Pincurl Girls Trisha Beher

To really create a world that is more just, and more fair in every way shape and form, relies on girls being brave and taking up space...and walking into spaces that have been, historically, not meant for them to break those narratives.

-Izzy Lapidus

Hi, I'm Jen Landis, founder of Pincurl Girls and this is the GIRLBRAVE podcast. In this episode I chatted with Izzy, a 17-year old social entrepreneur and gender equality activist with a passion for all things STEM. She's the cofounder and CEO of First Empower, a Gen Z powered social enterprise that is dedicated to empowering young girls through STEM. So let's get started.

Hi, how are you today?

I'm good. Hi. I'm doing well, but exhausted, but here and excited to chat.

Awesome. Well, let's get into it. Let's start with how old you are and what grade you're in.

I am 17 years old. I just graduated high school. I'm a graduate of LaGuardia High School, which if that name sounds familiar, that's because a lot of pretty big stars went there. It's an arts high school. So, you know Timothée Chalamet, Nicki Minaj, just to name a few. And I will be attending Barnard College of Columbia University this fall, which is very exciting that we are actually going to be on campus as I just learned as of two days ago. So that's really exciting.

That sounds amazing. What is it like to go to an arts high school?

That's kind of what my whole education has been. I started acting when I was about eight years old. The way LaGuardia works is that you have a specific major. So I was a drama major and I also attended middle school at an art school. So I was, I was in the drama talent is what they call that in my middle school. I think it has always been a really big part of my life. And the way it works at LaGuardia, you know, with other art schools, there's normally like it's hard to do this 50/50 between both arts and academics, but LaGuardia does a totally good job of having you know, strong academics while having an amazing arts curriculum. 

So it's really, I've really received, you know, four years of a conservatory theater education. A lot of my friends are, are pursuing BA programs, I know a select handful, also BFA programs. It's a really special experience to be surrounded by so much creativity and even in our academic classes, you know, if we have a project, there is always six different ways that we can do this project, you know, depending on what your major is. So I've done class projects where I'm up there, you know, I'm a drawing major, but there's a lot of overlap between the different arts. So I've done projects where I've sung about the pony express in my AP class on my ukulele with a little song I wrote about it, and in my math class, people, you know, for my AP calculus final project, people made these like intricate videos and it's just, it's been, it's been a privilege to attend a school is so much talent and creativity.

That sounds absolutely way more fun than my high school.

No, I mean its no Victorious, I mean the movie, you know, there's a whole movie based off of LaGuardia, which is also, you know, it's called it's called fame or something like that. I've never actually seen it, but it's, it's cool. It's definitely a unique experience and I'm really glad that I got to be a part of it.

Is your whole family involved in theater?

No, not at all, actually. My, my parents never grew up acting at all. I have actually no clue, no one has ever asked me that where this acting comes from. My mom when I, you know, she, she signed me up for my first acting program when I was eight. I had a couple lines in it, this program called BCT, which is the Brooklyn Children's Theater 'cause I live in, I live in Brooklyn, in New York and I did lots of, you know, like there would be like two shows a year with BCT. I would, they were like my favorite. I mean, you know, it's, my interests have definitely evolved as I've gotten older, but there was really no feeling like the one you're about to go on stage. Ever since I was younger than eight years old, I love being in the spotlight and I've always been, you know, just very, very artistically inclined. 

My dad, I do think, I do say that the arts and creativity really come from him. My dad is a literary agent, but he has like 5 million artistic hobbies. He is a watercolor painter along with a poet and also a New York City street photographer. I've always grown up with a ton of art around me. And it's funny because the other art I do is play piano. I played piano since I was three years old, but once again, neither of my parents really played either. So I don't know what happened to make the, you know, the arts flow in these different ways. I think that just, you know, it didn't matter that my parents didn't, they didn't play piano or they didn't act. And it's the same that goes for my, all my interest in STEM. I mean, my, which I guess we'll get into more, I mean, both my parents never did anything STEM related and here I am very involved in STEM advocacy and have considered myself a big STEM girl since I was eight as well. So, things have really weird ways, I guess. 

