ADHD in Adults: Signs that You Have it and Signs that You Don’t


We all have trouble concentrating sometimes, but when regular patterns emerge, it’s time to get help.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and so in order to better understand this condition, it’s worth exploring the signs and science around it.  The tricky thing about ADHD is that it’s not a clearly defined condition.  There are types and the psychiatric field has been accused of over diagnosing and over-prescribing the medications used to treat attention deficit1.

Unlike other psychological conditions that have definable parameters, ADHD doesn’t show up in brain scans.  It’s really a highly individualized process of determining if a person exhibits a collection of signs that interfere with quality of life.  These are some of the telltale signs that someone is suffering from ADHD:

  1. Focus. Regular inability to maintain concentration throughout regular tasks can be a sign that a person had ADHD.  The corollary, or flipside is “hyper-attention” where the person fixates on a task to the point of sacrificing other, equally important tasks2.
  2. Forgetfulness.  We all slip sometimes, but when someone routinely fails to remember important, recurring dates, times, or locations to the point where family or career is suffering, this might be a signal2.
  3. Paralyzing self-doubt.  This goes beyond the normal level of indecision or tired decision-making brain, it’s an inability to prioritize to the point where the individual feels unable to act at all.  It happens often enough that it starts to impede on relationships, school, work or any other mainstay in daily life2.
  4. Anxiety.  In psychological circles, professionals often say, “Anxiety and depression are cousins.”  The feelings that start to arise from repeat failures when it comes to organization can compound and drive more impulsive and anxious behaviors2.

Now if at this point, you executive moms are saying to yourselves, “ that sounds like me,” let’s delve a little deeper into these symptoms and look at them from a cultural perspective.  We work longer hours than the rest of the industrialized world3 and absorb more information than any other time in history4.  It’s easy in these times to become overwhelmed, and when we are overwhelmed, our brains don’t do their jobs to the best ability.  Here are some further indicators that you are simply living in a very fast-paced, modern world and you need a vacation rather than a prescription:

  1. You do not work well under pressure.  ADHD patients respond to the adrenaline rush of deadlines and crisis; it snaps them into focus. For the rest of us, chaos is the thing that interferes with our thinking. 
  2. You have recently experienced a trauma.  The body and brain have dramatic responses to trauma, whether that trauma is physical or mental.  The stress response, the release cortisol, literally interferes with decision-making5.  Do not expect your injured self to perform to your normal level when you have sustained trauma.
  3. You are naturally organized and on time.  Time, space, and prioritizing are very challenging daily obstacles for the ADHD sufferer.  If you are good with these things under normal circumstances, you are likely not ADHD.
  4. You feel like you are meeting your potential.  One of the hallmarks of ADHD is low self-esteem with regard to performance.  This develops into a cycle of over-commitment, failure and shame that starts to interfere with all aspects of life.  You might not meet your expectations everyday, but if on the whole, you feel like you put your best foot forward, you probably do not have ADHD.

The good news is that there are many life-style changes that can rectify the symptoms of ADHD for adults.  Reducing or eliminating caffeine, getting plenty of exercise and sleep, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol can really help to set focus issues straight.  If you or someone you love is experiencing these issues, discuss strategies with a health professional. 


  2. – Overview1

Call of the Wild: 9 Valuable Tips for Camping with Kids


Make your child’s first summer camping trip a revelatory one.

For city dwellers, this is the time of year when some campfire and starlight is an irresistible prospect.  Who doesn’t love the anticipation of packing the car with gear and food to set out on an adventure?  Well, if you have toddlers or a new baby, there is a right way and a wrong way to go camping.

We want our kids to get that epic dose of nature, be comfortable, and feel alive without the constant drum of traffic and stimulation of the screens.  So starting early is a good idea, but there are some things you might want to try as preparation for your family’s upcoming camping trip if they are new to the process.

