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Pop Culture

Actress Mae Whitman credits being able to navigate childhood stardom to her 'gentle dad'

“If everyone had a gentle dad, the world would be a better place,” one commenter wrote.

gentle parenting
@dearmedia/TikTok

Mae Whitman credits her healthy childhood to her "gentle dad."

Hollywood stardom is all too often a dangerous landscape for child actors. Many celebrities who got famous early have come out with their own personal accounts of being exploited and abused by the industry or by their own parents.

Mae Whitman, however, is not one of those actors.

At the age of 6, Whitman starred as Meg Ryan’s daughter in “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and since then has gone on to roles in notable shows like “Arrested Development,” "Parenthood" and “Good Girls.” Now, at age 34, she is starring in a musical comedy on Hulu called “Up Here.”

During a podcast interview with “Dear Media,” Whitman was asked how she managed to navigate early success while dodging those all-too-common pitfalls that many young stars fall victim to.

“I hate to give them all the credit, but it’s my parents,” she quipped. “They ruled. They were so cautious and they were so meticulous about prioritizing and walking me through what was important in life. What not to take personally. Our family was so communication-based.”

She then praised her dad in particular for being a healthy male presence.

@dearmedia #maewhitman is the way she is all thanks to her parents. Shoutout to the #gentledads 🥹 #notskinnybutnotfat #familygoals #podcastclips ♬ Storytelling - Adriel

“I grew up with a gentle dad—it’s a term I’ve coined with people,” she said. “A gentle dad is like a sensitive dad. There was no teasing in my house. There was no meanness. There was no ‘You need to make us proud.’ It was an open source of communication and sensitivity and consideration.”

She then gave a sweet story as an example, explaining that as a kid, she could never get into sleepovers and always wanted to go home (relatable for any introvert, to be sure). In order to avoid any embarrassment, Whitman and her father developed a code phrase that signaled it was time to pick her up.

@dearmedia Calling your parents to pick you up at sleepovers > Yes or no? ⬇️ #sleepovers #sleepoverstory #parentpickup #maewhitman #notskinnybutnotfat #podcastclips ♬ Graduate - BLVKSHP

“I would call my dad, completely casual,” she recalled, “and be like, ‘It’s awesome I’m having the best time I’ve ever had. But quick question: Did you feed the turtle?’”

Without fail, Whitman’s dad would come and get her. That is Gentle Dad-ing 101.

The interview struck a chord with viewers, many of whom had their own gentle dad to give credit to.

“My dad was a gentle dad and I miss him everyday,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I grew up with a gentle dad, and married a man who is a gentle dad. It’s the biggest flex a man can have.”

And those who didn’t grow up with that kind of support shared how much they yearned for it.

“Ooof to not have Dad issues would absolutely rule,” commented one person.

“Where was the signup sheet? Cuz I missed it,” another echoed.

Regardless, people were unanimously on board with the idea. As one person put it, “If everyone had a gentle dad, the world would be a better place.”

Just another example of how gentle parenting can work wonders for developing some high-functioning, healthy kids, whether they’re thrust into stardom or not.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

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Education & Information

From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

True

Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 10 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
Joy

Doggo loses his mind with joy when he finds out he's going to visit Grandma and Grandpa

Sound up for this one because Nosh REALLY loves his grandparents.

Nosh freaked when he found out they were going to see Safta and Boppa.

Eagerly anticipating a trip to the fun and doting grandparents' house is something we think of children doing, but one couple's doggo proves that visiting the "grandpawrents" is just as exciting.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed nearly 30 million times, dog owners Skylar and Deko are nearing the end of a 20-hour drive from Phoenix to Kansas City, Missouri. Their good doggo named Nosh, sits in the backseat, looking out the front window.

Suddenly, Skylar asks Nosh if he wants to go visit Safta and Boppa, the nicknames of his grandparents, and he immediately reacts. You can practically hear him say, "Whut? Grandma and Grandpa? Are you serious?!? OMG, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!! When are we gonna get there?!?" only it comes out as a series of squeals and whimpers and sneezy woofs of joy.

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Pop Culture

A-ha's stripped-down, slowed-down performance of 'Take On Me' is a must-see

The slower tempo and simple instrumentation creates a sadder, more haunting version of the 80s monster hit.

A-ha performing live for MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice

According to NPR—and the ABBA blaring from my young adult daughter's headphones—we're in the midst of an 80s music revival. As a Gen Xer who came of age in the 80s, I think most of that decade should stay locked in a time capsule, but there are a few songs that have managed to remain timeless despite the synthesizers and bad hair.

A-ha's "Take On Me" is one of them. Despite its consummately-80s sound, the song with the famous sketch animated video is still enjoyable (if not a little earwormy—good luck once it gets stuck in your head).

But a lesser-known 2017 arrangement of the song is actually, miraculusly, even better. A-ha performed "Take On Me" for an MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice album, and it's significantly different than the original. The Norwegian band filmed the performance live on the island of Giske, dropping the electric piano as well as the tempo for a stripped-down version that has become a fan favorite. As of this writing, the video has 97 million views on YouTube.

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@davidcsmalley/TikTok

But can she start it?

David C. Smalley, a comedian and podcaster, regularly gives us some generational humor by exposing his 19-year-old daughter Talissa to relics of the past. You know, things like CDs, phonebooks, remote controllers…feeling old yet?

Recently, Smalley challenged Talissa with navigating a standard U-Haul storage truck. She had to 1) unlock the door 2) roll down a window and 3) start the engine.

For those of us who grew up before the 90s, this might sound like the easiest challenge ever. But apparently, for Gen Z, it’s like being asked to maneuver a horse and buggy.
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