You're checking all the boxes. It's awesome, because when I think of an artist, I don't think of, "Oh, she's into STEM too." or, like you're into STEM and you are, you know, an actress and played the piano.That's so amazing. So you, you started basically all these like interests when you're eight. What was your first introduction to STEM?

This is one of my favorite little stories to tell. So when I was about eight years old, I was walking with my mom, just like, you know, I don't know where we're going somewhere in Brooklyn. And I was always a very curious kid, but I think that it was really this one story that, or this one moment that's really stayed ingrained with me and really has led me down this whole, this whole exploration of, you know, the wonders of STEM. And, I noticed that there was a car moving fast or something, you know, it was driving faster than the perceived speed that you go in park slope, Brooklyn and so I made a comment. 

I'm just like, you know, I observe my surroundings and I, you know, I say something to my mom like that car is moving really fast and her me response was, well, you know, it's moving quickly only relative to what you're comparing it to. And this launched just in this whole conversation of, you know, looking at our surroundings and, you know, understanding that the way we perceive something is very different than how someone else might perceive something and the way things move and interact with one another in space and in, you know, in our daily lives is very different depending on the perspective from which you look at it. 

So that was really this first knowing that I was just like, whoa, boom, like, you know, I had never stood there, questioning my surroundings in the way that I did until that moment. And then this same questioning really took to questioning of space and the universe. And the cosmos, as I say, when I went to my first planetarium visit. So I'm not sure if you really have planetariums, but there's, there are these really cool, like don't like rooms where you can kind of go into them. They're often at museums that have like a space exhibit going on and you go in and you lay back in these chairs and there's like these beautiful space shows projected often was someone kind of running you through while you're seeing your passing through, planets, you are passing through different galaxies. And it was at the American Museum of Natural History was where I went to my, why when I went to the Hayden planetarium and it was really lying down, you know, with my, with my back against the chairs looking up, but I was like, oh my God, you know, the same things that I'm questioning about earth and how things move around me specifically, how much cooler is it to question how things move in space. 

And I really, I mean, from when I was eight years old, up until very recently, I was very incessant on becoming an astronomer when I grew up. I said, you know, I've got astrophysicist, I've said astronomer. I've dabbled with the different words that basically mean the same thing. But, if you ask any of my friends that have ever known me throughout my childhood, and you ask them, "What did Izzy say she wanted to when she grew up?" Everyone would say astrophysicist. I was very proud that I loved space so much. And I wanted people to know how cool I thought it was. And that was really, that's, that's really the origin story. And what's cool is that the American Museum of Natural History is now the place I just finished conducting 10 months of astrophysics research at. So I think it's really beautiful how that really made full circle, you know, in a place that I decided I wanted to be an astrophysicist that I in many ways became one, you know, about nine years later. 

So what does an astrophysicist do?

That's a great question. I mean, when I was growing up, my idea of an astrophysicist was just someone who looks at space, analyze the space, does different calculations to understand how different elements of space interact with each other. Now, in astrophysics, there's kind of more subset. So one area of astrophysics that was really interesting for me for a while was cosmology, which I think is cool from an actor perspective, because cosmology is the story of the universe. And cosmology has been a fuel that's been around for a really long time and you know, which is, which is cool and I'll call it other ways. But, you know, it's really so beautiful to me that as human beings, we have found a way to completely trace back everything that has led us to be the people that we are today. 

Carl Sagan, one of my role models as an astronomer, who actually went to college with my grandfather, who was a biophysicist and they were roommates at the University of Chicago, but that's ... Again Carl Sagan has this very famous line that we are all made of star stuff. And it's true. And I think it's really beautiful way to look at life. Everything in the universe that has ever existed before us has brought us to this moment to create the people that we are today. And I think as I've grown older, my love for space has turned into something almost more spiritual, which I've never really like explored all that much, but I think it is just so fascinating that we have been able to like as human beings, you know, become advanced enough to create technologies, advanced enough to understand what brought us here in the first place and that's just so cool to me.

Would you like to go into space?

I mean, you know, growing up, I always had daydreams of what it would be like to be an astronaut and I mean, that truly is amazing. I think, you know, the journey to being someone that goes in space to becoming an astronaut is not for me because it's more about like, you're really like a pilot and then you're, you're the pilot of a spaceship. And then it's just a lot more, you know, technical. I don't really know how you would even really call that, but my interest is always a lot more in the thinking and in the imagining and the first time I ever took a real astronomy class was this past summer at Harvard. I did the Harvard Summer Secondary School Program and it was a 7-week class where there were 15 of us and I was one of four girls. Classic. We love it. And it was in this class that from the day that we got there, I was just blown away. 

I sat right in the front. I was out there taking notes and I just, I love learning about space. I think it is so cool. And, you know, I could, now my memory is a little rusty as I've been very preoccupied in the past year with many other things, but you know, nothing got me more excited than like really understanding how supernovae work and understanding that there's different types of galaxies that there's a lips and just, I could go on and on about everything that I've learned. And I realize kind of, you know, from this class that what I loved doing is really talking to people about space. Telling them be the one actually doing the calculations where my skillset really comes in with all of my years of acting in particular, is that I know to talk to people and I know where to get people excited about the things that I'm excited about. 

And I definitely, in the past couple of months to this has really expanded into a love for talking about all things STEM and beyond astronomy, but using my voice as a trained actor to get other people excited and exposed to how awesome STEM is. Because, I mean, I just think it's the coolest thing ever. And I want everyone to be as excited as I am when, you know, my eyes light up talking about supernovae, right? That if the word STEM has even said that I want to see a classroom full of little girls as light up with how awesome they think it is too.

Well with you as their role model, I can see you getting a lot of girls interested in you. Why do you think that there are so few girls, like when you said you're one of four girls in the class, why do you think that is and how can we change that?

This is a question that I am constantly thinking about. That goes much into the work that I hope to dedicate my life to changing. But you know, I often tell this other story. So when I was seven years old, you know, we'll take it back a year from when I had my own discovery of the wonders of STEM. My best friend said to me that she wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up because her father was a scientist. So she had been exposed to science at a young age, and I laughed in her face. I have such a clear memory of doing that. And, I laughed because the idea of a girl growing up becoming a scientist might as well have been a joke to me because we are not exposed to scientists, let alone female scientists as children. 

It's not in any of our school curriculums. I have literally no memory of ever being taught about a female scientist or really like, I mean, the science is done a look like specifically a female scientist in elementary school. And I am always saying that everything that we must do, it's really fight like any social justice issue. It really begins with the, you know, more than the youth with the children. And, you know, I say that there's kind of two different ways that, that, you know, changing, changing the story, changing this, this narrative that STEM is for boys can happen. And I see one I see, for me, my story came with actually being, you know, my journey at 17 with actually being exposed to it, right? Having a conversation with my mom that sparked this curiosity. So, I consider that more of like, you know, a hands on exposure, right? 

Or maybe, maybe seeing it, or we can say seeing it too, like I saw space for myself when I was in the planetarium. That's one way. But I think, that goes hand in hand with being taught STEM or being, or seeing female scientists, right? And that as children, we're really not shown that, as little girls not shown that. So how are we supposed to believe that we can grow up to be something that we never before seen? Right? Because I thought as a little girl that a scientist, what little I knew about science in general, right? Because that's also an issue that we're not really, we don't have great STEM education in general, but my idea of a scientist was like an old white dude with like crazy hair and glasses, you know, a total Einstein mad scientist figure. And that is so incorrect. I mean, that is so, so, so far from the reality of what a scientist looks like. 

And now more than ever, I think it is so important that we change what girls think aside to look like from when they're six years old. And we show girls, Hey, you know, we expose girls to these females STEM role models. So they can say, so that they can say to these girls, "Hey, look, here we are now. We are real life people. We are standing before you and we are, we are, you have the powers, you have this STEM power invested in you already, that you can grow up to use to actually become a scientist, or can you use to become an engineer." And I think what's really cool about STEM in general and I've really learned this from my internship spending so much time on the computer, not, not looking at a telescope, like I was creating code to analyze my data of images, taken from a telescope, right? 

