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Author Archives: A Mighty Girl Staff

  • Lillian Kay Petersen of Los Alamos, New Mexico developed a tool to help aid organizations better plan for food shortages by using satellite data to predict crop harvests early in the growing season.

    For 17-year-old Lillian Kay Petersen, the impact of hunger on children has a personal face: "Nine years ago, my family adopted my three younger siblings, all of whom faced food insecurity in their childhoods," she explains. "I have watched my younger siblings struggle with the lifelong effects of malnutrition." Inspired by her siblings' experience, Lillian developed a tool to help aid organizations better plan for food shortages by using satellite data to predict crop harvests early in the growing season. Her tool yielded such impressive results that she was awarded the $250,000 top prize in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the United States' oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. The Mighty Girl from Los Alamos, New Mexico is thrilled by the honor and the potential of her research to help children facing food insecurity around the world so "they don't face malnutrition and lifelong consequences." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Once a 'Rosie the Riveter' during WWII, today 94-year-old Mae Krier is making Rosie-themed face masks to help fight the pandemic.

    When Mae Krier was 17 years old, she took a job at a Boeing factory in Seattle in the midst of World War II, joining millions of other American women filling critical labor shortages at factories and shipyards after the male workers left to fight overseas. Today, at 94, she's stepped up to help the country overcome another crisis by making fabric face masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus — and, to pay tribute to the heroic women of WWII, her masks are in the polka dot fabric of Rosie the Riveter's iconic bandana! "This virus is actually like another war, and we’ve gotta pull together if we’re gonna conquer it," Krier asserts. "We did it, and we can do it." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Green Berets were one of the last assignments in the Army without any female soldiers since the Pentagon opened combat and special operations roles to women in 2016.

    A National Guard soldier has become the U.S. Army's first female Green Beret since the Special Forces unit was formed in 1952! The woman, who cannot be named due to security concerns, recently completed the famously grueling Special Forces Qualification Course and received her Green Beret along with her classmates during a graduation ceremony last week in North Carolina. Her graduation was a particularly noteworthy milestone for women in the military since the Green Berets were one of the last assignments in the Army without any women since the Pentagon opened combat and special operations roles to women in 2016. "Half of the world that we have to deal with when we're out there, half of the people we have to help, are women," said retired Lt. Gen. Steve Blum, a 42-year Army veteran and 16-year Green Beret, when the unnamed soldier passed her initial assessment in 2018. "The days of men fighting men without the presence of women is long gone." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Joanna Cole's bestselling series starring the beloved Ms. Frizzle, which sold more than 93 million copies, made science fun for generations of kids.

    Joanna Cole, the author of the beloved The Magic School Bus book series which made science fun for generations of kids, died this week of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 75. Through her books, Cole aimed to make science fun for kids as they followed the adventures of a group of schoolchildren taking field trips on their 'magic school bus' everywhere from outer space to the inside the human body — all led by their exuberant, red-haired teacher Ms. Frizzle. In the decades since the first book was published, The Magic School Bus has grown to include a variety of books, an animated TV show, a series of science kits; and, this year, plans for a live-action movie adaptation. "Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story," Scholastic chairman and CEO Dick Robinson said when announcing her death on July 15. "Joanna's books, packed with equal parts humor and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Mamie Nell Ford's picture made headlines around the world and helped spur the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    When she joined a "swim-in" in St. Augustine, Florida on June 18, 1964, 17-year-old Mamie Nell Ford had little idea that her picture would soon be seen around the world — and help spur the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. On that day, seven civil rights activists, including Ford, jumped into the segregated pool at the Monson Motor Lodge to protest its 'whites-only' policy. As journalists looked on, the motel owner's James Brock responded by dumping acid into the pool in an effort to drive them out. Ford recalls that her immediate reaction was "I couldn't breathe," and a photo of her with an alarmed expression as Brock pours acid nearby appeared in newspapers around the world. When people learn about the incident today, Ford says, "I'm often asked, ‘How could you have so much courage?’ Courage for me is not ‘the absence of fear,’ but what you do in the face of fear.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • In the face of the coronavirus crisis, the non-profit Row Venice, which describes itself as a group of "passionate women and expert vogatrici," said that "we were more than happy to volunteer our boats and crews to lend a hand."

    An all-female group of gondola rowers in Venice, Italy has been providing grocery deliveries for vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis! Row Venice, a group of "passionate women and expert vogatrici" — the Italian word for rowers — is dedicated to preserving the traditional Venetian style of rowing. After Italy announced a lockdown in March, the nonprofit organization decided to deliver groceries to elderly and immunocompromised people to help meet the huge increase in demand for such services. As the group wrote in a Facebook post, "We were more than happy to volunteer our boats and crews to lend a hand." Continue reading Continue reading

  • These Mighty Girls have designed a cheap ventilator out of car parts to help with the pandemic fight in a country with only 12 working ventilators in its main coronavirus hospitals.

    The Afghan girls’ robotics team has joined the fight against coronavirus by designing an inexpensive ventilator out of automobile parts! The team members from Herat created the prototype after the governor of the Afghan province sent out a public plea for ventilators. The region is expecting an explosion in coronavirus cases due to a huge surge in Afghan migrant workers returning to the country from neighboring Iran, one of the disease's global hotspots. The impoverished nation is ill-prepared for any significant outbreak; as of April 2, the country's two hospitals designated for coronavirus cases had only 12 working ventilators between them. In response to this desperate need, the Afghan Dreamers robotics team developed a ventilator prototype which costs under $300 to make from parts that can be easily sourced in the country. "The only thing that we all want to do is help our people and our community," says tech entrepreneur Roya Mahboob, who founded the Afghan Dreamers program. "I work with the girls, but mostly to coordinate. They are the real heroes." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top tips for parents on keeping kids engaged at home while observing social distancing.

    With schools closing, events cancelled, and many companies urging employees to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, parents are facing an unexpected challenge. Since many of these closures overlap school March breaks, kids may not have homework to do — and even if they do, the lack of school and extracurricular activities will leave them with extra time on their hands. But that doesn't mean that parents can rely on their usual school holiday activities like playdates, playgrounds, and museum visits: as Dr. Asaf Bitton writes in Social Distancing: This Is Not A Snow Day, "even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent.... We need to all do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort for a while." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "'My Best Friend' is about the instant heart connection between two girls who meet for the first time."

    There are few joys as simple and as profound as a child's first friendship! In the course of a few hours — without even necessarily learning one another's names — two young children can forge a close connection that is unique to early childhood. These instant and joyful friendships are powerful moments in a child's life; Publishers Weekly aptly describes them as the "giddy infatuation when a child first meets another and feels an instant bond." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of the best new books for children and teens about incredible women from around the world.

    Gerda Lerner, the historian and scholar who pioneered the field of women's history, once said, "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist." But increasingly, we are reclaiming history, telling the stories of the girls and women whose contributions to our shared story deserve to be celebrated! As parents and educators, it's also important that we tell these stories to all of our children, boys and girls alike, so that they live in a world where history has always been about the contributions of all of humanity. Continue reading Continue reading

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