How Franchising Helps Me Inspire Future Women in STEM
The Importance of STEM Today
Children today are being exposed to scientific and mathematical concepts starting at a young age, as careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are becoming increasingly important. It is evident, now more than ever, that jobs in STEM are needed to keep society advancing. By introducing children to STEM when they are young, they are gaining the confidence needed to excel in the field. However, the STEM education that most schools offer does not consider the fact that this subject is not one-size fits- all.
Enter Mad Science. Mad Science has developed science programs that are kid-tested and approved. From their beginnings in 1985 to the present day, they have always believed that hands-on, fun STEM experiences form the foundation of a lifelong love of science, technology, engineering, and math.
I decided to join Mad Science in 2004 because I was looking for something parttime after receiving my master’s degree in arts and cultural policy from the University of London. Over time, I found myself enjoying Mad Science more than my fulltime corporate job, leading me to be open to more opportunities within the brand. My background in a subject completely unrelated to STEM, combined with my love for all that Mad Science has to offer, contributes to my belief that learning STEM benefits more than just those who want to pursue a career in it.
Taking the time to explore and understand science concepts is beneficial to all because it helps us acquire skills that can be applied in a multitude of situations. For example, the Mad Science curriculum encourages
using creativity to solve problems. Our instructors lead programs that cover a broad range of subjects and turn each class into group discussions. This is a great way to encourage teamwork, which is a useful skill that children should get familiar with at a young age to begin their lifelong journey of learning and growing.
Making Education Fun
We have a large array of programs at Mad Science, from after-school programs to camps to birthday parties. From smaller projects such as making slime, to larger projects such as launching rockets, we have something that every kid will like. At my location, we like to play with electricity and robots. What makes Mad Science so
special is that each location is different with unique owners and instructors. For instance, a franchisee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a hydroponic plant growing station that draws the eyes of children, teachers and parents alike.
I’m a mom to four so I understand how hard it is to excite children about learning. This is especially hard in this day and age when most kids are glued to their devices. My kids are obsessed with coming to my Mad Science location and are in awe of the engaging experiments and study of things. We also have kids come in for parties that leave begging their parents to enroll them in a program. Some have even asked for autographs afterwards! Watching the kids get so excited about STEM makes me proud to be a Mad Science franchisee and makes my passion for what I am doing grow stronger.
Another thing I like to see, in addition to children enjoying our programs, is the fact that about 50 per cent of them are girls. I know that as a child, I really enjoyed learning about science, but I decided to pursue dance instead. This was partially due to my own passion, but I would have appreciated being in a program like Mad
Science or even being encouraged to do both. I keep my own experiences in mind when teaching future generations and want them to know that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Impact on Local Communities
One of the best parts about owning three Mad Science locations is that they are all very different. The location in Charlotte is a mix of private school and lower income communities. Triad is more involved with the school systems’ enrichment programs and we have a strong relationship with many schools in the area. Raleigh is
similar to Charlotte and more involved with the town. Despite the diversity of these communities, the results are all the same; children enjoying STEM limitlessly.
We also encourage the children to bring these communities together with their knowledge of STEM by doing things like demonstrating the proper ways to recycle and compost and understanding coding and how a computer works. We want future generations to be inspired to help one another and get excited about all of the
opportunities they will have later in life.
Being a Woman in Franchising
While being a woman in franchising is an incredible accomplishment, there are many obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get to where I am now. Not only is it hard to come by women in business leadership roles, but women in STEM are also few and far between. In fact, the number of women in board positions in STEM-related industries in 2020 was 19.2 per cent. I enjoy being a woman franchisee because I am able to be my own boss and empower the women around me. I work hard, but it does not feel like work because it is truly
my passion. There is a saying that goes “do what you love and you never work a day in your life,” and I feel exactly like that. I also believe that enthusiasm is contagious.
No one will care about your job more than you, so it’s important to lead by example and put forth twice the effort you expect to see from your employees. As someone who is able to be involved in both fields, I want to let every girl know that she can do whatever she wants, no matter if the odds are stacked against her. At the end of the day, being a woman in STEM is the best thing you could do for the young girls watching you.