That STEM is so interdisciplinary and that more often than not a scientist has the same skill sets as a computer scientist. And a computer scientist often has the same skill sets as an engineer. Like this is such an overlap, which is why, you know, as children, we need to be exposed to guest scientists, but we need to be exposed to people that work in tech and people that are engineers and people that do stuff with math or understand how math can even be applied in the real world because I can't even really answer that question right now. I mean, I kind of, I have some ideas, you know, like accounting, okay. 

But that's not exciting at the end of the day, you know, like we really need to be exposing children to all of the wonders of STEM so that they can grow up knowing maybe, maybe, you know, this goes for girls, this goes for boys too though. But you know, I want to focus, my work is focused on girls, right? I'm not telling any little girl that she needs to become a scientist or that she needs to, you know, engineer the next app that completely changes humanity. All I want girls to understand is that STEM can be a path for them. It is a path for them. Should they want to go down there? And no little girl should ever laugh when her friend tells her that she wants to be a scientist.

So you're the founder of First Empower. Is that kind of your mission, to get in front of young girls and show them what it is like in the field of STEM?

Yes, absolutely. So our mission at First Empower is that we are dedicated to empowering girls through STEM and it's that through word rather than to pursue that I think is, is what, you know, not only sets us apart, but it is so important for what we're trying to say, right? That we're a tree with branches, right? We're gonna give you these resources. We're going to expose you to STEM. And if you fall in love with it, amazing go and be the next STEM trailblazer. But, maybe you take those STEM skills and you go off and become a bad ass politician that is equally as dope. So I think what we're really trying to do here is that we want girls to understand that there's this power that comes with STEM. What we say at the end of the day is that every single... We want every single little girl to know that STEM is for super power and that she's already got it. That we want girls to understand that they literally are magical powers. 

STEM might as well be considered magic. I mean, it's by far the closest thing we'll ever have to magic that really truly exists. I mean, even in these like little experiments that, you know, what we're working on right now is we're going to scale and scale and scale to really create a business that is as impactful as we want it to be. That, you know, we're working with very limited resources right now, especially in quarantine for what we ultimately, what we ultimately want our impact to be. But even in these little experiments that we, you know, we give tutorials or on our website for girls to do at home with their families, they're really cool. 

Like in one of them you can literally write in invisible ink, just knowing, knowing how to combine lemon juice with a couple other household ingredients. Like that is so cool. And you know, all of a sudden as a scientist or now, you know, there's super powers, and this isn't visibility, right? But what we really want to do is teach STEM in a way that makes it seem like you're learning a special, super power or that you're unlocking a special superpower, right? We're saying we're really just handing you the tools to like, get it on yourself and understand that there is this amazing power that you have to do all of these craziest things that go on in STEM and that all it takes is someone literally saying, yes, you can. 

And someone showing you that, yes, you can. Someone showing you that you have this skill set and you... It's up to you to use it. It's up to you to figure out how you want to use it. We're not going to tell you how you wanna use it, right? But we're going to show you these different possibilities. We're going to show you that, you know, that there is this amazing feeling that comes from breaking down a really complex math problem and actually getting an answer or there's this amazing feeling that comes from working with a science experiment and pull it up, wait, it actually works like you made something happen. 

Awesome, right? And I think that it's built, you know, our work is focused on both like kind of longterm leading girls on this journey to be changing the world using STEM as their tool to make that happen. But at the same time there exists this, you know, more, more close to self worth that we're trying to do, that we are trying to instill confidence, right? And what that means is that we want girls to recognize their own abilities and to be able to go out into the world knowing that they have these abilities. And, you know, I've talked to so many of my, of my friends who are young women and talked about their experience and their STEM classes in. 

So often girls are so deterred from continuing to pursue STEM based on how they perform on their some classes. And there is such this weight that comes with being a girl in STEM and, you know, I've experienced it myself. I in, in seventh grade I was in my first advanced math class and this was the first time in a STEM class I ever really struggled in, you know, in fifth grade I was placed that, you know, table six, which was the highest table for like the best at math, whatever 10-year old math, even, you know, how you're going to put whatever. Besides the point. But in, in seventh grade, you know, this class was really hard for me. I actually failed my first test and I had gone from being number one on the high honor roll my whole grade in sixth grade. So I was literally the top of the class from now top of the grade rather to now failing my first test in this class. And I was like, what the heck? And I was like, okay, well, did I give up? 

No, I immediately said, okay, let me get a math tutor. So I got a math tutor and the whole year I worked with a math tutor in, I am still actually very close with this math tutor. Her name is Wendy, and she's actually one of my neighbors and is lovely and wonderful. And I made a lifelong commitment from it. Anyway, well, that's the point once again, but I you know, I worked with my math tutor once a week, always practicing my math and so, so incessant on getting better and doing better. And I did, and I ended the year, you know, getting, I wasn't failing. I was getting grades in the nineties and was the best in the class, you know, and was I, you know, but, but I had done the work and I had, I worked my butt off and I had improved and I, you know, numerically improved, let's say, right? But no to my math teacher, that didn't matter. 

And he actually, he keyword "he" took me out of the classroom one day at the end of seventh grade. And he basically suggested that comparing my scores test-wise with other students in the class that he recommends that I dropped out of advanced math and that I should go back to regular math. I spent the whole year, you know, really working hard to do well with, you know, do well by what school says as well, which is getting high test grades. And he couldn't even recognize, you know, how much work I had put in and couldn't understand that I was, that I was doing math, that I was in this class for reasons well beyond doing well. That I actually loved math and that I actually had a passion for STEM in general, but he couldn't see that. 

And right after that, you know, cherry on, cherry on the sundae, let's say I literally, the next day we, you know, we were getting... Our homeroom teacher was handing out letters for everyone who got into advanced science. And this might as well have been literally for a movie. I was the last person online. I had done really well in my science class, but I'm not the best test taker in the world. If you haven't gathered that, and a lot of online, like totally, you know, I literally go up, no one's in the classroom. It's the end of the day. It's like a Friday. I have my hand out and my teacher goes, oh, Isabelle, we don't have a, we don't have a overload for you. And once again, I'm like what you have got to be kidding me. I didn't get into advanced science. And now my, in my advanced math teachers telling me that I'm not good at math basically. And I was like, oh my God, it was like double heartbreak. And I just remember walking around the halls of my middle school, like, so emo, you know, little 12-year old, me being like, what is good? Like, am I really just not good at math and science? Am I really not cut out to be an astrophysicist one day? Is this, you know, is this what this is telling me? And I really had like serious panic and just so sad. 

I mean, it is, it is so sad to really have dreams like literally crushed. That's always what I felt like what's happening. And I remember also these moments of being like, hold up, we are not doing this. We're not taking these math and science classes because we care about the grades, right? We're doing them, we're taking them because we really liked math and science. And we really like space and we want to be an astrophysicist. And this is so much bigger than these, these advanced class, these advanced classes when you're in middle school. Like, I, I very much understood that as a child, that my passion was so much bigger than what any possible numeric grade could say about my intelligence or my worth. And this is all to say that I was stuck with science and math and STEM in general, you know, in high school. I did stick with the advanced math class. And I thought to get into the advanced science class thought thought, thought I almost did it, but there was no room left in the class. So I said, okay, you know what, so fine. 

I wasn't in the advanced science class, in eighth grade, not the end of the world. And throughout middle school, I mean, throughout high school, I stuck with the advanced classes. I skipped two years of math. They went from algebra II, right into AP calculus. AB, I got a five on the AP calc exam. Not that grades are that important, but obviously, you know, a perfect score on one of the most difficult AP classes. It feels really good. And that was actually the one test score in my entire life. That meant something to me that really told me, you know what,... But then that class, I mean, I don't even want to go into that, but that class made me really rethink my whole plans of doing anything, math and science. I mean, it was so hard. I failed so many tests, but I kept going and I knew the curriculum was hard, but I knew I could do well on the AP exam. And I got a five and that's the highest you can get. And so I've, you know, I've constantly had these moments of like going in and out of my, of, of doing STEM. 

But what has really kept me grounded is that it is, it has always been bigger for me than how I've done in school. And this is all to say my whole thing I'm actually getting at here is that because I discovered my passion for STEM well, before grades mattered or test scores mattered, I've been able to stick with it. And that's because I was exposed to it. And that is why ultimately it is, it is literally so important that children and little girls in particular are exposed to STEM in elementary school before the, some classes have this weight. Because I know that there's a lot of little girls who have been in my position. I'm sure of it. And maybe that math teacher saying that she should drop out of the advance class, maybe she listened and where she could have been today, had she not, and stuck with her passion if she had had a passion, if she had been exposed to it.

That is such such, it's very super... It's so powerful to hear, because I can see in young girls that if they make a mistake, they easily give up quickly and they won't even give them chance themselves. It's not everyone, but they won't even give themselves a chance to love it or to try because they're super embarrassed or afraid to ask for a tutor. Someone out there is listening to this right now that might feel that way. What advice would you give her to see that bigger picture?

I think ultimately, you know, things come down to you telling yourself, "Yes." And in this world, there are just going to be so many people that tell you no. And that ultimately, if you believe in yourself, in your capabilities, you can do anything. And my mom really instilled this idea into me as a child. And she said to me that, you know, or, or I saw through experience that there were things that we're going to be really, really hard. And it was going to feel like the easy thing to do or what, not even easy, but what would make the most sense, you know, by the standards of our society is to just stop there's enough signs saying, "no", that would feel more powerful than that. Maybe that one sign saying "yes". 

So a lot of people end up choosing the "no". A lot of girls end up saying, "You know what? I don't want to mess up so bad." because that means like, I think that this thing happens with girls where like, mistakes are so personal. Whereas with boys, and I see this, especially in some classes, you know, when a girl makes a mistake on a, on a math test, she ellipse out me. I'm that girl flipping out, right? Because suddenly, you know, this test is now a reflection of my worth and this greatest reflection where that, Oh my God, I'm not smart. I'm not smart. I'm not smart in this whole downward spiral. Whereas you see a boy make a, make a mistake, on a math test, "Oh, it's the test fault. The question was worded weird." I, you know, whatever. And, but we have this inherent confidence, especially when it comes to these STEM classes, because they've never been told otherwise there's never been this fight. There's never been this need for them to stick it out because they haven't had to have that whole inner dialogue. Whereas with girls, that's what we have to do. And we need to have this inner dialogue with ourselves. 

We need to constantly be reaffirming ourselves and saying yes, and telling ourselves that we are freaking amazing that we are beautiful geniuses because we are. Ultimately, you know, you cannot control your surroundings. You can not control what people say to you. What people say about you behind your back, what your teacher said to you? What, what all these people, how these opinions and their ideas, what they think is right for you. But none of that at the end of the day matters. If you are not feeling right with yourself, so you have to do that inner work. You have to question yourself, you have to question, well, why am I, why do we want to do this? Why am I going to stick it out? Why should I keep taking math and science classes when I had two clear examples of math and science saying no to Izzy.

And because I was able to recognize that I had this inner passion, that I had this inner belief in myself, that I recognized that I am worth more than what my test scores say about me. I was able to stick it out and keep going. And so I urge every single little girl to stick it out and talk herself up. If the world isn't doing that and say yes to you, because at the end of the day, you're the one leading your life. You're the one creating this life of your dreams, right? So who are you to let other people dictate how you should lead your real life and what you should continue to pursue or not pursue? Right? This is, this is, this is a "you" question and this is a "you" journey. So say yes to you.

Say yes to you. I absolutely love that. So where can a girl start learning more about STEM? Like, can they go to your website and get those activities?

Definitely. I think it really depends on the age level. I mean, a lot of first and higher, you know, as of right now, we target girls ages 6 to 10 and in, you know, the future developments of our work. And it's definitely the age group that I do hope to be continuing targeting, but maybe, you know, it goes out a little bit, maybe if we're doing like 5 and 11, like I don't mind. No, but definitely I think I would, that I definitely urge young girls to check out First Empower, sign up for a mailing list for other young girls, parents to sign up for our mailing list and stick with us as we iterate and we create impactful content for girls to engage with STEM and be exposed to STEM in a way that is innovative and not taught by boys or men of any way, shape and form. That's something that I will continue to fight for with First Empower that this will be a female led company. More than that, that it's a, we're going to be led by Gen Z. 

