From the editor:

Smart Girls

Jan. 13, 2015

We all have them. You know, those guilty pleasures — those things that we know are mindless or trite yet we still enjoy? If I’m being honest, I probably have more than I should admit, so in the hopes of not embarrassing myself publicly, I’ll keep some to myself. But I will own up to loving to watch awards shows. Golden Globes, Emmys, Oscars…I rarely miss them. I love the formality, the gowns, the entertainment, the gaffes, the heartfelt acceptance speeches, and the horrible ones that are played off with music. For me, it’s a great escape.

Last Sunday I sat down to watch the Golden Globes. I have to say, it was a little boring this year. First of all, I’m apparently completely out of the loop because there were so many television shows up for awards that I had never heard of, let alone watched. It was boring, and yet I still didn’t turn it off. (Also, can I be Helen Mirren when I grow up?)

Though I love the shows, and the red carpet beforehand, it has always bugged me how ridiculously stupid some of the interviews are. Not so much on the part of the star, but based on the dumb questions they get asked. It’s all about looks, designers, diets and Spanx and not a whole lot about talent, craft, inspiration or thoughtful discussion.

I haven’t been the only one to notice. Actress Amy Poehler (I also want to be her, or at least hang out with her) runs Smart Girls, an online community to inspire young girls. The organization is super active on Twitter and I love seeing all the #smartgirls posts about amazing women and girls who are doing incredible things. For awards season, they run a campaign called #smartgirlsask that seeks to interview stars on the red carpet about more than just their dresses. Because, as we know, women are about so much more.

Spartan women are about loads more. Every day, students, faculty and alumni are doing incredible things all over the world. They’re making discoveries, treating patients, teaching children, running companies, cleaning the environment, creating art, solving problems and inspiring others.

MSU microbiologist Gemma Reguera, pictured on the far right above, is just one example. Though the above photo is a few years old, it’s one of my favorites. That is a group of some really brilliant and cool women.  Reguera, and her female team of researchers, unraveled the mystery of how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste. Pretty cool, right? I don’t care who designed their lab coats or their shoes — they’re creating energy and cleaning up the environment!

Jeanne Wald is another #smartgirl at MSU. She’s a professor and associate chair of the Department of Mathematics. She’s been a leader in three major department initiatives that have involved Honors College students and enriched their experience during her more than 30 years at MSU. Learn more about her in the FACULTY VOICE: Add it Up.

Professional writing students Zoe Zappitell and Brittney Urich are still students but they are absolutely #smartgirls. The two friends are are set to launch their unique and safe campus app, Conecter, in February. Read more about these two intelligent young women and their project in STUDENT VIEW: Designing Connections.

It’s so important for young girls to have role models like Reguera, Wald, Zappitell and Urich. Spartan women do amazing things every single day. Who will cultivate strong, smart women leaders and change the world for the better? Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone