She never dreamed having her picture taken to recruit engineers would turn out to be a controversy.

Is it really that hard to imagine software engineers can be ANYBODY?

When Isis Wenger agreed to be part of a recruiting campaign for engineers, she never imagined she'd face the controversy that arose.

Image courtesy of Isis Wenger.


What exactly was it about this image that had people clamoring to dissect her involvement? Did she say something messed up about engineering? Did she do something offensive in her pose? Check out the image and see if you can pick up on it.

Image courtesy of Isis Wenger.

Did you notice it yet? Well let me help you out: All of the hubbub is over what she looks like. Because she's a woman. And because she's photogenic by traditional standards, people have even more to say about her inclusion into the campaign.

Some Internet commenters had some weird and sometimes offensive responses to her ad. Well, I have some responses to them.

"If their intention is to attract more women then it would have been better to choose a picture with a warm, friendly smile rather than a sexy smirk."
— Annoying person on the Internet

So she smirked. The fact that you find it sexy is all happening in your head. That's not on her or the ad campaign.

"This is some weird haphazard branding. I think they want to appeal to women, but are probably just appealing to dudes. Perhaps that's the intention all along. But I'm curious [if] people with brains find this quote remotely plausible and if women in particular buy this image of what a female software engineer looks like. IDK. Weird."
— Equally annoying person on the Internet

This image lets women see a woman in a male-dominated profession and maybe be inspired by it. And yet somehow, her effort has been twisted into a male-centric view. She fits into the standard of what you've been programmed to deem attractive, guy, therefore, she must have been intended for your ocular consumption, right? It's also pretty telling that you didn't "buy this image" — since it turns out the image is real. She IS what a female engineer looks like. Because she is one. Duh.

But the really great part of the story comes next. Because Isis wrote about it, and then the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer took off, showing that engineers come in all genders, shapes, skin colors, and sizes.

Image courtesy of Isis Wenger.


Now it looks like the #ILookLikeAnEngineer movement has raised enough money to put up a billboard in San Francisco, making an overt attempt to change the general public's mind about what engineers look like.

It even inspired me to start taking my own career-change aspirations seriously.

Today, I'm a writer. But, having thought about this seriously for awhile, who knows what tomorrow could bring? The campaign gives inspiration not just to female engineers who deserve to be seen, but also to me and the millions of people secretly asking themselves this question:

For the young girls, grown women, and people of color in your life who may just need that nudge of encouragement, seeing this could make a huge difference in their life's trajectory.

That is what one picture — and a great movement — can do.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture