Fresh Leaf Forever

Empowering the next generation of STEM leaders

May 16, 2023 Vai Kumar interviews Stephanie Espy Season 3 Episode 3
Empowering the next generation of STEM leaders
Fresh Leaf Forever
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Fresh Leaf Forever
Empowering the next generation of STEM leaders
May 16, 2023 Season 3 Episode 3
Vai Kumar interviews Stephanie Espy
In this conversation, Science Technology Engineering Math(STEM) enthusiast, book author and Math SP founder Stephanie Espy talks to host Vai about how STEM is omnipresent in our lives and is not limited to just being forms of study. Vai delves deep into gender inequality in STEM and how our guest Stephanie is doing her part to address this and empower the next generation to take to more avenues in science, technology, engineering and math to problem solve the most pressing issues in this world, including sustainability.
 
 A fascinating chat with our guest, an MIT alumni, on factors that need attention to be able to let young minds find their true calling and get passionate about building their future. 
 We focus on :

  • STEM being sort of omnipresent in our lives
  • How children can think beyond the realms of a curriculum and a classroom in using STEM to address real world issues
  • Gender inequality when it comes to STEM and addressing this
  • Igniting curiosity and passion for the world we live in, & the key to tapping student potential
  • Building confidence in students, role of research and publications
  • SP Method - Strategy and Problem solving
  • How students can become better test takers, Stephanie's SP Method
  • STEM Gems- her book and story of 44 women in science and technology
  • It's impact on younger generation
  • Disparity in percentage of women in stem in colleges - in engineering and computer science & why not to shy away
  • Role of STEM in saving our planet and our future; the potential to volunteer or innovate
and much more ....


Tune in today, and get valuable insights on how best to contribute in a field where there's plethora of possibilities. There's no boundaries when it comes to tapping into our inner potential and Stephanie is a great example herself of how every woman, every person of color can succeed and carve a niche. Learn why STEM could be for everyone, so you can innovate and transform some real world issues !!
 https://mathsp.com
 https://stemgemsbook.com


Send us a Text Message.

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Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

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Show Notes Transcript
In this conversation, Science Technology Engineering Math(STEM) enthusiast, book author and Math SP founder Stephanie Espy talks to host Vai about how STEM is omnipresent in our lives and is not limited to just being forms of study. Vai delves deep into gender inequality in STEM and how our guest Stephanie is doing her part to address this and empower the next generation to take to more avenues in science, technology, engineering and math to problem solve the most pressing issues in this world, including sustainability.
 
 A fascinating chat with our guest, an MIT alumni, on factors that need attention to be able to let young minds find their true calling and get passionate about building their future. 
 We focus on :

  • STEM being sort of omnipresent in our lives
  • How children can think beyond the realms of a curriculum and a classroom in using STEM to address real world issues
  • Gender inequality when it comes to STEM and addressing this
  • Igniting curiosity and passion for the world we live in, & the key to tapping student potential
  • Building confidence in students, role of research and publications
  • SP Method - Strategy and Problem solving
  • How students can become better test takers, Stephanie's SP Method
  • STEM Gems- her book and story of 44 women in science and technology
  • It's impact on younger generation
  • Disparity in percentage of women in stem in colleges - in engineering and computer science & why not to shy away
  • Role of STEM in saving our planet and our future; the potential to volunteer or innovate
and much more ....


Tune in today, and get valuable insights on how best to contribute in a field where there's plethora of possibilities. There's no boundaries when it comes to tapping into our inner potential and Stephanie is a great example herself of how every woman, every person of color can succeed and carve a niche. Learn why STEM could be for everyone, so you can innovate and transform some real world issues !!
 https://mathsp.com
 https://stemgemsbook.com


Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to 

Intro: Fresh. Leaf Forever, a podcast that gives you fascinating insights week after week. Here's your host, Vai Kumar.

Intro: Hey folks. 

Vai Kumar: Welcome to another episode on podcast Fresh Leaf Forever. Today I have here with us Stephanie Espy. She is empowering the next generation of STEM leaders by imparting STEM fluency. She offers this to students and is forging a society in which every child is motivated to create and realize his or her fullest potential.

Vai Kumar: Stephanie is a chemical engineer from MIT with also a theater arts background and is with so much joy that I welcome her here to podcast Fresh Leaf Forever. She is the founder of [00:01:00] Math S P. A very renowned program here in the south and offering it to, I guess, globally. Everyone now. Hey Stephanie. Welcome to Podcast Fresh Leaf Forever.

