Sarah Shipley

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So far Sarah Shipley has created 5 blog entries.

Go into STEM!

It is time to change your major and go into a STEM field! 

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, though women constitute half of the total U.S. college-educated work force, they make up only 29 percent of the science and engineering fields.

In addition, the National Science Board research shows that there will be workforce shortages in jobs that require mathematical, scientific and technical skills.1 This means that the United States may not be able to continue to be an international leader in science and technology fields. Some experts have also predicted there will be a rise in employment opportunities, especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector by more than 50 percent. Hence, there is need for a workforce adept in the STEM fields.

Yet another study by World Economic Forum (WEF) on Industry Gender Gap has revealed that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create future workplace shortages which will undoubtedly impact women’s employment prospects. It will create disruptions in labor markets, as well as changes in business models across all industries.4 In this new market, some jobs will become redundant while others will see changes in the skills required, and still others will witness talent shortages owing to technological as well as sociopolitical and demographic changes.

This news may bode well for women in the workforce, those who intend to join the workforce in the future or return to it. The WEF’s Future of Jobs Report asked strategy and talent experts from reputed employers around the globe for their thoughts on the changing landscape of jobs and employment.3  Employers are increasingly inclined to recruit women to fill the talent pool, as part of their future workforce planning, but the numbers are still bleak when it comes to Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

At least 37 percent of the companies in ICT have considered tapping into the female talent pool to fulfill workforce shortages, according to the WEF’s study.  Twenty percent of respondents across other industries also reported being under pressure from the government, public and media to address workforce gender imbalances.

WEF’s study also revealed concern among respondents about the lack of qualified talent in energy, ICT, aviation, automotive industries.3 This shortage (along with the shortage of women in STEM as a whole) is likely due to the lower proportion of women majoring in STEM areas.

This is a great opportunity for women in college to consider STEM courses or courses in similar fields that were traditionally “male-dominated,” such as manufacturing, production and architecture.


  1. Helpern, Diane F. et al. (2007). The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics. Retrieved from
  2. Retrieved from
  3. Zahidi, Saadia, & Leopold, Till (2016). Eight things women should know about the future of work. Retrieved from
  4. Retrieved from
  5. Retrieved from
  6. Wallace, Kelly (2016). The ‘boys are better at math’ mindset creates gender gap in sciences. Retrieved from
  7. Retrieved from
2018-06-18T01:23:26+00:00 June 18th, 2018|Matilda Advice|0 Comments

Make A Volcano with Off-Kilta Matilda ™

We had fun making a volcano in our backyard!

Here is a short clip we put together to show you how to do it. We did this with the help of middle school kids - they got to make a volcano and make a video on how to make a volcano. We can integrate learning into many of our summer activities  - STEM is in!


We had fun making our volcano and you can do this at home.

You will need a few supplies:

Soda bottle (16 or 20 oz.)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Red food coloring

If you want to add bubbles to your volcano just add a bit of dish soap to the mix!

We went a bit crazy and used everything from moss to rocks to decorate our volcano – you can do as little or as much as you want.


  1. Place the bottle on a flat surface and set the soda bottle in the middle of the table, driveway or wherever you are having the experiment.
  2. Use found materials around the bottle to make the bottle look like a volcano or mountain. We used cardboard and tape and covered that with grass and moss. You can use dirt, rocks, flowers – get creative!
  3. Pour one tablespoon of baking soda into the bottle.
  4. Color one cup of vinegar with red food coloring.
  5. Pour the vinegar into the bottle – we used a funnel to make sure it got in without making a mess. Stand back and watch red lava flow!

We had a good time adding different measurements of baking soda and vinegar to see what would make the biggest explosion! Take notes and see what works the best for you.

2018-06-18T00:40:22+00:00 June 18th, 2018|Matilda Advice|0 Comments

Top 10 Fun STEM projects you can do in the yard!

Top Ten List (backyard STEM)

Here are some fun FREE things you can do to entertain your kids AND have fun at the same time. Get ready to make a mess - we will be posting short videos of our experiments online during the summer post yours and tag us!


The exploding volcano is a creative way for kids to get out all of that pent up summer energy. This is a fun take on the classic science fair volcano. In this experiment, we’ll add a bit more explosion to the mess..and what kid won’t love that? Be sure to do this experiment somewhere that can be cleaned up easily, or even better, do the experiment outside where no clean-up is required!

Sticky Ice 

This is a great experiment to do indoors when it is too hot or rainy outside. The sticky ice experiment is a very simple activity done with household items. This project will show kids how freezing water will affect ice in an almost magic way. This is an easy way to drum up some learning and fun this summer!

Glowing Volcano 

What kid doesn’t love a big mess? This activity is a fun way to learn about chemical reactions while having a blast. This is a fairly simple experiment that requires just a few items and some adult supervision! If you happen to have a blacklight laying can be even more fun! Kids will see different eruptions depending on what colors and combinations are used. Making a Glowing Volcano could be a fun evening activity but will be just a beautiful in the daylight!

Rainbow Bubble Snakes 

This is a great activity, especially for the young ones! Building the bubble-blower teaches kids about recycling and using household items to learn. This can lead to a whole afternoon of messy outdoor fun with the whole family. Add this experiment to a day of running through the sprinklers, and the kids will love it!

Pop Rock Balloons 

While Pop Rocks are already loads of fun by themselves, this experiment will add in a little bit of science to go along with the fun! Adding the candy into soda shows kids how that quantity of carbon dioxide creates an inflation in the balloon. This activity is a fun way to explore science without making a big mess or needing too many supplies!

Lemon Suds

Hands-on activities are some of the best ways to ignite an interest in science for all kids. This science experiment is stimulating and exciting for both parents and children! L 

emon suds are not only a learning activity but also a sensory activity, which is a wonderful way to get the little ones engaged. Parents will love the end of the experiment, you’ll have an all-natural cleaner!

Rock Test 

The rock test is a way to explore the properties and hardness of different rocks. This project is a sure-fire way to get your kids thinking about and questioning all kinds of science. Sparking curiosity is the best way to keep children interested in science! There are two ways to do this activity, and kids will love them both. Using rocks found around the neighborhood and some simple household items, it can be a whole day of learning and exploring!

Beach Density Jar 

Who doesn’t love a nice beach day in the summer-time? This project brings the beach home to your kids! You’ll see an ocean floor, water, sky, and clouds, all while learning about density. Density is a very interesting subject that most kids don’t know very much about, so this is a creative way to learn and explore.

Edible Rock Cycle 

It can be hard for kids to differentiate between the three types of rocks, but this experiment with help kids learn. This is a very hands-on project, so kids will stay engaged and entertained the whole time! While this experiment does take some adult help, grown-ups and kids alike will have fun. Plus, the kids will have a nice sugary treat at the end of the activity!

Engineering an Egg Drop

Creativity and science are brought together in this fun backyard activity. This project will get kids to think independently and explore their imagination! They can work on their problem-solving skills while they work towards a goal. Kids will love using their toys and other items they find around the house to complete this challenge!

Remember to follow us on the socials below for updates, new project ideas, and giveaways!

Thanks so much - Sarah and Off-Kilta Matilda™

Off Kilta Matilda™ and I hanging out and reading books at the park.


2018-06-04T05:26:22+00:00 June 4th, 2018|Matilda Advice|0 Comments

Cumulative Effects of Math and Earning Potential

Cumulative Effects of Math and Earning Potential or Why I dropped everything to publish Off-Kilta Matilda.

When was the last time you left something on the table? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked away from a negotiation thinking that was too easy. I should have asked for more.

Does this sound familiar? What could’ve led to it? Was it a casual comment from a family member, someone at school that you are not a math person? Was it a Barbie Doll that said, “Math is Hard?” There could be any number of reasons.

Myths and societal stereotypes have always played a significant role in deterring girls and women from choosing Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) careers. (

Though the mindset of “not being a math person” is true for both girls and boys alike 2, the “fallacy of inborn math ability” 2 is responsible for girls believing in their inability to excel in math. This sort of mindset is sometimes thrust upon them.

And guess what the result is? You’re right if you are thinking lower-paying jobs. Girls miss out on successful careers in engineering, technology, science, math, and finance.

According to a Federal study, students who study advanced math in high school have higher salaried jobs and fewer chances of becoming unemployed 1. And, girls who do not pursue higher math in high school lose this opportunity for high-paying jobs.

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, the gender disparities are more prominent in STEM careers- in engineering, the physical sciences and computer science 4. Though women constitute half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, they make up only 29% of the science and engineering workforce.

Though the gender wage gap cannot wholly be ascribed to just education level or college major, but Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) Gould et al., (2016) point out that there is a connection between major and salary when it comes to employment. Most women tend to major in humanities, which are associated with lower-paying jobs, as compared to STEM subjects, which are associated with higher-paying jobs 5. Gould et al., (2016) also posit that school years prior to joining college strongly impact girls’ and women’s choices regarding majors in college. Women display less interest in STEM subjects as they head to college when compared to men.

The result is that they end up with careers that offer lower salaries or opportunities to progress. They remain underpaid when compared to their male counterparts. And in some cases, women become mired in economic struggles.

It is imperative to provide girls and women opportunities for high paying careers not only for their own sakes but also for bringing diversity into such professions 4. This can be accomplished by getting our society to change its “math gene” and “boys have aptitude for math compared to girls” mindset; changing our stereotypical thinking and changing the classroom teaching methods with respect to math and girls.

Math, it seems, has become one fear factor in girls and women choosing to become engineers and scientists. It is time that society evaluates what kind of messages it’s conveying to its girls and women regarding their ability to excel in math and math-related careers 4. In addition, there is a need to reevaluate how math is taught in schools and universities.

Let us all resolve to shun this attitude towards math at home and in our schools that discourage girls from studying STEM subjects. At the same time, we need to instill confidence in our girls that there is nothing they can’t do if they set their hearts on it; that there is no such thing as “math gene”, only hard work and a growth mindset.

I co-wrote and am producing Off-Kilta Matilda to help girls love math, to encourage resilience, and to foster a growth mindset for young girls interested in math and STEM professions. 


  1. Thompson, Derek (2013). Will Studying Math Make You Richer? Retrieved from
  2. Kimball, Miles & Smith, Noah (2013). The Myth of “I’m Bad at Math”. Retrieved from
  3. Science on Retrieved from
  4. Wallace, Kelly (2016). The ‘boys are better at math’ mindset creates gender gap in sciences. Retrieved from
  5. Gould, Elise, Scheider, Jessica & Geier, Kathleen (2016). What is the gender pay gap and is it real? Retrieved from
2017-11-19T21:49:47+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Matilda Advice|0 Comments