You know, I want people, I think that, I think ultimately, you know, Gen Z is able to connect best with young girls. We're the most similar in age we've been there not that long ago. We know what it feels to be somewhat, you know, we, it hasn't been that long since we were 10 years old, right? Only a couple of years. So we know best how to work with girls at this age. And I think that, you know, it's amazing to see all of these initiatives now, when you get into middle school and high school right now, there's girls who code, Kode with Klossy where I'm actually going to be learning no code for the first time this summer, you know, which has also been that to note like, you know, I'm talking like I'm this STEM guru or whatever, you know, like I have experience that. 

I do, you know, I have my own STEM story, as I say, but there's so much for me to learn too. I'm only 17 also, right? I'm not that old. I have so much more learning to do. And what's great is that there are programs that target people my age and they targeted people that are, there are girls that are 13 and girls that are 16. And now the First Empower girls that are 6. And I am really fighting for, you know, more, more STEM organizations to start springing up that do target the target little girls. And I think that Google is everyone's best friend. They're, you know, especially, you know, even just searching like STEM opportunities for girls in certain specific age, in my insert area that I live and right, that Google has become this amazing resource all week. 

How does Google even exists? Oh, wait, STEM all on G right. STEM is literally everywhere, which is another thing I'm always saying, like to use these resources that, you know, Google will allow people to find and to take initiative, you see something cool. Don't be like, okay, that's cool. Write it down. If there's an email to reach out to, reach the heck out. Find out more about what the program offers and to really know. To make the best out of our time on this planet. 

We need to take advantage of literally everything around us. Something, a quote that I say a lot is, "Do everything the way you do anything." Right? I learned this from one of my instructors on Peloton for my morning workout classes is always saying that. A couple of them actually always say that. And I think it's really beautiful way to go about life, constantly taking advantage of the resources around you constantly pushing yourself to go the extra mile because if you know, you would do it in one thing, you might as well do it in this other thing.

That's super inspiring. So the name of this podcast is GIRLBRAVE and I named it that because I think that as women and young women, we too take steps to be brave every day. No matter if it's just like raising your hand in class or sitting in the front of the classroom or staying in an advanced math class, when your teacher tells you not to. What is your definition of brave? And do you think you are brave?

I really liked that question. I think that being brave is just constantly showing up no matter what the circumstance is, just, you know, being consistent in what it is that you're doing, you know, allowing yourself to maybe falter a little bit. Maybe you're being a little bit broken down, but to continue to stick it out for a bigger why for a bigger reason. Why are you continuing to show up really recognizing that in every way we go about our life, that it is meaningful and that it is so important to just keep showing up and to just keep doing the work. 

And no, I want to be a really successful CEO one day. You know, I'm, you know, I'm starting First Empower, but I definitely still consider myself an aspiring entrepreneur. And that's so scary sometimes, right? CEO is a white guy. A white guy. Yup, that's what a CEO is. And to say, even to have this thought that that's what it, or more than thought, this intention to be that one day is being brave. 

So yes, I do think that I'm brave. And I think that, you know, even saying those words, that can be, that can be being grave that, you know, it is so hard. I think for girls to affirm themselves and to say, I am awesome. I am deserving of this. And I'm deserving of that into really just take up space into, take up, you know, say words that maybe they, maybe they feel a little bit hard to get out or a little bit on unbelievably because we're so not used to saying them. We're so not used to telling ourselves "yes", right? 

And so being brave is pushing ourselves to say those affirming words to ourselves and pushing ourselves to, to raise our hands in class because we know deep down that our words and our opinions and our thoughts are meaningful and we want other people to hear them. We need other people to hear them to create a world that is more correct than the world that we, you know, we were born into, right. 