Vai Kumar: How are you today? 

Stephanie Espy: Hi, very happy to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Vai Kumar: I guess you have had a long journey doing so much of wonderful stuff in stem. So when did you first realize that math and science. Are not just these forms of study and it's sort of very much part of our lives. It's like omnipresent.

Stephanie Espy: Yeah. You know. I was probably in my early teenage years when I realized that math and science is all around us, and I think that was both cause of my parents as well as my teachers. My parents were very good at including me and my siblings into, you know, things that they, that needed to be done around the house or outside in the yard.

Stephanie Espy: [00:02:00] And one of those things was, Fixing the car. If there was ever an issue with one of my parents' cars, it was you know, my dad was the one that was really equipped to get under the hood and figure out what was going wrong, but he also made sure that I and my siblings were a part of that. And so we had a chance to understand cars and how they work and, you know, problem solving, you know, figuring out what the issues are.

Stephanie Espy: And how do we fix those issues? And so that was an early, you know, sort of case of like, This is, this is physics. You know, physics is a class, of course, one of our core classes in, in the study, in, in the classroom, but it's also driving cars, fixing cars at physics. And so I didn't know that I was learning about the principles of physics, but that's essentially what I was doing when I was trying to.

Stephanie Espy: Help him to uncover, you know, the challenges with the car. And then that applies also to fixing anything around the [00:03:00] house that needs to be fixed. You know, you could look it up and and figure it out, take it apart, put it back together. And that was a part of my normal upbringing. And then, you know, when I first took chemistry in, and I think it was.

Stephanie Espy: 10th grade, I learned a lot about science, of course, and a lot of the textbook knowledge, but also the experimentations that we did helped me to connect chemistry to, again, the real world. And so it was really both a combination of my parents and, and what I learned in school. So I think it was an eighth, ninth, 10th grade, like that timeframe is when I really saw.

Stephanie Espy: Applications of math and science to things I was doing at home, things 

Vai Kumar: around me. How nice. How nice. Not everyone gets that chance to be part of, you know, hands-on activities. And I'm glad you for one, got your parents got you oriented when you were very young. But how do you think children as such perceive stem to be Stephanie?

Vai Kumar: I think some of them tend to [00:04:00] be very scared hearing that term, right? Oh, science that's just ginormous. It's just they think it's just so puzzling when they seem to, you know, even associate the term STEM in their school 

Stephanie Espy: curriculum. And that's why I think it's really important to have those applications.

Stephanie Espy: Cause if you're just memorizing the equations, And you're just cramming for a test or a quiz. And you cannot see how what you're studying applies to the real world. Then your perception of STEM is, I think, not very positive. You may not understand why you're learning the things you're learning. You don't know when you're ever, ever used the things you're learning.

Stephanie Espy: You know, we've, you know, I hear kids a lot say, you know, why do I care about this? Why do I need to know this? And so if they don't have an application to something real world, then that's their mindset. And so STEM applications are hugely important for kids, especially to be under, be able to understand why [00:05:00] they're learning the things they're learning.

Stephanie Espy: So that whole mode of, you know, project-based learning and learning. About like when you can connect different classes together and study an issue from different perspectives, then you're able to see how the importance of stem and you're able to appreciate it more because you realize that everything around you, everything around us.

Stephanie Espy: It's stem, it's, it's created by a process. It's created by a person, you know, it is been created. There is a creator of the things that we use every day. Someone had to put it together. Someone had to think of it and model it, and. Created and distributed and manufacture it. If you start thinking about the world in that way, then you're, you start realizing the importance of stem, how we depend on it for our day-to-day, literally minute by minute, you know, lives.

Vai Kumar: Very well said. So how do you think this project based learning can be [00:06:00] incorporated in curriculums, even in schools, right? I know you do. A lot of it in math, SP. Which we'll come to because I just want to devote a good chunk of time to what you do and how you do things there. But when it comes to the school curriculum, Just like you pointed out there, it may not be just cramming some equations and memorizing and just going and taking exams.

Vai Kumar: Right. So how do you think educators and even students can take advantage of their education system currently and turn the science, technology, engineering, and math into more of an application-based learning process? Well, 

Stephanie Espy: fortunately, project-based learning is becoming more and more common in the different schools.

Stephanie Espy: You know, that's definitely the the way we want to go. Where, where you are taking something that's real world, something that's happening currently, something that the kids care about, and you're figuring out how you can apply [00:07:00] math and science. To that real world, world problem. So I think it's becoming more and more common.

Stephanie Espy: I know that, for example, in my daughter's school, she works on lots of different projects and they do a great job of incorporating project-based learning into the things that they're studying and the things that they're learning. So I think it's something that, you know, more and more we're seeing happen.

Stephanie Espy: Mainstream, but I, you know, I like the idea of surveying kids, you know? Okay. What do you guys care about? What problem in the world would you want to see? What you want to help solve? You know, what bothers you? What keeps you up at night? What keeps your parents up at night? And then just have them throw ideas, you know, whether it be homelessness or, or poverty or climate change or whatever it's, they care about.

Stephanie Espy: It could be something global or something more local, more community-based. So then once you have a chance to survey the students in your classroom and understand what they care about, what their [00:08:00] concerns are, then that's, you know, the topic of a project that you can use. To incorporate different modes of learning and around that project.

Stephanie Espy: So that becomes a central theme that all the learning revolves around. So I think that, again, that's a very, I think more, more and more common practice in schools and becoming more mainstream and getting the student input. It's particularly important, I think for them to really latch onto it. You know, that's not always the case because teachers, you know, plan ahead and they have have things in mind that match up to the curriculum, match up to the standards.

Stephanie Espy: But whenever possible to give students either options. Or to let them choose. That's just a great way to get them really engaged in learning and also connect what they're learning to something that they care 

Vai Kumar: about. Wonderful. Yeah, right there, you brought out several things, right? Homelessness, poverty, climate, crisis so much.

Vai Kumar: And I think [00:09:00] even this whole climate crisis, it's like a. Bigger piece of a puzzle, which has so many other components around it, like gender, inequality, poverty, everything. You know, because lack of education is. Contributing to that in some way as well because there aren't others that can contribute when, when there's like a hundred that can contribute, there's probably only like 60 or 70 that are able to, because the other 30 live in a portion of the society that doesn't have like that much of education.

Vai Kumar: Right. So there's so much pieces to that bigger puzzle and you rightly brought it out there. What about gender inequality when it comes to stem? I know you have focused a lot on empowering girls and women in stem, and of course we are going to talk about your book as well. What is it that you're seeing, Stephanie, even today when it comes to gender inequality in stem?

Vai Kumar: And how better can we address 

Stephanie Espy: that? Well, it's [00:10:00] interesting that we're having this conversation today. Cause today is actually a very special national day. It's called Introduce a Girl to Engineering and this Oh, nice. Yeah. This entire week is engineers week, and today in particular is to engineering. And so I was.

Stephanie Espy: Looking up the stats just last night because I wanted to share them today on my social media, and the most recent stat is that 16% of engineers in the workplace are women. 16% are women and under 6% are women of color. So there is a definite inequality, gender gap in engineering, and it's them in general, especially for women of color.

Stephanie Espy: And so that is really why I do what I do, because I am one of those 16% and I am one of the 6% under 6% women of color. And so it's critically important that we. Set up [00:11:00] initiatives early on to get girls interested in math and science in stem, particularly those careers that are changing the world and those careers that are, are just underrepresented by women and people of color.

Stephanie Espy: So I think there's a huge opportunity, and that's why a day like today exists to bring a national awareness to the underrepresentation of. Women in stem, the gender inequality of women in STEM these days are set up to really shine the light and increase the visibility on the challenges and the issues.

Stephanie Espy: Yeah, the numbers are not where we want them to be, and so there is work to be done on all levels to to help close the gap, to help bring more girls. And women into STEM career. 

Vai Kumar: So what then is the key to igniting curiosity and passion in this world that we live in, and how better can we tap student potential?

Vai Kumar: What [00:12:00] is it that you go after, say? If we wanna see few years down the line, that 16% becoming at least 40%, where you know there's that much involvement of women in stem, how better can we tap into student potential and get them going in the right direction? 

Stephanie Espy: Stem? Well, it just starting early with repeated exposure and repeated experiences.

Stephanie Espy: You know, everyone has potential. It's just you have to nurture that potential and you cannot dismiss someone when they don't have, you know, even a, an early interest. Sometimes the interest develops later on. Sometimes the interest develops with a different conversation or a different opportunity. So the more opportunities, the more touchpoints you have with, with students and girls early on, and often the more interest develops and that develops over time in some cases.

Stephanie Espy: You know, kids are kids and, and they don't always, they don't know what's best for them. And sometimes, you know, it's, it may take many different touchpoints for them for it to [00:13:00] click or for it something to turn on. And you never want to exclude someone because they haven't presented an interest or because they.

Stephanie Espy: From not making the higher grades because you know, you never know when that light bulb may turn on for them and when they will finally recognize a passion or interest that they didn't have before. So, so continuing to ignite curiosity and continuing to expose girls in particular. To a wide range of opportunities in STEM and giving them different project based learning activities to connect to things that they care about.

Stephanie Espy: Those are the ways to really change these numbers and to help them to understand how STEM careers really do impact the world. 

Vai Kumar: And you said it very nicely, again, you said not to exclude anyone based on grades and stuff like that. So how then, Do you empower that population, those kind [00:14:00] of student groups that are perhaps not showing that much inclination initially, and who probably could use like a good boost of confidence, right?

Vai Kumar: Hey, after all, you know, this is not something that you wanna tread away from, but you still can explore. It can be fun. And then finally, you can decide whether. This is indeed the route you want to pursue me. Well, it 

Stephanie Espy: kind of goes back to what I just said. It has to be, you have to connect to something they care about.

Stephanie Espy: If you're putting something in front of them they have no interest in, then they're not gonna connect with it. You have to find out what their interests are. You have to ask them questions, engage what they care about, what issues they're concerned with. And connected to that. And so you have to have a student central approach where you're focusing on that particular student or group of students and you're designing your lessons around what they have identified as something they care about.

Stephanie Espy: So a student centered approach is [00:15:00] the way to get them excited and interested in something that you want to expose them to. So that's, that's the way to go. And again, to. Try different things. You know, it is not a one size fits all. You can't put something in front of a group of students, expect for everybody to resonate.

Stephanie Espy: That's not the way people are. Everybody is multidimensional. So you have to figure out how to reach a student based on who they uniquely are. 

Vai Kumar: Again, leads me to this next question, but you brought out there very nicely how a one size doesn't fit all. So it, it's a lot of research and understanding on the part of both the educator.

Vai Kumar: And when it comes to students also with stem, there is lot of research involved, right? And you have done a. Great bit of research and several publications. To your credit, why don't you talk about the role of research that's so significant when it comes to stem? Well, 

Stephanie Espy: research is great because it allows you to study something that hasn't been studied.

Stephanie Espy: Right. [00:16:00] And for a lot of scientists in particular, it is really encouraging to do something that's completely original and novel and contribute to the world in that way. So a lot of research scientists are really figuring things out. Things that are, are based on, based on a question, based on hypothesis, and then you spend the time researching and experimenting in order to come up with an answer to the question.

Stephanie Espy: Some research is, you know, has been one of the things I've enjoyed the most, you know, in my career. It's been one of the most challenging. And stressful, but when it, when, but it's also been the most rewarding especially when you are able to figure something out in the end and all the hard work and effort pays off and then you're able to publish.

Stephanie Espy: You talked about publications and. Is really sharing your research with the general population so that they can now understand something that was initially not understood very well. And so research and, and [00:17:00] publishing that research is the, really the goal of of being a scientist. 

Vai Kumar: Yeah. And then you finding math s p your signature program, what is your goal, Stephanie?

Vai Kumar: What are you trying to accomplish via maths? Sp well, maths 

Stephanie Espy: sp started over a decade ago. Because I wanted to increase the number of girls and students of color that were going into STEM careers, and it was my belief that one of the hurdles of choosing a STEM career is not having a strong foundation in math and science.

Stephanie Espy: So Maths P is an organization I founded in 2009 in order to strengthen the foundation of math and science. Amongst students in middle and high school in particular. Because they're not going to decide to pursue a STEM career if their foundation in math and science is not strong. They're not gonna have the confidence to pursue a career in STEM if their foundation in math and science is not strong.

Stephanie Espy: So if I could strengthen that foundation [00:18:00] and help them to see that STEM is all around us, like we've talked about earlier, help them connect STEM to something they care about, then perhaps they may see the potential of a STEM career. And become interested. So that is really the, the bigger strategy or goal of creating Maths P was to help bring more women or middle girls and people of color in particular, into.

Stephanie Espy: STEM pipeline by increasing their foundation in math and science and the subjects that really matter the most. You can't go into a data science career or an actuary career career without having a found a solid foundation in math. You don't feel, you won't feel confident going into those careers if your math foundation is not strong.

Stephanie Espy: So if I can help you strengthen that foundation, you may decide. You know, becoming an actuary or a data scientist or a statistician is a career for you, but not until you feel solid in your math foundation. And so you [00:19:00] understand that you have the skills on what it takes to pursue one of those areas.

Stephanie Espy: Same thing with engineering or science or any of these. To the STEM areas is that if you don't have that solid foundation, then you remove that career from the table. It's not even an option. So that's really the purpose of maths. P is, is it's all about the foundation that is established and K through 12 of education and making sure students have a very solid firm foundation and have the confidence that they need to pursue a STEM career.

Vai Kumar: Mm-hmm. Wonderful. You said 16% women in technology, right? And then 6% as people of color. And with math, SP having been around for a decade now, where were the numbers when you first started Stephanie, and what kind of Trend are we seeing over the past decade? 

Stephanie Espy: And those are the numbers for wo, for engineering in particular.

Stephanie Espy: So not all of stem. I research the numbers for women in engineering in the workplace. So when you look at the number of [00:20:00] women earning degrees in engineering, it's a higher number. It's about quarter 20, 20, 23, 4%. But , one of the challenges is that a lot of those women leave engineering workplace is.

Stephanie Espy: Lower than the number of those with degrees. And similarly for women in stem in general, the number about a quarter and that has really remained as far as I can tell, and what I know remained consistent throughout the years. The number of women of color has remained between three to 5%. I mean, it depends on what category of women, of of women you're looking at.

Stephanie Espy: Cuz women of color is a. Broad. So when you're zooming in on African American women or Hispanic or whatever it is, you know, you have to look a little bit more deeply into to those buckets to see those numbers. But anything that's single digit, that's under 10% to me, even if it's, I mean, it's. I'd like to see the trend, the line trending up, but it's [00:21:00] still single digit is just not acceptable.

Stephanie Espy: Having women leave the workplace after they've, you know, gotten so far in terms of studying and getting a degree and then leaving, is also unacceptable. We want to get more women, young women and girls to choose STEM careers, but we also need to do a lot of work to keep them in those careers once they're there.

Stephanie Espy: Yeah, 

Vai Kumar: definitely. You know, there's still more work to do. That's, that's just very evident from right, from the numbers that you just shared with us 

Intro: here.

Vai Kumar: Back in a moment with our guest on Fresh Leaf. Forever,

Vai Kumar: what about your SP method? That's a lot of strategy and problem solving, right? How do you teach these young minds? The importance of say, Hey, okay, it just involves strategy. And then when once you figure out that's how [00:22:00] you know you go, problem solve. So how do you kind of take them through the different steps of faces so they can just kind of get a better understanding of the overall picture, Stephanie?

Vai Kumar: Well, 

Stephanie Espy: yeah, helping them understand strategies is, is critical because when you're looking at. How to tackle a real word problem, or even, you know, simpler, how to tackle a word problem in that they're given as a part of an assignment. You know, you have to be able to take that problem and take it apart, understand the pieces of the, of the problem.

Stephanie Espy: You know, phrase by phrase, sentence by, you know, understand all the inputs, you know, what are you getting, what do you, what do you know? And then what are you looking for? What do you not know? And then how do you go from what you have, what you're given to, what you're trying to accomplish, what you're trying to arrive at, and that process of taking what you have, what you know, what you're given to, [00:23:00] coming up with a solution is you know, is a process, is a strategy to that.

Stephanie Espy: But it starts with knowing, really being able to identify the problem. And making sure you truly understand what it is you're looking for, a lot of times in the classroom that's not always clear. Students will read something very quickly and then say, I don't get it. I don't understand it. So helping them to understand the question, understand the problem statement, that's the first step.

Stephanie Espy: What are, what are you trying to figure out? You know, if you can't articulate that, then you know, then that's obviously, there's no. You can't go past that first point without articulating what it is you're trying to to to figure out. And then what tools do you need to figure it out? You know, there's a lot of tools in the toolbox.

Stephanie Espy: You don't need all of them, but you may need two, three, or four of them. So what are the tools that you are given and which ones do you need in order to.[00:24:00]You know, solve a question, solve a problem. So that is part of the strategy as well. And then repetition, problem solving. You get good at math and science by solving problems over and over and over again.

