Coloring with CuSTEMized – Bodies in Motion

CuSTEMized hosted another fun-filled hands-on STEM enrichment learning event, this time in collaboration with the Newton Free Library.

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We moved our bodies to feel our hearts. Then we engineered hoop gliders to move as far as possible. And we saw how light moves using polarizers. Of course, we had lots of fun coloring!

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We also heard from 3 female scientist guest speakers! We learned about our hearts from Susan Hannes of Harvard Medical School. We learned about what cells eat from Dr. Allison Lau of MIT. And we learned about 3D printing from Nicole Black of the Wyss Institute. Check out our Facebook for more photos.

Special thanks to organizers Sayda Zelaya and our wonderful collaborators at the Newton Free Library. And thanks to everyone for coming and learning!

 

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Just because it isn’t broken, doesn’t mean it can’t be better

Christmas break of 2015. I was at home enjoying a little break from school. With this little free time, I decided to start learning Laravel, a PHP development framework. Why? Well, the CuSTEMized website at the time was built on PHP with a bunch of poorly organized and hacked together scripts. It worked. But I knew it could be better. In order to make it better, we needed to build on what others have already created. We needed to move towards using a framework. We needed to learn something new.

None of us knew how to use Laravel. Heck. None of us had even worked with a development framework before. In the beginning, the learning curve was pretty high. We faced moments of doubt when we had to ask ourselves: was this worth it? If things aren’t broken why fix it? What if we were to have spent all this time learning Laravel and then not even use it for the website anyway? But we knew just because it isn’t broken, doesn’t mean it can’t be better. And even if we didn’t end up using Laravel, we would still have learned something. So those reasons were good enough to keep pushing forward.

Now, almost a year later, our volunteer development team is proud to finally present the next version of the CuSTEMized website built on Laravel.

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It’s fun to look back and reflect on how much we didn’t know before. We moved to and set up a new server. We had to learn about security. We had to establish launch protocols. We didn’t know how to do any of this. But  we needed to figure it out and so we did.

I’m so proud of us.

Sincerely,
Jean

 

The Little Book of Big Dreams wins prestigious gold medal at the Moonbeam children’s book award

We are so excited that our Little Book of Big Dreams won the prestigious MOONBEAM SPIRIT AWARDS gold medal in the category of EXPLORATION. As the organizers state, “Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year’s entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages.” We are honored to be a part of the competition and congrats to all the other winners!

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