MIT professor shares his 'favorite new equipment' in his lab and it's seriously great

While childcare challenges facing women in the workplace have come under the spotlight during the pandemic, the issue isn't new. As one of the only nations in the world without guaranteed paid parental leave as well as one without broadly subsidized childcare, parents often have to weigh childcare costs with their earnings and make tough choices between work and family.

In academia, where graduate students are working toward a career but aren't fully into one yet, figuring out how to balance family and studies on a limited income is also a challenge, which is why one MIT professor's photo of an addition to his lab has people cheering.

Troy Littleton, professor of biology at MIT, shared a photo of a portable crib squeezed in between a desk and a cabinet and wrote:


"My favorite new equipment purchase for the lab – a travel crib to go in my office so my graduate student can bring her 9-month old little girl to work when necessary and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done. Win-win!!"

A flood of comments praising the professor poured in, as people shared how their own professors or bosses had similarly supported them and their children.

The praise reinforced the fact that pursuing a profession and building a family are not mutually exclusive endeavors and that creating ways to help parents—especially mothers, who tend to be the primary caregivers during the earliest years of a child's life—balance both things is a valuable move. While bringing a baby to work wouldn't work under all circumstances, allowing for the option when it can work can make all the difference in the world.

Interestingly, sprinkled throughout the comments of praise were comments of befuddlement from people outside of the U.S. Questions like "Don't you have paid leave when you have a baby?" and "You mean there aren't free childcare facilities on-site?" from Europeans, Australians, etc. brought home the fact that this childcare/career conundrum is largely a uniquely American thing.

Like many "feel good" stories of individuals stepping up to fill a hole where a social safety net should be, professor Littleton's post almost seems a bit sad in light of these comments. It would be great if we could structure our systems to be more family-friendly as a matter of policy. At the same time, his offering a way for his student to continue her studies while taking care of her baby illustrates a sense of understanding and compassion our society needs more of.

Thank you, professor Littleton, for serving as an example and opening people's minds to what is possible.

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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