Stephanie Espy: Similar problems, right? So it's like, okay, you're studying a certain concept, you're not fully understanding it, you're not grasping it well initially. Well, how do you get better at that? You do more and more problems. You keep practicing the steps, the process. Strategy and then at some point it starts to stick.

Stephanie Espy: So I think it's also helping students and to understand that even though you don't understand it day one or right, you know, initially, doesn't mean you won't be able to understand it later. It's just you have to do the practice to get there. Can't give up in that process with a lot of girls, you know, that mindset of.

Stephanie Espy: I don't get it. I'm not good enough. I'll never get it. You know, helping them to change that mindset cause that's not the case. It's just, it just requires a lot more effort and [00:25:00] time to, to understand fully and to feel comfortable. Your abilities. 

Vai Kumar: Uhhuh just a shift in the thought process can really tweak their approach also.

Vai Kumar: Right. Where then does the gap live when it comes to students being great. Test takers. I often find some of them are like very good in their classroom, very good in what they're supposed to do, right? Just regular scheme of things. Regular tests and quizzes and exams when it comes to their curriculum. But then when it comes to like these competitive tests, how come students, some of them that are great students, where lies the gap when it comes to that, that process?

Vai Kumar: Stephanie, how they tackle, say like an S a T or a GMAT, or. G r e. 

Stephanie Espy: Well, these types of standardized exams are a huge final exam of what you've learned starting from early childhood, three, four, and five when you learned how to count. And simple addition, subtraction all the way through high school. And [00:26:00] so it's essentially a comprehensive exam of concepts that you learned when you were middle school, elementary school, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Stephanie Espy: The things that my daughter is learning in fourth grade are things that she's going to need on these competitive exams when she is. 15 and 16. So if she's not understanding what she's doing now in fourth grade, then she's gonna have challenges when she is taking those tests later on in life. So it's important that as you go through your education, the things that you're learning are you truly understand them because it's all gonna come back when it's time to take the S A T A C T, gmat, gre whatever test you're taking.

Stephanie Espy: These things will come back. My daughter's studying fractions now, which is a hard concept for a lot of people. If you didn't understand it when it was introduced, it wasn't explained in a way that it makes logical sense, then you're gonna struggle with fractions. When you are taking the s a t I'm gonna have to relearn concepts, review concepts.

Stephanie Espy: So that's what happens is [00:27:00] that kids who do well in school can still have challenges with the standardized exam. Cause one, they haven't. Seen a lot of the content for years and so they have forgotten a lot of it. And two, it is a mixed bag of things they've learned throughout the years. It is not going to be a test of chapter five when they can go home and study chapter five and go in school and take a test on chapter five and make an A on the test.

Stephanie Espy: Cause it was all about chapter five. These tests are gonna be a combination of all the chapters from all the years, and you have to be able to read a question and know what tools to use. On that particular question, and that is why is a challenging test. And that is why doing practice questions and, and knowing the language of the test and knowing what's on the test and what's not on the test and is important.

Stephanie Espy: You don't wanna go and take any of these tests without having prepare for it. You want to go in there. After taking many, many, many practice tests after knowing what the question [00:28:00] types are, how they're structured, what the timing looks like, you know you're prepared for these exams so that you can, you know, do well as well as you do on a school test.

Stephanie Espy: So that's really the. To become a better test taker is, is just really knowing the test that you're taking, doing lots of practice questions, making sure you are getting help when you need it, and reviewing concepts that again, you learned throughout your entire education that maybe you have forgotten. Refreshing yourself on some of those concepts.

Stephanie Espy: So how 

Vai Kumar: then do you reinforce those, you know, what do you do at Maths Sp to help them become better test takers? Like your signature method, your approach. So, exactly. They have clearly forgotten, right? Because they are used to that approach or just because the concept, how it was introduced to them and they were in fourth grade or fifth grade may not be necessarily in a way that's like a project based or interesting type of, Learning.

Vai Kumar: Right? So in that case, [00:29:00] it may not really sit with them for years down the road. So how do you reinforce those? 

Stephanie Espy: Well, it's just what I said. You have to spend the time reviewing concepts that you want new. So taking that time to refresh and review concepts that are tested that you learned back in fourth, fifth grade is part of becoming a better test taker.

