my journey of doing »

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journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

journey of doing - Florence Travel Photospinthisimage

for more florence travel photos (and tips and tricks): florence travel guide, st. regis florence,

st. regis florence river view, pizzale michaelangelo, and honeymoon in florence

Life has been CRAZY lately… for the last week I’ve been on boarding my current team (and trying to find a couple more staff members)…. which means that everything else in my life has taken a backseat.  Weekends are spent working with my own students and trying to get them in a good place because September is going to be CRAZY.  Absolutely NUTS.  (I can’t wait to share all the details on that… but I’m waiting on one last thing to fall into place before I share.)

This week, I read Steph’s list of things she stands for… and then I clicked over to Caitlin’s list of what she stands for… and it made me think about what I believe in… what do you believe in?

I stand for… 

  • Magnet schools that look like the demographics of the district they serve.  They shouldn’t be breeding grounds for the wealthy and privileged UNLESS your district is wealthy and privileged.  (Sorry… you’re probably going to hear about this from me this year.)
  • Buying yourself flowers if you want them.
  • Friends being family.
  • Being loyal to your spouse – in word and in deed.
  • Being a voice for those who don’t have one – whether that’s children, dogs, or the elderly.
  • Eating all the cookies or all the ice cream after a really bad day.
  • Nice hotels.  Whether it’s a once in a lifetime vacation, a staycation, or just taking a breather…. a good hotel room is hard to beat.  (I’m definitely not a camping kind of girl.)
  • Finding a way to give back to your community.  None of us got here alone.
  • Bubble baths – regardless of your age.  They’re good for the soul.
  • Being loyal.  There’s a reason our grandparents worked for the same companies their entire lives.  We should consider that when making company decisions that affect humans.
  • ….but also being wise enough to know when loyalty will kill you.
  • Educators knowing that we don’t make shoes here.  What we do affects human beings… so get ALL THE WAY in or GET OUT.
  • Making yourself uncomfortable to facilitate growth.  Challenge your thoughts and beliefs on a regular basis.  Make sure they’re still applicable instead of assuming the way it’s always been is good enough.
  • Empathy.  Feeling sorry FOR someone doesn’t help their situation.
  • Quality over quantity.   There’s a lot to be said for things that last versus things that don’t.
  • Stephanie Doyle - Love your list! Particularly loyalty and access to education – it should not be determined by anything – it should just be there for all.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - YES. Yes to all of this! I’m excited your team is growing and to hear about the work y’all accomplish this year for the students you work with!ReplyCancel

    • sara.e.miller@gmail.com - Thanks friend! It’s going to be quite the adventure, but I’m definitely excited about the new opportunities that have been thrown our way!! It’s too bad you’re so far – we could use someone with your enthusiasm and heart!ReplyCancel

About once a year it seems that I’ll hear some numbers or statistics that make me uncomfortable and a little sad.   Usually they come from the CEO of the Girl Scouts of North Texas, but this year they came from my friends at Smith College.

 

Last week, I had the privilege of heading up to Smith as a guest of the admissions office. Smith is a small, highly selective women’s college in the northeast and I was extremely excited to visit.

 

You see, I believe that there’s still a place for women’s colleges in education. I’m a huge supporter of single-sex education, particularly for girls who are still trying to figure out who they are. There’s far too much pressure in a co-ed environment, and there’s plenty of research that supports gender bias in the classroom. If you’re one of the lucky females who was (seemingly) born with a strong self-concept, hats off to you! I like to think I’m one of those women, but I also know that I would have benefitted immensely from a single-sex environment in high school and tried to get myself into one… but that’s another story for another day.

 

Anyway, I digress.

 

Like the Girl Scouts, Deb Shaver gave us some staggering statistics, but the one that makes me the most uncomfortable is that only 15% of working engineers are women. 15%. (Further, last year I learned that only 20% of women hold STEM degrees. 20%.)

Girls and STEM degreespinthisimage

We’ve made so many strides (hello, we can even be nominated for President now!), but we still aren’t working in STEM fields at the same rate as our male counterparts. We aren’t even trying.

 

This bothers me because I am an engineer.

 

And every time I hear the stats on how few girls stay interested in STEM, I feel like I sold out. I feel like I should be doing more. I feel like that I’m failing to be a role model for those little girls like me who loved science in elementary and middle school and then at some point between middle and high school believe that they aren’t math and/or science people. That they’re too dumb to do math or science. Or worse yet, that a STEM career isn’t for them because they don’t have a strong enough foundation to make it through their freshman year of college – but they don’t see it that way – they just see that they can’t do it. When… if they had more support, they could.

 

I know they could.

Because I did.

Girl with engineering degreepinthisimage

 

Here’s the rub though. The problem isn’t just that girls aren’t becoming engineers or going into STEM. The other problem is that girls don’t think they are leaders. Last year, when I heard the CEO of Girl Scouts speak, she gave us these staggering statistics:

 

92% of girls believe “anyone can be a leader”.

 

Only 1 in 10 of those girls believe that they have what it takes to be a leader.

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

 

I’m sorry, but it’s 2016. Our girls need to know that they can do anything, be anything, and LEAD anything.

