While I appreciate every element of STREAM, my favorite would have to be "E", for engineering. Engineering is near and dear to my heart because I come from a family brimming with engineers! My love for applying math and science to the world around me runs deep in my blood.
My father was a civil engineer working on hydro electric power plants for the City of Seattle for 35 years. My brother is a civil engineer managing storm water systems that directly impact the environment in Washington State. My father-in-law was an electrical engineer that patented antennas and helped send Neil Armstrong to the moon. My two brother-in-laws followed in their father's footsteps and became electrical engineers.
Despite all the love surrounding engineering in my family, we represent the disappointing fact that engineering has the lowest percentage of women who study and work in this field out of all the STEM fields. I never considered it as a college major for myself because it clearly wasn't a popular choice for young women. Instead, I was encouraged to read, write and become a teacher.
While I have no regrets and am grateful for the opportunities and support I had, I often wonder how different my life may have been if I had access to a museum like kidSTREAM. Growing up in a lower-middle class neighborhood in inner city Seattle, I did not have access to community STEM opportunities of any sort. As a latchkey kid of full-time working immigrant parents, I had no idea that the Seattle Children's Museum even existed until I was an adult. My inclination towards building things, my love of bridges and desire to understand structures would have benefited greatly from having experiences in a playful environment that could ignite my imagination to explore and learn.
I often wonder how different my life may have been if I had access to a museum like kidSTREAM.
Thankfully, after having children of my own, I was fortunate enough to be able to drive to surrounding area children's museums and give my kids as much access to STEM learning as possible. Throughout those visits, I could live out the joy of engineer play as we'd explore exhibits together; fostering wonder and appreciation for every STREAM element. Still today, I enjoy building LEGO houses, assembling furniture and admiring architecture and design.
The mission and vision of kidSTREAM Children's Museum are all the more important as I reflect upon the need for all children to have access to engaging environments to explore, play and discover. Too often experiential learning is available only to families of means, who can travel longer distances to take their children to museums. Because early STREAM learning opportunities can change a child’s life trajectory, kidSTREAM is committed to access for all children, regardless of socioeconomic, physical, developmental and emotional ability.
The potential to impact and enrich the lives of thousands of children across Ventura County and beyond is a cause worth getting behind. Learn more about about how you can get involved in bringing the full vision of kidSTREAM to life, and join us as we set out to inspire and empower kids to become critical thinkers, innovators, and life-long learners.
Development Director, kidSTREAM Children's Museum