Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the stellar moms in STEM in Austin, Texas. We love to see parents bring science, building and engineering principles into their kids’ play! With jobs in STEM fields, these moms have a leg up on incorporating these ideas in day-to-day play.
So, in honor of the holiday, we spoke with a few notable moms in STEM to share their input on motherhood, being a woman in STEM and the careful act of balancing the two.
Becky Jeanes is an architect who builds her own life-sized structures regularly. She and her husband own Designtrait, an Austin-based architecture firm. The addition of their 3-year-old daughter has brought an entirely new perspective to Becky’s career. “While I work just as hard as I did before, I’ve learned how to share myself between my career and my family by drawing a line between work and home,” Becky says.
Though she loves to design and build for a living, nothing gives Becky as much joy as her daughter. “I honestly do not know what life was like before she came along,” she adds.
To aspiring young architects, engineers and scientists, Becky advises “take the chance to explore and don’t be discouraged by a challenge. The discovery process is infectious, drawing you in deeper and deeper with each problem solved.”
While Becky hones in on the engineering and math elements of the word “STEM,” Dr. Christina Swan focuses on the “ST” part. A high school teacher at a private school in Austin, Christina incorporates many of the technologies used in the fields of molecular biology and chemistry in her classroom.
Christina’s number one piece of advice for kids aspiring to go into STEM: Go for it.
“There’s something amazingly beautiful in science, and if you have a passion for this, follow it,” she says. “Don’t be afraid of failure; be brave, study and enjoy.”
Science doesn’t stop in the classroom, though. Her 9-year-old daughter is already learning tremendously from her mother’s work. “How many 9-year-olds get to practice pipetting DNA into a gel?” Christina jokes.
“The science nerd in me loves watching the developmental process and to see how different, yet alike, my two kids are,” Christina recounts about her 9- and 3-year-olds. “It’s given me a wonderful, deeper appreciation for my own mom…it gives me a glimpse to the past because that’s a picture of the love she gave to me.”
Here at PopUp Play headquarters, nothing warms our hearts more than seeing excitement for learning, building and doing being passed on from generation to generation. A big thanks to all the moms out there, and a Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Many thanks to Austin’s chapter of GirlStart for empowering girls in STEM and connecting us with Becky Jeanes.