Author and researcher Amanda Sullivan and her son, Sidney. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Sullivan)
As a young girl, Amanda Sullivan never met any female engineers or scientists. She was never encouraged to pursue a hobby or club around STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“In my upbringing, STEM had both an implicit and explicit air of masculinity around it, both at school and at home,” Sullivan said. “I made up for this lost time in college and grad school where I learned I could solder, assemble robots, and code.”
Amanda Sullivan’s new book on STEM and girls. (Rowman & Littlefield)
Since then, Sullivan has devoted her research and educational career to developing playful, creative, and hands-on ways to engage girls in STEM, particularly in the technical STEM fields of engineering and computer science where women are the least represented. The author of a new book called “Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood” is our latest Geek of the Week.
Sullivan considers herself somewhat of a Pacific Northwest native. She lived in Kirkland, Wash., throughout her teenage years before moving to the East Coast for college and work.
“I received my Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Development at Tufts University where I focused on designing and evaluating educational technologies for young children,” Sullivan said. “My research focuses on using new technologies, like robotics and coding applications, to boost girls’ interest and confidence in STEM. In my research and writing I explore how young children develop potentially harmful gender stereotypes toward technical STEM fields and what adults (parents, educators, caregivers) can and should be doing about it.”
Sullivan recently moved back to Washington after over a decade living in various cities back east and currently resides in Lacey with her husband, 1 1/2-year-old son and a cat who thinks he’s dog. She does her writing and …read more