Jessica Wall: Girl Power in San Diego

As soon as Jessica Wall saw the job listing for Play-Well San Diego Manager she thought, “I’m built for this! I know science and education! I got this!” It was the perfect opportunity at exactly the right time which created a girl powerhouse in San Diego.

Initially, Jessica was doing pharmaceutical research with her degree in biochemistry but she actually really disliked the environment of being a female in the sciences. She found that her gender greatly impacted other’s perception of her in the workplace. It motivated her to strive to make a difference by becoming a relatable woman in the sciences that girls can see as a role model. Jessica went back to school and got her master in education. She worked as a kindergarten teacher, and although she loved working with kids, the kindergarten classroom wasn’t the right fit either. Then the opening for Play-Well’s San Diego Manager came up, and Jessica knew it would be the ideal blend of education & STEM.

Now she is using her science and math mind to inspire the next generation of females in STEM. Entirely by coincidence, Jessica met the San Diego Girl Scout STEM Coordinator at the gym. They became fast friends, instantly connected by both their love of science and their dog mom pride. Their friendship has led to a collaboration between Play-Well and the Girl Scouts that is helping many young girls earn their STEM badges and spark their passion for the sciences.

San Diego Scouts earning their Robotics Badge with Play-Well.

After one of the first Play-Well Girl Scout Badge workshops in San Diego, a scout mom emailed Jessica. Originally, her daughter really didn’t want to attend the workshop, she didn’t like science or LEGO. Despite her misgivings, her daughter attended the class and had “the best time ever”. Her daughter was already excited for the next workshop and she wanted to know when they could sign up. Receiving that kind of feedback means the world to Jessica and shows her that she’s on the right path to changing the STEM field one empowered female at a time.

Jessica and her dogs, Max & Rolley.

Aside from being a passionate educator, Jessica is also a doggo fanatic. She’s been a foster mom with California Labradors, Retrievers and More, San Diego’s largest mix breed dog rescue, for the last 3 years where she’s fostered over 40 dogs. She also loves CrossFit but her friends always joke that “she only goes to the gym so she can lift more dogs.” Jessica is the proud fur parent of Max and Rolley. When she’s not at the gym, hanging at home with her dogs or teaching kids about STEM, Jessica is traveling the globe. Her latest adventure was hiking the Inca Trail in Peru. She really enjoyed being in the middle of the Andes with no one around except wild llamas.

Play-Well is incredibly proud to have Jessica join the team! She is certainly an inspiration to all of us and we can’t wait to see what cool things she does next.

Girl Scout STEM Workshops with Play-Well

A Junior earns her Robotics badge at our Play-Well workshop in San Diego.

Play-Well offers exciting LEGO-inspired engineering workshops to help scouts earn their STEM badges while working collaboratively with their troop. Through play & hands-on-learning scouts will think critically, try new things, experiment and grow. They’ll record their findings on their STEM worksheet to keep a record of their engineering experiments. We offer robotics, think like an engineer and so much more. If you’re looking for a fun hands-on way to have your troop earn their next science badge we can help!

We offer special projects with a range of difficulty levels depending on age, from Brownie to Cadette.

We are an approved vendor/community partner with several Girl Scout councils across the nation including:

  • Girl Scouts of San Diego
  • Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital
  • Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada
  • Girl Scouts of Orange County

We are always looking for new opportunities to work with Girl Scout Councils. If your council would like a STEM community partner please feel free to email us at jessi@play-well.org. To find out more about our Think Like An Engineer badge workshop download our Girl Scout program PDF. If you have questions about setting up a STEM badge workshop for your troop please email directly – jessi@play-well.org.

Hooray for Shay: Meet Our New Colorado Manager

“I’m passionate about LEGO, working with kids and coming up with creative ways to teach,” says Shay Sinnott. Shay is our new manager for the Boulder & North Denver areas. Her background as a LEGO brick specialist, a private school public programs & communications specialist and rock climbing instructor make her one incredible new team member here at Play-Well. She is a recent transplant to Colorado from Massachusetts. Her foray into rock climbing inspired her to take risks and step out of her comfort zone which led to her cross-country move. Only a month after she landed in Colorado Shay found Play-Well and joined our staff of LEGO-fanatics in September. She lives by the mantra, “you can’t say can’t” which is something her mom always told her.

A climb at a gym back in Massachusetts that was perfect for Shay! Each hold was shaped like a LEGO brick!

Aside from her love of LEGOs and teaching, Shay also enjoys everything fantasy including Disney, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Marvel. Her favorite color is blue, and her friends in Massachusetts even threw her a “So Blue Without You” going away party where everyone dressed in blue to celebrate her.

Shay really enjoys making STEM accessible for all kids. “When I was little I didn’t know anything about STEM,” says Shay. During her childhood, she was told that girls are good at english and history and not good at science or math. Shay is excited to break these stereotypes. “I think telling girls they can be engineers and their brain can work like that is going to change the future.”

One of Shay’s life goals is to visit every Disney Park…so far she’s been to 3! Disney World in FL, Disneyland in CA, and Disney Shanghai in China.

Shay is a part of our new Girl Scout STEM initiative at Play-Well. Our goal is to support the Girl Scouts by hosting hands-on LEGO-inspired STEM workshops that will enable scouts to get their “Think Like An Engineer Badge.”

We are very excited to have Shay join our Colorado team. We can’t wait to see how her teaching, skills, and passion will cultivate the next generation of engineers and scientists.

On her drive across country, Shay stopped at the Badlands National Park. It was the most beautiful place she’s ever seen!

Scout STEM Programs with Play-Well

Over the years we’ve partnered with many girl scout and boy scout groups across the nation. We really enjoy teaming up with the scouts on special events to help them to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. We are always interested in working with new scout troops to teach complex STEM concepts through playing with LEGO. Check out some of our previous collaborations below and fill out a special request form.

In February, Play-Well joined the Livermore Cub Scout Pack 950 at their Blue & Gold Banquet. We created a fun LEGO-inspired workshop for their 35 scouts. The organizer Allie said, “The event went great and I think the kids really enjoyed the workshop.  It is one of the best Blue and Gold we have put on in awhile.  Thanks so much for your help!”

Girl Scout Troop 753 from NE Kansas & NW Missouri earned their engineering badge in January through a Play-Well TEKnologies workshop. The scouts built a bridge together and then each girl created a car to drive over the bridge.

Troop 753 earned their engineering badge with Play-Well!

Troop 753 earned their engineering badge with Play-Well!

Play-Well hosted a workshop in El Cerrito in December that focused on helping boy scouts earn some engineering badges. We had Robotics in addition to the usual motorized LEGO projects.

Last September, we collaborated with the Ventura girl scouts in a build-a-car event. The event taught four different daisy troops about motorized cars and physics.

A Venture girl scout races her robotic car.

A Venture girl scout races her robotic car.

We want to help your pack or troop earn their Engineer Pin or Activity Badge!  By bringing over 20,000 pieces of LEGO we can construct a bridge, build a catapult, and show how electricity. These  hands on activities demonstrate how engineering is a part of everyday life, and is an ever-growing field.

To find out more fill out one of our special request forms and we’ll be in touch shortly.

 

Girl Scout Troop Earns Engineering Badge with LEGO & Play-Well

Troop 753 earned their engineering badge last Tuesday! This troop is part of the Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri.

Check out that friendship bridge!

Check out that friendship bridge!

We had a great time and built a friendship bridge. Each girl scout was responsible for building a portion of the supports: All together our bridge ended up being 14 creations long! When the bridge was finished, the girls got to build cars and drive them across. They learned key concepts in structural and mechanical engineering and the benefits of creating collaboratively as well as individually – all while having tons of fun!

We love empowering girls with hands-on-learning! If your troop wants to earn their engineering badge through LEGO please contact us! We can help create the perfect program.