  1. Try a dry run. Kids often love this prospect and it’s a good way to see if they will manage with being outside in a tent.  You can set one up in the backyard and let them hang out in it, set up their own sleeping bags, and give them flashlights for nighttime.  If we are talking about small children, you obviously want to stay in the tent with them.
  2. Put them in charge of their personal effects.  By giving your children a little task and a personal duffel, you help them contain their things and give them a job.  It makes them feel important and gets them in the habit of returning their things to the proper place. 
  3. Get them in on the preparation and explain what it’s going to be like to camp out.  Not only should the kids help, it’s also an easy way to inspire excitement.  Consider writing up a list of basic things everyone should pack for themselves that includes stuff like socks, extra shoes, underwear, toothbrush, etc.  Before you start to pack the car, just read off the list and everyone can check off the items.  It’s kind of like the army, but more fun.
  4. Do your homework and choose wisely.  For best results, assure your camping spot is kid-friendly.  Sometimes it can be hard to tell and your new “neighbors” might be up all night drinking beer and playing heavy metal.  The best way to ensure you find a park that is suitable is to call the on-site manager.  These folks usually live on the property and they can tell you what the expectations are. 
  5. Always look up the fire conditions and educate your family about the rules.  This is so crucial in hazard areas; often people don’t realize that their little bonfire is a potential forest fire.  Look up your location with the fire service and follow their guidelines.  Instruct your children about adult-only tools like lighters, coal, and lighter fluid.  Your dream vacation can quickly turn into a trip to the ER if the kids don’t understand about hot barbeque pits, hot lanterns, and other dangers.
  6. Bring friends.  One great strategy for taking your kids on their first camping trip is to go with another family.  It doubles the excitement and means there are more adult eyes on the kids.  This way, the grownups can take turns supervising, and everyone actually has a chance to relax. 
  7. Talk to everyone about the wildlife.  Depending on where you go, there may be all manner of fauna and flora, some of them dangerous, some of them harmless.  Don’t be that Yosemite tourist who painted honey on her husband’s face so a bear could lick it off.  True story!  Explain to everyone that the animals are in their habitat and all of you are visiting.  That means don’t feed, don’t approach, and don’t leave food or garbage around as an open invitation for raccoons. 
  8. Some essentials: Flashlights, DEET-free bug repellant, sunscreen, aloe, first aid kit, books or magazines, frisbees or paddleball, and heck, why not bring some glow sticks too?
  9. Remember to chill.  The best part of camping is…the nothing.  Don’t hyper-schedule, or the kids will miss the point about relaxing and being schedule-free.  Lounge by the water, read a good book, take a hike, and really revel in your leisure time.  Keep meals really basic; everything tastes better in the fresh air, and again, the kids can help with the food prep and the clean up.

It’s work, but if everyone does their part, no matter how small, your children will take to camping like fish to water.  Remember that the prep and organization is part of the fun, and remind everyone that they have to help out on the return as well.  These summer excursions are the ones kids remember throughout their lives, so do your best to make those memory glorious. 

Breast Cancer News and Prevention Tips


Staying on top of the latest research and recommendations can be life saving.

It’s likely that someone you know has gotten breast cancer; the current rate is one out of every eight women, approximately 246,000 people are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year.1  Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.  These statistics are scary, but the key to prevention is knowledge.

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so check out the following quick facts and guidelines sourced from the latest data and the experts on the frontlines. 

  • The good news is that breast cancer rates are decreasing. There are a few reasons cases of breast cancer are dropping.  In 2002-2003, doctors found a link between HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and breast cancer.  Just that abating of HRT saw a 7% drop in that year.1 
  • Mortality rates continue to decline since 1989, a shift that researchers credit to early intervention.  Cancer can be detected when it is the size of pin head, and with fast-growing cancer, that can be the life-or-death difference.
  • Because we are able to see far deeper into the genes, we understand contributing factors more comprehensively, for example, 5-10% of breast cancer patients can attribute it to a mutated gene, called BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women born with these genes run roughly 50% more likely of developing breast cancer.  In a bold move a few years ago, Angelina Jolie announced she was getting a double mastectomy because she was genetically predisposed toward breast and ovarian cancer1.
  • Advances in more strategic and selective anti-cancer drugs provide promise.  Recent development of a group of enzymes called KDM5 histone demethylases appear to inhibit regrowth of cancer cells at Emory University School of Medicine.2breast-cancer-IMG3
  • The latest data suggests women perform self-exam at least once a week from the age of 20 on. Women over 45 should get a mammogram once a year, according to the American Cancer Society.3
  • Signs include lumps, changes in color, a rash around the nipple, a change in shape or discharge.  If you see these signs, book a doctor’s appointment.
  • The biggest factors in prevention are diet and exercise.  In fact, even if you have cancer in your genes, you can turn that predisposition around in one generation through staying active and eating right.  Reason number 1001 to take care of yourself. 

