Dear Diary,

Growing up, I hated math. I decided I wasn’t good at it and made up my mind that I wouldn’t really try to be better. Of course, I didn’t fail. I just didn’t get straight A’s like in my favorite classes–English and Social Studies. I did like science and excelled, even when we dissected a frog. I can’t remember being encouraged–or discouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering or mathematics. But that’s all changing. My daughter’s growing up in a time that’s trying to close the gender gap for STEM jobs. Girls are getting introduced to a male dominated tech-industry through a wide variety of activities and events, including Remake Learning Days. Remake Days is happening this week in Pittsburgh, connecting kids to innovative, hands-on learning experiences.



Despite regional events like this, huge disparities continue to exist. According to an article in Forbes, only one in seven engineers is female. Additionally, women have seen no employment growth in STEM jobs since 2000.

Here’s how you can get girls excited about the new digital age.


Reach out to women in your community who work in the STEM field. Although the number may be low, you may live next door to a trailblazer. We’re based out of Pittsburgh, an up and coming tech hub. Google offices are a few minutes away from our house, and Carnegie Mellon University was across the street from my previous place of employment.  You can shadow someone or just talk about the women your child knows who are kicking butt in science and math. My sorority sister is a great example–she’s a lead chemical engineer at an international energy and water company.


Explore STEM attractions. Visit your city’s science center or museum. Allow your child to gain real-world experiences. Recently, we became members of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Be sure to ask if your museum participates in the Museums for All program, which deeply discounts admission fees for families who receive government assistance, such as food stamps.


Jump into STEM activities at an early age. I try to encourage my daughter’s curiosity and build her confidence. In this photo, she finally did a flip at the sports complex! I plan to enroll her in STEM courses as she gets older, perhaps a coding class. Meanwhile, we’re throwing a Mad Science birthday party this summer. Guests will participate in cool and interactive demonstrations, chemical reactions and science themed gamed.


Stretch beyond stereotypes. In her frilly, sparkly dress, my little girl conquered every activity at the science center. You don’t have to be a tom boy to dig STEM! You can cultivate creativity, imagination and grit, wearing whatever you like!

Hey DFTM Fam–What would you add to this list? Have you encouraged your kids to develop their own interests?

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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