side note: Some of my favorites that you should check out are- Miss Representation, Underwater Dreams, Living On One Dollar, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Fed Up, Maidentrip, Somm, & Fame High, just to name a few) Earlier today, I came across a new 3 episode mini-series called Project Mc², created by Netflix. "Teenage spy McKeyla teams up with three other super-smart girls to become secret agents who use their science and tech skills to save the day". I had no idea what I was in for, particularly since the shows' description says it's geared for 11 & 12 years olds, but WOW! was I in for a surprise!

"The series features four brilliant, science-skilled girls who are recruited to join a top-secret spy organization. The series features education advocate and actress Danica McKellar, best known for playing Winnie Cooper on the popular television show The Wonder Years." Project Mc² is appealing to a whole new clique... Young, smart, STEAM girls! Too often, girls interested in STEAM topics are (directly or indirectly) encouraged to follow a more stereotypical educational path, more often studied by other girls. (Women in STEAM fields account for as low as 7% of the workplace popluation, depending on the particular field.) Project Mc² is making STEAM relatable, accessible, realistic... fun, witty, & SMART!

In a genius new marketing strategy, MGA Entertainment (believe it or not, the same company that makes Bratz dolls) is rolling out their mini series alongside dolls, online brain games, & at home science experiments. Amazing!

"First there was Barbie, with her perma-pointed feet and untenable proportions. Then came her hyper-sexualized cousins, Bratz. Now kids have a new option: A line of math- and science-loving dolls, each of which comes with its own experiment kit."

"The dolls, with names like Adrienne Attoms and Bryden Bandwedth, were designed to have 'different body types and faces to show that not everyone is blonde and tall,' says Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA. Each comes with a do-it-at-home science experiment. Bandwedth’s kit shows kids how to make a glow stick necklace from household ingredients—with apologies to adults who have to clean up afterward—while Attoms’ kit lets girls create an erupting volcano with items found in the kitchen. The dolls, priced around $15 each, will be available from major retailers like Walmart and Target, as well as Amazon. The brand will also feature YouTube shorts and original content on AwesomenessTV and DreamworksTV. The Project Mc² app will be available in September and the company will also be releasing short videos on YouTube."

"Larian says his inspiration came from two primary areas. A civil engineer by education, he graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 1978 and says there were only two women in his class of 50 people. When he recently returned to the university, he was surprised to find that even now, women make up 15% or so of the class. His other motivation was his daughter, Jasmin Larian, now 26, who is an entrepreneur and founder of fashion brand Cult Gaia. 'I’m really proud of her. If Jasmin can do it, why not every other girl out there?' he says. Larian also says he’d like to see the next mega-startup like Facebook or Apple be founded by a woman."

The middle school and high school gender gaps in STEM subjects are narrowing and, in some cases, girls even outnumber boys in math and science classes. Larian thinks that by targeting girls in elementary school and early middle school, Project Mc² will impart the pro-STEM message to girls, as well as boys and families, that much sooner. The dolls are targeted to girls ages 6 through 10, while the series demo is targeted to ages 6 through 13.

“Hopefully, this is just the beginning. We’d like to expand the project even further. Because if you’re [studying STEM] and your girlfriend is doing it, and your sister is doing it, how long before everyone is doing it, and then STEM becomes cool?” Larian says.

Not only would I have uhb-sessed over all this as a kid, but I'm kind of geeking out over it as a 30 year old adult. Project Mc² is almost like a modern day, Harriet The Spy... remember her?! OMG, I wanted to BE her! AND Punky Brewster! Those girls were my spirit sisters, and the girls of Project Mc² are definitely going to be sisters to so many young, enthusiastic STEAM girls today!

Follow #WomenInSTEAM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest

Source: Fortune, Netflix, Project Mc²

#kids #toys

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In America, & throughout the world, women are drastically underrepresented in STEAM fields, as well as in positions of power & influence.  We must do our part to begin to narrow the gap!  #WomenInSTEAM is dedicated to celebrating the women who are making their mark in the world... standing tall in a crowd of men & innovating in ways that energize us all.  Ladies, let's inspire the next generation of girls!  Lets show them that smart is beautiful, confidence is key, and independence is living! 

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