We have to walk the walk when it comes to disease prevention.  Breast cancer will one day be history, but right now, our most powerful weapon is taking charge of our own personal health and science.




True or False: Surprising Facts About How Raising the Minimum Wage Will Affect the SMB


With all the shouting going on around raising the minimum wage, how can you tell what the implications will be for your business?

Every few years, the debate about raising the minimum raise comes up and depending on whom you ask, it’s a great idea, or a terrible one.  An economy is an ecosystem, and you cannot flood one area without another area feeling the impact,whether that impact is immediate or spread out over the long term.  

From entrepreneurs with fledgling startups to old-world institutions, this is a big conversation.  Employers must always walk a fine line between wanting to pay their quality people well and maintaining operating costs.  This line can fluctuate wildly depending on the kind of business you run.  

Yet, the public is often misled about the larger implications of raising pay,historically speaking, so it’s worth examining what economists, small business owners, and other experts in the field have to say about it.  

True or False: Raising employee pay will force many businesses to lay off their labor.

False: During the last round of debate in April of 2014, seven Nobel Laureates inEconomics joined 75 other advocates to present an argument in favor of raising theFederal rate from $7.25 per hour to $10.10.  Simply stated, upping the minimum means workers have more money to spend, which acts as a boost to the economy.In the past, businesses have seen little to no impact on their labor force and the key is to index the living wage according to inflation1.  Because the cost of living has shot up so dramatically in many American cities, places like Seattle and San Francisco have set the bar at $15.00 per hour.  Those new rates have yet to go into effect and so the outcome is unclear.[2]

True or False: A higher hourly wage will force businesses to raise their prices.

True: But it varies widely.  Take for example the restaurant industry, which relies on minimum wage workers and requires high overhead.  Even if a restaurant reorganizes for more efficiency, it often cannot afford to let employees go, so the cost gets passed onto the customer.  By contrast, law firms won’t be affected as directly since these types of businesses don’t have many or any minimum wageworkers at all.

True or False: Businesses will have access to a more skilled labor pool.

True: Another advantage that more diversified businesses (companies that have both minimum wage earners and skilled labor) will see is that they can start people at entry level with a more broad skill set.  It potentially opens up the field of available candidates for entry-level positions.  However, the downside is that management positions will also require adjustment, but business owners say that the long-term costs associated with raising pay will balance out with hiring a more skilled and specialized workforce [3].  
True or False: New businesses and startups will get hurt the most.
False: Older, more established businesses are often less flexible in their business practices, where young companies are prepared to scale accordingly.  That elasticity is key in responding to the pressures of the market, so new companies are often better-prepared, and willing to pay workers more.  
The business owners in America are split on the subject, but it’s interesting to note that the smallest businesses with 1-9 employees are overwhelmingly in favor of a national pay hike, where large companies would like to keep labor prices where they are [4].
It’s important to consider the intangibles when upping your workers’ pay; it’s great for morale and employee retention.  Also, more effort on your employees’ parts will likely mean gains in productivity.  One of the key decisions entrepreneurs must make is what to pay employers for the work in order to sustain and grow their companies.  If you are starting a business right now, factor it into your business plan that the price you pay for labor is likely going to change.    

Single and Working: 7 Ways to Balance Your Dating Life and Professional Life


Somewhere around the age of 27, it may seem like you’re attending a wedding every other weekend.  This new “hobby” can take up half of the free time you have, particularly in the warmer months.  Gifts, questionable bridesmaid dresses, travel arrangements, etc….you get the picture, and let’s just say the effort and dollars add up quickly.

But this isn’t a problem.  You want to celebrate with your in-love friends, and your evolving career with paid time off is supporting the costs as well as your availability to not miss a thing.  But that very career brings up a really good point – as a single person with a focus on your professional success, how in the world do you yourself have time for a little romance?  How exactly did that happy couple whose wedding you’re attending this week get there themselves?

Dating is challenging enough at anytime in life, but when you’re in, say, college, at least the social environment seems to lend itself to meeting new people on the regular basis.  It’s not always the same as a hard-working adult, especially as a number of your peers are quickly marrying off.  You actually have to put forth effort into finding and keeping eligible dates, and the process requires time, effort, and even a little courage.