Stephanie Espy: We have to take the time to practice consistently on the areas where you have identified as having a weakness. Recognizing the concepts that you need practice with, and recognizing the types of questions on the test and doing lots of practice problems so that you can strengthen. Do, how do you do well in anything?

Stephanie Espy: How do you do well in, in learning a new instrument? How do you do well in. Cooking a new recipe. How do you do well with learning a new video game? How do you do well with riding a bicycle, right, or playing a sport? This is really no different. It requires you understand your mistakes, understand the things that you are [00:30:00] lacking in, and it requires a lot of practice.

Stephanie Espy: In those areas to get better at it. Like I said, it is really no different from anything else. You do really well. How did you become, how did you become so proficient at doing that so well, a lot of practice, a lot of time, a lot of consistency, a lot of effort. You have a coach who can help you correct your form.

Stephanie Espy: Who can help correct your stance, you know, can help identify where you're, where you're going wrong, the types of questions you're missing. So that's, that's sort of the same thing when it comes to taking a standardized exam, . 

Vai Kumar: And given that Students spend a lot of time in their main form of education, their curriculum.

Vai Kumar: Say, go to a school, then come to math, sb, however that may be. How then are you able to devote the time to kind of even reinforce these concepts in like any project based mode of learning? How do you help them get a better understanding and become better Test 

Stephanie Espy: takers help practice. Making the [00:31:00] time, making something outta your schedule so that you have more time.

Stephanie Espy: You know, you have to use time management skills in order to fit in things that are important. You know, when you're taking a standardized test, you're studying for a very finite amount of time. It's not a, it's not something you're studying for forever. So in that timeframe, you have to remove something that is not as important.

Stephanie Espy: So that you can make more time for what is important, which is preparing for the test. And then in that time you are doing the necessary things to improve. Again, just like perfecting a new recipe, you're, you're getting in the kitchen, you're getting your ingredients, you're figuring it out, you're practicing your skills.

Stephanie Espy: And to the point where you are, where you want it to be. You have reached your target score and then it becomes almost second nature at some point, right? Then you can make that recipe over and over again, and it's like that initial effort and time it took to perfect it. Now it's less and less time required because now you know exactly what you're doing.

Stephanie Espy: You know [00:32:00] exactly how to do it. Same thing here. The more you know, it may acquire a lot of time up front, but the, the better you get at it and the, the. As you strengthen your skills, it will require less and less time. 

Vai Kumar: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And STEM Gems, your book and story of 44 Women in Science and Technology.

Vai Kumar: Why don't you talk about all of that, you know, what made you write it and the whole journey and everything about it and the impact you had in empowering the younger generation further to 

Stephanie Espy: that book? Well, we can talk about that for about. An hour or two easily. It's, it's just, I don't, it's a lot so, To unpack but I'll just give a a a short answer in that.

Stephanie Espy: STEM gems is all about helping to close a gender gap. We've been talking a lot already about underrepresentation of women in stem and one of the different ways I, you know, try to help bring more girls into STEM outside of creating a math SP, is by [00:33:00] creating STEM gems because. Another challenge outside of having a solid foundation in math and science is not knowing the opportunities that are that exist.

Stephanie Espy: We've all heard that phrase, you can't be what you can't see. You won't be what you don't see. So for a lot of girls, they can go well into their adulthood before they even know the opportunities. So it's, it's all about making sure they know early. The different careers that are available for them and that they have role models in those careers.

Stephanie Espy: And so STEM gems is about giving girls role models and early exposure to STEM careers and to women in stem, increasing the visibility of women that are currently working in stem. So they are in the limelight. They are highlighted and recognized. So that they can serve as role models and mentors to the next generation.

Stephanie Espy: So the stem gems book shares the stories of 44 phenomenal women in 44 different careers because it shows the breadth [00:34:00] of careers and it also shows the breadth of women that have pursued these careers. And it, it really appeals to so many different types of girls and, you know, they can find themselves in these stories and then they can adopt new role models they didn't even know existed.

Stephanie Espy: So it's, it's just giving them a whole new set of women to look up to that are not mainstream. You know, you're not gonna turn on your television and. And or look on the cover of Magazine and see these women. But you will open this book and you'll see them and you'll learn more about them and their work and what they do and how they change the world and their advice.

Stephanie Espy: And you'll walk away, hopefully inspired and empowered to pursue a STEM career similarly to what they have pursue. 

