“Engineers are boys.”
That’s what Komal Singh, program manager in engineering at Google, remembers her four-year-old daughter telling her before deciding to write a children’s book about a girl who loves STEM.
Men make up 75 percent of the STEM workforce. Now Singh is encouraging girls — specifically girls of color, to dive into the fields of STEM with her new book and passion project Ara the Star Engineer.
Singh partnered with other women in Google to write and develop the new book. The senior director of technical program management, Kripa Krishnan; the engineering director, Parisa Tabriz; Google fellow, Diane Tang; and the vice president, Marian Croak–are all featured in and helped Komal author the book. Ipek Konak also assisted by working on illustrations.
Singh said she wants her books to trigger curiosity in STEM for children and for kids to become more comfortable using terms such as “algorithm” and “troubleshooting.”
“I want them to see women engineering leaders of diverse backgrounds as ‘sheroes,'” Singh said. “This is very important in today’s world where a huge gender gap exists in tech, and such representation is very important.”
Singh had never worked on a project of this sort but said producing the book gave her a chance to utilize both her creative and technical side.
“Being a software engineer by background, I’ve always been technical minded. The things I enjoy doing the most are where I can use my left and right side of the brain,” Singh said. “This book was the perfect opportunity and the journey was very gratifying and fulfilling!”
Ara the Star Engineer is available for purchase at various bookstores and retailers. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Room to Read, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing girls’ education and child literacy in Africa and Asia.