If you’re finding yourself at this crossroads, here’s a little insight to help you on your dating path, as you navigate through the daily demands of your career:

  1. Online dating can work. We understand if you’re rolling your eyes at this one, but consider a few points.  If you don’t have time to regularly hit up the latest restaurants or something along those lines, perusing others looking to date online can be a much faster route.  Also, according to a 2013 study from the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” individuals using online dating sites tend to be better educated, employed, and have a higher rate of marital success if they find a partner through an online dating service.  Remember, always initially meet up with a first-time online date in a public place; be smart and keep it safe.
  2. Make time for at least one regular activity. Even with a busy work schedule, it’s imperative to your mental health that you enjoy other aspects of your life, as it only boosts your productivity while on the job anyways.  Whether it’s a weekly happy hour with some friends, volunteering, church involvement, a fitness class, or some other social venue, these types of comfortable environments can be a great way to meet possible dates while also doing something positive for yourself.
  3. Consider a lunch date. Do both of you work downtown?  Does one of you work from home?  If hours are long and/or you’ve got a laundry list of stuff to do in the evenings, lunch break may offer the flexibility to meet up for a date.  Better yet, if it doesn’t go well, you have the truthful out of saying, “I have to get back to work now.”  There are even dating services that support first meeting people midday; check out It’s Just Lunch.
  4. Who let the dogs out? Have a furry friend that is cooped up a lot while you work long hours?  Taking your pooch to a dog park on a Saturday morning is not only beneficial to you both, but it’s also a great place to meet other singles.  Men and women who have dogs make particularly good partners, as they demonstrate the ability to care for another being, offer a sense of responsibility, and are able to form emotional attachments. 
  5. Try speed dating! This approach was made for the busy professional.  Kind of like a musical chairs with human chemistry, speed dating is a proven and time effective way to meet a future partner.  At an event, all participants are given a numbered badge, and will rotate around to spend time with everyone there.  When the activity is over, everybody writes down the badge numbers of who they were interested in, and any mutual matches are then informed so that they can go from there.
  6. Having multiple priorities is okay. So maybe thanks to speed dating or the dog park, you met a person you really like and enjoy being around.  In order to spend regular, valuable time with this person to get to know him/her better, something’s gotta give in your busy life.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a sacrifice, but rather a readjustment.  Between work and your daily responsibilities, though, you may be wondering, “When can I even see this person?”  Remember, if developing a relationship is important to you, just like your career is, you’re going to have to make it a priority in order for it to work.  This may mean moving your exercise session to before work, reducing time spent on an activity, or blocking out one evening per week where you are unavailable to work late.  Your whole life is a balance, and you’re doing your company no favor if you’re selling yourself short in other important aspects.
  7. Compartmentalize! If enjoying a healthy dating life and an advancing career would be the best of both worlds for you, the best way to keep these two separate worlds happy is by in fact keeping them separate.  This means when you are on the job, fully commit yourself to the tasks at hand, and when you’re on that date you set aside the time for, make the most of it, leaving work concerns at the office (and that includes not looking at your phone!).

So whether you’re a 20something or not, if you’re a wedding guest for the umpteenth time this summer, remember to keep it all in perspective.  Just like your career, a successful relationship wasn’t built in a day.  It has to be well established and nurtured; the whole process takes effort from the start.  At work, you’ve already demonstrated your intelligence, as well as your time management, cooperation, and creative skills, and these all can translate to also finding happiness in your dating life.  Clearly the trick is keeping everything balanced, and with some of the tips discussed today, it is possible, and maybe before you even know it, that next wedding you’re attending could be your own.

How Are We Doing With Saving the Planet? Surprising Facts about Eco-Friendly Consumer Practices


We are all on-board with working towards a cleaner, healthier earth, but is it working?

In the last thirty years, society has seen a seismic shift in consciousness when it comes to caring for the planet. We all buy the green products, recycle, and conserve water in this new era of climate change, but is it actually helping?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the messages we receive about what is good for us and what is good for the planet. On the one hand, all this relatively new information makes us feel a little more in control, and having options is great, but it’s hard to know if any of this is having an impact. Here are some telling facts about the shifts in consumer behavior around the environment.

Fact: Consumers are more likely to pay more for eco-friendly products. Though green products represent a small slice of the market (around 3% in 2014), bigger retailers have taken on leading green brands like Seventh Generation and Method, pushing brands like Clorox to develop competing environmentally safe offerings [1].

Fact: Recycling has dramatically reduced waste. Between 1960 and 2013, Americans went from recycling 6% of their waste to 34.5% [2].

