Networking at a science competition with a 6 year-old business partner

Kotomi inspects anatomy of human eye

Kotomi studies the human brain

I was invited to attend San Jose State University’s Math, Engineering, Science Achievement Day last Saturday. With my six year-old daughter Kotomi at my side, we set out to spend a special “Mama and Kotomi day” enjoying the work of 700 middle to high school students in a science/engineering competition. She would enjoy the exhibits and models; I would have the opportunity to network with the (largely) Hispanic parents , students and teachers in attendance.

Taking my daughter made for a most memorable day. She happily approached people and offered to tell them “about my mommy’s new book,” while handing them a business card. She’s developing her own confidence, poise and ability to network and converse. She answered what questions she could and referred people to me when she needed additional help. Oh yeah, and she got to study large models of the human eye, the human brain, prosthetic arms, watch wind power turn into work-producing energy and then there were those cool mouse trap cars!

I was able to chat with parents who were enthused about the opportunity the MESA program offered their kids to really get into math and science to have FUN. My guide Victoria, a recent SJSU graduate, told me about sixth graders from east San Jose standing in front of local Silicon Valley engineers presenting¬† calculations, engineering diagrams and exuding pride over what they had built. I ran into MESA board member Mimi Hernandez and congratulated her on this fantastic program. There’s nothing quite like surrounding yourself with the energy and intellect of motivated kids thinking about math, science and engineering, especially when they’re putting it all out there in a competition in front of peers. That I was able to share that thrilling environment with my first-grade daughter was gravy.

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