A post over at Dr. Isis' blog has got me thinking about how to encourage girls to consider careers in math and science. I don't think I have any original insight on that. It has also got me thinking about my own experiences in high school, and since this is a blog and blogs are good for self-indulgent reminiscing, I think I'll go ahead and indulge.
I have very clear memories of our homecoming assemblies in high school. We'd all gather in the auditorium, and former members of the football team, cheer squad, and pom line would come back and be introduced to our applause. The returning cheer/pom line women would perform a dance, too.
I have no recollection of how the returning football players were introduced. The returning cheer/pom line women were all introduced using the following formula: "This is X. She graduated in Y, and now she's married and has Z kids!" For some reason, probably related to the number of years after high school at which coming back and performing a dance sounded like a good idea to former cheerleaders and pom line members, Z usually equaled 3. So we would sit through a bunch of introductions like this: "This is Janet Smith, but in high scool she was Janet Brown. She graduated in 1985 and now she's married and has three kids! And she still fits in her old cheer uniform!"
I had a fantasy of returning and being introduced as "This is Cloud! She graduated in [let's not say], and now she's married and has three degrees!"
I, unfortunately only have TWO degrees. My graduate institution did not award MS degrees on the way to the PhD. I suppose I could go get an MBA or something so that I could live out my fantasy. But that would be silly. I wasn't in cheer or pom, so I would never be on that stage in the first place.
So here's my thought on encouraging our geeky kids, male and female: maybe our high schools should start inviting their academic high achievers back for homecoming, too.