The moral: keep up the good work.

Fact: Organic matter makes up a huge component of our garbage. “In 2013, America recovered about 67 percent (5.7 million tons) of newspaper/mechanical paper and about 60 percent of yard trimmings. Organic materials continue to be the largest component of MSW,” according to the EPA. That amounted to 87.2 million tons of material ending up as landfill [3].

The moral: separating compost, recycling, and yard trimmings is an easy way to reduce waste.

Fact: Not all green products are actually green. A study in March of 2015 conducted by the Journal of Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health concluded that of the 37 items analyzed, 17 of which were “green,” the study found 42 different chemicals determined to be toxic by the EPA. 100% of the products labeled “green,” “organic,” and non-toxic had at least one toxic chemical.

The moral: look up your trusted brand and make sure it is worthy of your trust.

Fact: Cell phones are a serious problem when it comes to disposal. The boom in device use over the last 10 years has had a dramatic impact on waste management. Because the lifecycle of a typical cell phone is somewhere around two to three years, e-waste is now a huge concern. A test simulating the deterioration of a cell phone in a landfill illustrated the leaching of lead at levels 17x more than the acceptable federal threshold[4].

The moral: recycle your old phone!
Fact: Electric Cars are the most solid choice in terms of carbon reduction. There is plenty of back and forth on the electric car model: it is after all, not technically zero emissions because it relies on electricity to charge its battery, so depending on where you are, your Tesla could be powered primarily by coal. However, a survey of studies conducted at various universities found with all the energy considerations, that electric vehicles still perform better than hybrid, and exponentially better than combustion engine vehicles[5].

The moral: plan for your next car to be an electric vehicle; it’s the wave of the future.

Fact: Slow is the new green. The slow food movement that has emerged globally emphasizes the health benefits to consumers and the environment by sourcing food from local farms, cooking at home, and dining at local restaurants versus big chains or eating processed fast food. As a result, you are seeing “slow fashion” where in-house designers deal directly with their shoppers, and while the price tag is higher, the quality of the merchandise is built to last. Eco or slow tourism hopes to reduce the impact of traveling and tourism on local economies while maintaining the revenue stream.

As consumers, we need to continue to use our spending power to influence the market, by supporting companies that are acting responsibly and redefining the paradigm for buying and selling. The good news is that it is working. The even better news is that we can do better.





4 Rainy Day Activities that Every Age Child Can Do


When weather interferes with big plans to get some whole family exercise and entertainment, the default is often lying around watching movies and eating carbohydrate-rich snacks. And while everyone loves that, it can take a toll on the household mood and make it harder to get back out and get active. So to chase away the rainy day blues, we put together some fun alternates that all ages can enjoy.

  1. Bowling! Taking a trip to the lanes is a low-prep excursion with high entertainment value. It’s a classic tradition that let’s everyone join in. Kids love the two-tone shoes and the perfect roundness of the bowling balls. And the kinetic factor of the lane sweeper and the conveyor are always big hits with the kids. Some bowling alleys offer special family discounts on certain days, so it’s worth it to do a little research.
  2. Aquarium! Most big cities these days have an indoor aquarium when there kids can learn about marine life. The Travel Channel has a list of the best-rated aquariums in the country here: For a very unique and enchanting experience, these places are like indoor oceans: kids can get up close to some fascinating fauna and flora.
  3. Museum! One of the wonderful things about living in this era is that effort and intelligence that goes into learning museums for children. Parenting Magazine has a list of the most highly rated kids museums in the country:
  4. Music Class! Not surprisingly, kids music classes are all over the place, and they can really get their sillies out by singing and dancing. Music Together is a national organization that teaches kids basic music fundamentals and some locations also throw regular live concerts. Classes are designed from in utero (that’s right, music class for pregnant ladies) all the way up to age 7. Check out their website to find a location near you:

And if you’d rather not go out in the rain at all, here are three stay-at-home things to do that involve a lot of action:

  1. Puppet Show! String a bed sheet between two chairs and use stuffed animals as puppets. You can turn off the lights and use flashlights as spotlights. Hint: the more interesting you get with the story, the more fired up the kids get.
  2. Balloon Volleyball! Move those chairs a little father apart and, voila! Volleyball net. Do a quick check to make sure Great Aunt Betsy’s antique vase isn’t vulnerable and it’s game on! If you have a chalk or white board, let the older kids keep score.
  3. Sock Ice-skates! This is a total twofer where mom and dad get a clean kitchen floor and kids get to play like they are at the ice rink. Get some old socks (this is a great use for the ones without a mate) and a shallow, flat-bottomed bowl or container with soapy water. The kids can step into it and then slide around on the floor to their hearts’ content. When they are done, grab some used towels and let them slide the towels around with their feet, then you can go over any places they missed to dry off the floor.