There is so much work to be done and to really create a world that is more just, and more fair in every way, shape and form relies on girls being brave and taking up space and walking into spaces that have been historically not meant for them or they were told, were not meant for them in breaking those narratives. That shouldn't have been written in joining us during the first place, but they are, and they're going to be hard to get out absolutely. But we have to show up and we have to do the work and being brave is what's gonna allow us to make the change that we want to see in this world.

Definitely. I've always thought that taking up space is something I need to try more. So like if I'm at a meeting or something, you know, it's so easy to cross your arms and kind of get small. And I have to tell myself to spread your stuff out, spread your elbows out and like claim your space and the same with like standing where like move your feet apart and have like a powerful stance and it does make you feel more confident in yourself.

In every mirror selfie I take them myself, I'm standing with my legs completely wide apart. When I sit on the subway going to, you know, I live 45 minutes from, from my high school every single day you would catch me staring with my, in a complete man spread, whatever the heck that means. It is in my nature to take up space. So that's what I do. And I have this nature because I've been constantly encouraged to take up space right by, by my mom who is my, who was my, my female role model and still is my female role model. And that's another reason why it's so important that, you know, through these, these STEM female role models, that they... It is girls having female role models, right. In girls seeing other women take up space in, fields that are not, you know, that they weren't necessarily meant for them to be taking space up in the first place. 

So I think that taking up space is very much both, no physical thing. And, you know, mental thing, you need to tell yourself that you can take up space and that you should take up space. And I think that, you know, a lot of the work that we must do is really work on our, on ourselves, on ourselves and on our confidence and the girls, unfortunately, you know, when they're starting off in their careers or just going throughout school, right. That yes, it's about, you know, doing the actual academic work, but there's always this like inner dialogue that is work that needs to be done. So because that's the fact because girls are born into this world where they're handed a whole extra set of homework or the need to do might as well just do it might as well just embrace the fact that we need. 

We have a long, long history of not giving, not being given that the same things in every capacity that boys have. So now it's our time to recognize that, which is the first step into now constantly be doing that work on ourselves. And I really think that that is work, that we will see a real tangible effect. And that is so exciting.

Well, I see it already in you, you know, like, so I'm in my forties and I'm still struggling with that confidence and that self doubt and that inner voice that constantly is telling me I'm not good enough. I could be doing better, but to learn it at a younger age, 17 or six or five, I mean, that's the work that we're all doing right now together in this world. And I think it's so incredible. And I hope I do know that I already see the difference. I mean, what you showed me today is I would never say any of that at 17. I mean, so it's just super inspiring and you are doing amazing work for the generation underneath you. And I appreciate being able to talk to you today and getting to know you and oh gosh, you're doing wonderful things and I will keep following you.

Awesome. That makes me really, really happy to hear. Thank you so much for having me.

You're welcome. Can you tell us your website real quick so people can, visit you?

It's If you search us on Google just First Empower, first space Empower, we should show up. We're still working on that. And please follow me on Instagram. It's @izzylapidus. That's definitely where I am most active as First Empower is actually going to be doing some behind scenes work for awhile. So we're not going to really be producing new content as we're all, you know, 17, 18 years old. And my three co-founders are not going to be doing college, incoming semester, and I'll be starting college. So a lot of changes going on, but we are here to stay. Our work is here to stay. It is a lifetime worth of work, but I think the best platform to really stick with what we're up to is definitely through following me.

Great. And can people donate on your site?

Yes, there is a GoFundMe App that we have not been promoting all that much right now, but definitely all donations are, are used to producing more innovative STEM education for young girls. So if that is something that you care about, which I really hope you do after this conversation or listening to this. Yes, definitely. That would be fantastic. It's on, on every single page on our website, there's a support or and there's a whole page on our website just for the GoFundMe as well. You'll definitely see it.

Well. Great. Well, Pincurl Girls would definitely be giving you a donation.

Thank you.

You're welcome. Thanks again for hopping on tonight. It's been great and I hope you have a great rest of the summer and enjoy college. Yay. 

Thank you so much. You're welcome.

Thanks for joining us on the GIRLBRAVE podcast. Go to to hear more interviews with inspiring girls. And if you want to get on our daily texts list, go ahead and click the encouraging text tab at the top. We'll see you next time. Bye.

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