Heidi Olinger and the Power of Young People

 Hello Readers! 

Today is a real treat as I get to brag about Heidi Olinger, a powerful voice within the Colorado community. Heidi is the founder of Pretty Brainy, a non-profit organization that encourages young women to pursue careers within a STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) field. Heidi started Pretty Brainy back in 2008 when she noticed a large gap in toys and clothes for young girls that were science-themed. She wanted to empower young girls by giving them examples of science as well as science-themed toys and activities. From there, Pretty Brainy was born and has continued to flourish as a non-profit. 

I have been fortunate enough to work with Heidi in one Pretty Brainy yearly program called MISSion Innovation. This program gets a bunch of young women together, from middle school to college-age, and challenges them to find ways to empower others to better their local environment. This past September, MISSion Innovation launched its first app, which you can find in any app store. This app gives you tools and ways to help save energy and be more environmentally conscious within your own home. I’ve personally used it and loved it! 

While the interview below does cover Heidi’s work at Pretty Brainy, it was Heidi’s recent middle-age book, Leonardo’s Science Workshop, that I wanted to talk to her about. Heidi wrote this book to lead children through a series of interactive science activities to teach them more about science. As we discuss below, Heidi designed and did many of these activities herself, as well as got many of the Pretty Brainy young members to help her. 

This book is for young people of all ages, not just children. The activities inside are easy and fun to do. Heidi’s book also goes a bit into the history of Leonardo Da Vinci, his work, and his impact on our society. If you’re stuck inside looking for something fun or new to do, I’d highly recommend getting this for yourself or your kiddos. You can find a copy here. 

Heidi is still working hard at Pretty Brainy, pivoting the programs to be fully online due to COVID-19. She’s also currently working on a book for encouraging young people to use meditation. Her passion for her community, as well as her drive for the young people around her to succeed, is something I admire and respect. I highly recommend listening to the interview below, as Heidi’s passion comes across clear and strong. 


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