It just takes a little creativity to get the blood flowing and humor everyone while the weather is less than inviting. Trying something new almost always pays off and another thing: on days like this, offering a few options and letting your children decide gives them a sense of control and they are more likely to engage with their own activity choices. Rainy days give the family a chance to work as a group, share, take turns and have healthy quality time.

Eat Your Way Around the World: France


In helping to broaden our kids’ minds, international cuisine is a great place to start. And while unfamiliar foods can put kids off, getting them involved in the preparation makes them much more likely to try new things.

All over the globe, France is recognized as an innovator in cooking. When it comes to cultivating the freshest ingredients and melding flavors and health, it’s really difficult to top France. Here are a couple really fun and intriguing dishes to try out on your kids, and while you are at it, you can impart a little technique and culture too.

Fondue. It’s totally delicious, simple and a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. Plus, it’s really fun activity in and of itself to use the long forks and dip things in the melted cheese. It does require some specific equipment, but a fondue set is pretty easy to come by. Plus, you can do the chocolate/fruit version around holidays and kids simply go nuts for it.

Crespéou. This is basically a fancy, three-layered omelet that comes together very easily and provides lots of opportunity to substitute in favorite flavors you know your kids will eat. The younger ones can grate and crumble the cheese while the older kids chop veggies and crack eggs. Here’s a great recipe from Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of Roald Dahl:

Chaussons aux Pommes (Apple Turnovers). The French really mastered the art of baking, and part of the reason is that their butter is such high quality. Folding the pastry is entertaining for children, and they don’t take very long to bake. You can also riff a little by throwing some spices into the filling.
To make it fun, have everyone pick an ingredient and look up the French word, so as your making these delicious dishes you can practice that tricky French accent. Your family will enjoy the lesson, and the food. Bon Appetit!

Supporting Girls In STEM Academics: The Latest Progress

susie almaneih

In the wake of International Women’s Day, we look at the progress we are making and where we need to go next.

As a nation, the U.S. has fallen behind on the global scale of young people entering the sciences, and the shortfall is significant[1]. In order to continue our strong streak in technology and to address some of the pressing problems we face as a nation, it is imperative that we look to young girls and women to fill these positions in the immediate future.

It is a very promising sign that other developing nations are changing their laws to allow women the right to education and professions[2] that were not accessible previously, and we should do everything in our power as professional women to assure our young women get the chance to make a difference that they deserve.

So what is happening out there in the world to support girls in STEM? Let’s take a look at the real work taking place in the name of female empowerment.

The Research:

An extensive series of studies supported by the AAUW, American Association of University Women, illustrates the tilted numbers in terms of hiring rates, raises, and paths to advancement in the workforce that favor men[3]. The project set out to determine if the percentages could be influenced with prescribed points of action.

The Solution:

The study used Harvey Mudd College as a test run to boost their female science graduates with a three-point plan. The results were staggering: in 2009, female

science graduates composed around 12% of the entire graduating class and by 2011, that number shot up to 40% while the national average remained static at


The Research:

The Cascading Influences project examined informal STEM programs and their impact on moving young women into science and math. The idea was to look at everyday experiences that might influence girls positively. While a multitude of programs had been instituted to evaluate girls in STEM, that evaluation process ended when funding for the program ended, so there was no ongoing examination of how this affected girls into adulthood. From the ages of 10 to 14, interest in the sciences drops off sharply among boys and girls4. This overarching study attempted to see how early experiences with STEM based projects influenced higher education.

The Solution:

Overwhelmingly, girls who participated in the numerous programs evaluated were more likely to remain interested and pursue careers in math, natural sciences, and engineering[4]. These women reported lasting positive experiences that shaped their professional identities and outcomes.

The Research:

Despite the fact that girls represent 56% of Advanced Placement test takers in all subjects, they only comprise 19% in AP computer sciences[5]. This gap is particularly troubling because IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and reflects significant opportunity for high-paying positions after college.

