As part of our series on Women In Science month, we’re turning the spotlight on women who’ve pursued STEM and STEAM careers, and asking them to reflect on what first sparked their love of Science, how they forged their career paths, and what advice they would give young women hoping to follow in their footsteps.

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Kelsey Ansbro is a STEAM Teacher at KIPP Vision Primary School in Atlanta.

“When I was in school, anytime there was a hands-on activity I would instantly be engaged.  I’ve always loved the opportunity to be creative, tinker, and learn in an active way.

My fascination with science started with field trips to the science museum- they were always the BEST field trips and had so much to do.  That idea of being able to touch everything in the museum was mind-blowing, because when you think of museum I always think “look with your eyes, not your hands” but this museum was the opposite!

I got a lot of encouragement to pursue Science when I was young, from making “potions” in the bath tub to my parents allowing me to take lead on any of my science projects. I was able to almost teach myself in a lot of ways- given complete autonomy over my early science education.  When I got to high school my science teachers were ALWAYS my favorite teachers.  They made an effort to always keep us in it.  My physics teacher regularly took us to the roof of our building to drop things from- because what better way to learn about gravity and acceleration than by dropping objects off a five-story building!

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I honestly never thought I’d end up being a science teacher. I started at KIPP as a Kindergarten teacher but when an opportunity to take over the STEAM position became available.  I now get to be the teacher to bring in a ton of fun materials and teach, what I think is, the best subject around, STEAM!

We certainly have our work cut out for us though.  Last year, I attended a STEAM conference and one of the speakers said that when children were asked to draw a scientist, it was typically a male, so every day I show up to teach and make sure every single scholar is represented.  I think that parents and teachers can make a point to incorporate women in STEAM fields on a daily basis.  It might require a little work for parents and teachers up front, but it is absolutely worth it for our young ladies to see themselves in STEAM positions and know that they are capable of doing anything they set their mind to.

I always want my scholars to follow their passion, but if their passion has something to do with STEAM, then I’m here to say Do it! Do it! Do it! I always teach at least 1-2 lessons on careers in STEAM to my scholars, especially my older classes.    Women bring a fresh perspective to traditionally male dominated fields.  But also, I want my ladies to know that STEAM covers such a wide range of careers!  I want them to see there are LOTS of careers that use STEAM skills.  You want to design clothes?  Install solar panels?  Color hair? You need STEAM!  Having women in STEAM fields fosters the talent that women have, provides representation for young minds and has opened endless opportunities for our young women today.  We stand on the shoulders of women in STEAM, and without them the world would truly be a different place.

During remote learning, it was hard to keep students engaged in hands-on Science, but KVP was able to host their first ever Virtual Science Fair! Scholars were challenged to ask a question, make a prediction, perform an experiment, develop a conclusion and then record a video of their presentation! It made my teacher heart SO happy to watch every single submission and see how committed and creative scholars and families were on their own time! The science projects truly became a whole household project, with siblings serving as lab assistants and parents recording, producing, and editing videos.  At the moment this is my biggest accomplishment, seeing my scholars dedicate themselves to science outside of our school building.”

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Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.