Thus Spake Zuska

L. A.Engineer! Almost.

Many women in science and engineering have long suggested, only half tongue in cheek, that if we could only have an L.A. Engineer t.v. show it might do wonders to increase the number of young girls choosing STEM careers. Zuska, of course, thinks we’d still have to do something about the morons, cretins, and sexual harassers, but maybe if we did become a significant minority, they’d have to think twice about some of their behavior.

Well, L.A. Engineer isn’t here, but the Discovery Network via Beyond Productions has come a-knockin’! Diane Matt, Executive Director of WEPAN, just posted this notice to the WEPAN listserv:

Dear Ms Matt

My name is Steve Christiansen. I am a series producer/writer working for an Australian television production company called Beyond Productions. Beyond has a long established relationship with the Discovery Network and has produced numerous television series over many years. These series include our own program ‘Mythbusters’ that screens very successfully in the US (and throughout the world).

The purpose of my note is to ask you for some assistance. I’m casting for a new TV series and I wonder if you know anyone who might be interested in contacting me about participating on it.

The show is called Prototype This, and the idea is to each week put together two inventions that might solve an everyday problem or meet some need people have. The inventions may not necessarily be the sort of things that corporations would want to manufacture, they can be prototype looking, but we want to be able to achieve a proof of concept at least with most of the builds.

Martyn Ives (who will be series producing ‘Prototype This’) and I are assembling a team of people together to host the show. We have two already, both guys who have just finished their PhDs, one at MIT, the other at Santa Barbara. They are a robotics engineer and a mechanical engineer respectively.

We’re now looking for another two or three people who combine build skills and technological know how, with “blue sky” thinking and an attitude that would appeal to viewers. In particular, we need an electronics expert on board. Needless to say we are especially interested in maintaining a balance of sexes in the engineering area. We are very interested in ensuring that we have female engineers in equal numbers on the show if it is at all feasible.

Discovery is hoping to skew this show to a younger audience (15 – 35) so we are looking for highly skilled engineers with building talent who are in the range of 25-35 – in particular but not exclusively, women. If it is possible for you to circulate this email to as many of your engineers as possible or if you know anyone who might fit the bill and would like to talk to me I would be delighted.

Hope to hear from you.

Best, Steve Christiansen – Producer

Interested women engineers and budding inventors should probably contact Diane Matt since Mr. Christiansen did not include any contact info in his letter. Diane Matt can be contacted at:

WEPAN, Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women

1901 East Asbury Ave., Suite 220, Denver, CO 80208

Phone: 303-871-4643 Fax: 303-871-6833 Mobile: 303-503-7540

EMAIL: dmatt AT wepan DOT org

P.S. I put this entry in “Chatter” since it didn’t really seem to fit into any of the other super-categories but it doesn’t seem quite right in Chatter either. I hope this isn’t going to be a frequent occurrence. But I’m a little afraid it might be.