The Solution:

The National Center for Women & Information Technology supplies this report targeting educators, curriculum developers, administrators, educational

policymakers, school counselors, and parents to raise awareness and implement methodologies and criteria for inclusion, including breaking down social

stereotypes, providing role models, and addressing self esteem issues. You can view the report in its entirety here:

The Research:

Women comprise 51% of the population in the U.S., yet they only make up 18-19% of computer sciences professions. Even more alarming is that this number has plummeted from 37% in the 1980s. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be another 1.5 million jobs in this field, yet with the current rate of graduates, we will only be able to fill 32% of those jobs6. Young women can be the key to solving this shortfall.

The Solution:

Google partnered with the Center for American Progress to help address the need for women to enter IT-related industries. Google has invested $23.5 million in K-12 education to tackle the gender gap, estimating that it will aid five million young women in advanced computer study.

The Research:

All around the globe, women are underrepresented in the work force, and so countries are recognizing that if they want to remain competitive, the workforce itself need to change to support the untapped potential of removing gender barriers.

The Solution:

The online publication Mashable put together a list of countries and organizations who are making remarkable strides in shattering the glass ceiling. Brazil for

example, ranks first in STEM gender equality by instituting progressive social policies, state-funded tuition, and education abroad programs2. View the Mashable article for more inspiring examples of success worldwide:

While it can appear on an anecdotal level that women have achieved equality, there are still institutionalized attitudes that prevent women from entering these crucial industries, or from advancing in their careers. Not surprisingly, women have contributed significant innovations in the world of science and technology, helping to broaden our understanding and improve the human project.

It is clear that with guidance and resources, our young women are unstoppable in these arenas and if we continue to aid their progress, we are contributing to the future of humanity itself. For more on these exciting strides and how you can make your own contribution to these important projects, check out the National Girls Collaborative Project here:








5 Reasons that New Year’s Resolutions are Great for the Whole Family

A new approach to goal setting is a healthy way to ring in the New Year.

As the year comes to an end and we’ve all eaten too many holiday treats, it’s easy to give a big sigh and make some halfhearted proclamations. However, there is a deeper reason to set some intentions for the upcoming year, a pact we can agree to so that we make positive shifts.

This is actually an opportunity for all of us to put our best foot forward and to revamp some of our habits, setting a great example for our kids. Below are some of the benefits that New Year’s resolutions present to our children.

  1. Make it a family ritual. If every year, you sit down as a family and state your successes and how you would like to improve in the coming year, you allow everyone to set their effort along a continuum. In other words, we can help our children see beyond their daily experience and see their own big picture.
  2. Setting reasonable expectations. Often we set ourselves up for failure when it comes to our goals, in part, because those goals were not aligned closely enough with our present lives. Claiming that you are going to work out five days a week when you don’t have the time to work out once is a good way to disappoint yourself. Being realistic and implementing small, workable solutions is a kinder approach with a higher chance of success.
  3. Take stock in what you already do right. Before making some sweeping promises, take a good look at what you already have done that you can build on. We are so caught up in our culture with achieving, that we often miss the real gold right in our daily experience: our moments with our families, the joy of putting our skills to use, the essence of our daily experience. Taking a moment as a family to look at the good and how we can add in more is a positive step.
  4. Age-appropriate goals. Another consideration in putting our best foot forward is making goals doable for our children’s age groups. Pediatricians recommend that pre-school kids work on things like brushing teeth, working on the alphabet, or feeding family pets. The emphasis for ages 5-12 can be more personal like sharing, helping, or improving study habits.1
  5. Progess, not product. Psychologists have conducted studies on “mindset” that indicate both kids and adults actually perform better on any given task if they are encouraged to improve, rather than prove their inherent skills. To put it another way, the human mind is more elastic when it adapts a growth mentality, rather than a “win” mentality2. So one of the best things we can do is point out our children’s headway, rather than their accomplishments. Applying this to resolutions, fostering development at the things that they already love to do, is a really a practical and actionable way to self-discipline.

To sum up, we can use the New Year to flog ourselves for not delivering on our overblown promises, or we can use it as a genuine motivator to further our goals. The distinction is subtle, but important, and it makes huge difference for our kids in demonstrating genuine effort. Take these last days of 2015 to count your blessings, acknowledge your milestones, and move your personal projects ahead together as a family.