 

Hence the guilt.

 

I had a professor tell me that he didn’t think I had the mental capabilities to pass his class. I do and I did. I had an interviewer tell me that they weren’t really looking to hire a female. I got up, walked out, and got the job.

 

I wasn’t always so fearless and gutsy… but I refused to let those experiences become my reality. I pushed forward. I ran headfirst into walls. I didn’t ever believe that I couldn’t.

 

And I don’t want little girls believing that they can’t anymore.

 

One of my sweet college advisors pointed out to me that I do a lot to encourage girls in STEM/engineering fields… which was particularly kind of her. But I was still unsettled. I want to do more. I want my own Girl Scout troop. I want to be able to get girls into schools and programs that will keep them on the path for their chosen careers. I want to send them to places where they can become leaders in things that they are passionate about.

 

I want them to know they CAN and they WILL.

 

…which leads me to yet another quote from Dean Shaver that didn’t make sense to me until I sat there and really thought about what she was saying.

 

“Put a women’s college on your list because it’s not about equal opportunity. It’s about EVERY opportunity for young women.” – Deb Shaver, Smith College

 

You’ll be hard pressed to convince me that there isn’t more truth in that statement than any other statement floating around about equity and access right now.

 

I say all this to say…. What are YOU going to do to help girls realize the great potential they hold?

Girls I did it and you can toopinthisimage

Man… looking back… what a great day my college graduation was.  The road was H-A-R-D… but I could and I did.  Thanks to my second family for all the amazing photos they took on this special day.  I’m so lucky to have them.  And you.

  • Sara McCarty - AMEN! Love this!ReplyCancel

  • cara - You are the epitome of a girl success story, and it’s so awesome that you are an engineer! I completely agree with you girls need to know that they can do it and they are capable! As a society, we really need to start working on instilling confidence in girls. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Hena Tayeb - Thank you for this wonderfully empowering post. I agree.. we really don’t do enough to show our girls that they can do anything..and everythingReplyCancel

  • I stand for… » my journey of doing - […] Girls in STEM.  Girls being leaders.  Girls being encouraged to be both. […]ReplyCancel

Our formal dining room reveal is here!  Our formal dining room was definitely one of the most dated rooms in the house with its brass chandelier and carpeted floors… in fact, I installed my own Pottery Barn chandelier because I was so tired of running into the original chandelier… but I loved the room because of its big picture windows and I attempted to set up my office in there before we started the renovation.

journey of doing - Formal Dining Room revealpinthisimage

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

Now it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house.  We ended up moving a dividing wall to make the room feel less dated and square off the kitchen… you can’t even tell that we messed with it to be honest.

I used Ralph Lauren Metallic paint and the painter ended up spraying it on instead of using the roller technique I learned at the Home Depot workshop.  This resulted in a much more understated metallic look, but it’s still elegant.  (I may end up repainting at some point because there’s a little more of a green undertone to the paint than I like… but it’s still pretty.)  Note: they warned us that it may be really hard to touch up because of that.  Sigh.

My Pottery Barn (teen) chandelier got upgraded in a HUGE way when I found our crystal chandelier on clearance at Horchow.  For less than $400.  I kid thee not.  (We had been planning on ordering one from a Venetian showroom after we returned from our honeymoon… but then I found this one… and it was such a great deal that we couldn’t pass it up.)

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

I still have quite a bit of decorating to do – as far as figuring out what I want to put on the walls – but the rug opens up ALLLLLLL the possibilities… so I just need to work on it… but I figure this is a really good start.

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

journey of doing - Formal dining room revealpinthisimage

Formal Dining Room Reveal – Sources

Paint Colors

Walls – Ralph Lauren Metallic Mica at 50%

Trim // Ceiling – Restoration Hardware Seafoam (Benjamin Moore color match)

Lighting

Chandelier (similar) // Chandelier (similar)

Decor

Table and Chairs // Bernhardt Marquesa Collection – sourced from Weir’s

Rug // Dalyn Rossini Ivory – sourced from Weir’s

Drapes // Valencia Scroll in Light Blue – Horchow Flash Sale (50% off!)

Sheers – Voile Sheer Panel in Ivory

Scenes of Venice // Purchased in Venice 2010 from a local gallery, custom framing at Hobby Lobby

journey of doing - formal dining room revealpinthisimage

Wow.  I am so woefully behind on emails… so for all of you who shot me comments, emails, texts, and good juju… THANK YOU!!   I survived Monday… celebrated my husband’s birthday on Tuesday… got the school list on Wednesday… and spent all day yesterday on the phone with admissions friends… and now… oh, look, it’s FRIDAY.

So here’s what you need to know…

FIRST THINGS FIRST…

ASP Class of 2016 by the numbers…

3,114 seniors

15 high schools schools

34,160 one-on-one counseling sessions

385 small group workshops

97% applied to college

90% accepted to college

59.6% submitted FAFSA/TASFA

$94.1 million dollars in scholarships & grants

So what does all that mean?  It means that we’ll be in 21 high schools next year…. 18 district schools and 3 charters…  welcome to 2016-2017, friends!!

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the worlds are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs