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It Begins Early

It Begins Early November 16, 2012

Women are often trained into a stereotype, and these women want to do something about it:

Year after year, three female students sat through college engineering and math classes asking themselves the same question—where are the girls? The students—Jennifer Kessler, Alice, Brooks, and Bettina Chen—realized they all shared childhood experiences that drew them to technology, business, and math, fields typically dominated by men despite women’s educational asecendence. So they invented a toy girls can build from the ground up to inspire them to take on male-dominated fields.

Roominate is the toy “where every young girl is an artist, engineer, architect, and visionary” with her own opportunity to build a dollhouse-sized room, customize the furniture, select the decorations, and electrify the whole thing with working circuits. Kessler, Brooks, and Chen began the project while studying engineering and business as graduate students at Stanford. Their Kickstarter reached its $25,000 goal within five days, and ended on June 16 with almost $86,000 raised. They sold more than 1,300 units and the waiting list shows even more demand….

Roominate moves young girls away from the pink and frilly and towards the thoughtful andcreative. Two hundred girls have tested the toy so far. Some have decided to make their room a restaurant or a pet shop, designed accordingly, then powered it up with a working fan or lit miniature television. Brooks says one of her favorite moments was with a seven-year-old girl who was curious about how the prototype was built. Within a half hour of Brooks explaining how Roominate is designed and cut with a laser, the girl was creating a 3-D box of her own and trying out advanced software.

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