Vai Kumar: Mm-hmm. Uhhuh. And we already talked about the disparity in percentage of women in stem. In you know, in the workforce and even, you know, their path in the education system when it comes to the engineering [00:35:00] curriculum and computer science then, or what is something you would tell girls and women as to why not to shy away?

Stephanie Espy: Well, there's studies that that show girls care about careers that change the world. Girls want a career that they can make a difference and change the world and make money. So if you wanna make a difference in the world, If you wanna help people, if you want to make money, then STEM is definitely something you should consider.

Vai Kumar: And when it comes to the role of STEM science, technology, engineering, math, in saving our planet and our future, and the potential to say, get involved in volunteering initiatives or to innovate. What is some advice that you would 

Stephanie Espy: offer? So get involved in your school activities, get involved in your community activities.

Stephanie Espy: Find organizations that you can connect with to introduce you to different opportunities, different ways to learn, find mentors. Connect with social media influencers [00:36:00] who are sharing their stories and their journey and their work with the next generation. There's lots of ways to get involved. It just sometimes takes a little bit of effort and research.

Stephanie Espy: Reading the symptoms book is a great first step to understand what the opportunities are. What are some opportunities that you haven't necessarily considered up until this point? There's a lot of guidance and advice. That is shared by the 44 different women in the book. Use them and use their advice and their guidance to help you figure out, you know, what your path can look like.

Stephanie Espy: And then, like I said, there's plenty of opportunities, whether they're in your school or not in your school. If they're not, they're in your community. And so connecting with, you know, your local chamber of Commerce or connecting with your local college colleges tend to have programming designed for kids.

Stephanie Espy: And so connecting with your local colleges to understand what programs they offer. So there's opportunities out there. It just [00:37:00] sometimes require doing some digging to figure out how you can get involved, how you can volunteer, how you can, Connect with, with like-minded people or how you can just try something new, try something different, try something you haven't tried before to figure out if you like it.

Vai Kumar: Yeah, get inspired. Find out what your true passion area is, and then channel your efforts towards that. That just sums it up very nicely. Anything else you want to add about your contact information and. Your social media channels and anything more about Maths sp that you wanna share? I think the forum is your 

Stephanie Espy: Stephanie.

Stephanie Espy: Sure. Well, for maths SP I would say check out the math SP website, that that is a great place to go just to learn more about maths SP and to look at our different services that we have. The website is math sp.com. You can also find maths appeal on Instagram or Twitter or [00:38:00] Facebook. For LinkedIn, it's for boys and girls starting in middle school.

Stephanie Espy: So starting in middle school for boys and girls. Absolutely. For those who, who are having a challenge in their math or science class. For those who. Maybe have missed a lot of school or just learned better, you know, when they have someone that, that can, they can ask questions of in a one-on-one setting.

Stephanie Espy: Sometimes, you know, there's kids who, when they have, you know, their peers around them, they're not as comfortable speaking up in the classroom. So this is opportunity to really connect with someone one-on-one is for those who wanna get ahead. You know, our students really are wide ranging in terms of the reasons why they sign up with Maths P you know, definitely check out the website to learn more about it.

Stephanie Espy: To learn more about STEM gems, you can also visit that website, which is stem gyms book.com, and also look on the Stem gems book, Instagram page. And there's also a [00:39:00] Twitter and Facebook for STEM gems as well. So of course your social media would be a good place to go. As well as the web, the two websites.

Vai Kumar: And use social media to channel your efforts in the right direction. That's again, you know, get inspired, follow the right people, spend, spend your time proactively there. And is this just an in-person program or is it also like virtual that people in other parts of the globe can take advantage of?

Stephanie Espy: Yes. Math is p is both in-person and virtual. So if you are not, In the Atlanta area where we are based in person, then we can still have opportunity to work with you virtually no matter where you live. There are virtual opportunities as well as some in person opportunities, depending on where you live.

Vai Kumar: Perfect. Thank you so much, Stephanie, for taking the time to talk to us today, and I'm sure many, many girls would realize. The power and potential of STEM via your message that you have offered here. And we look [00:40:00] forward to connecting with you back again in the future. Thank you so much. Oh, 

Stephanie Espy: it was a pleasure.

Stephanie Espy: Thank you for having me 

Vai Kumar: today. Wonderful. And listeners, as always, follow the podcast, rate the podcast, and leave a review from your podcast app of choice. And until next time, with yet another interesting guest and yet another interesting topic. It's me Vai saying so long.