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Day 10: Alexandra Greenhill’s Unique Path To Becoming A Scientist & Innovator

Today Science World’s Robotics Club is meeting for the VEX® Robotics series Robot Showdown. To succeed in robotics, you need to be innovative. Our final profiled scientist, Dr Alexandra T Greenhill, embodies the spirit of innovation!

Alexandra studied medicine in university to become a family physician, a career that is both rewarding and challenging, yet she saw the need and found the energy to do more!

Alexandra had been interested in coding since high school and when she had kids of her own, she played games to teach them the fundamentals of coding. Following a conversation with fellow entrepreneur Nathan Slee, the pair decided to turn the games she played with her kids into a resource any parent could use, now Alexandra is CEO and creator of Littlecodr.

She didn't stop there. She found that, as someone balancing the workload of a physician, tech entrepreneur, and mother is quite a tall order and that she, like so many mothers, could use help! So in response to this problem she built a solution, Alexandra is also the CEO and cofounder of myBestHelper, an online service which matches care providers with families.

myBestHelper has received much recognition, including: 1st place winner Startup Weekend Vancouver 2011, 3rd place in New Ventures BC 2012, one of 20 BC Emerging Ready to Rocket companies in 2014 and 2015, 2015 Blackbox Google for Entrepreneurs, and the first company to ever win the Cartier World Entrepreneur Award in Oct 2015.

Alexandra tells us in her own words what it takes to have a career in tech and medicine:

AG: How can you love something you haven't even tried? To chase a career in science, you need to recognize that science is a part of our daily lives. I grew up in an academic family and thought everyone discussed things like progress in genetics at the dinner table! Science was a familiar and fun domain to explore, and that made the choice of doing medicine and tech as a career, easy. Many haven't had exposure to science, tech and medicine. This is why informal science learning environments like Science World, where kids are able to touch the exhibits and associate learning science with fun, are so important.

It's crucial that everyone in our society understands the core principles of complicated things like science, coding and robotics, then we can all be co-creators who will imagine new uses for the tools being designed by experts. This makes life better for us and others.

The power of science, technology and medicine stems from community. We live in an exciting time, I love that I can use the research findings of others as well as do applied research myself. This means I don't need to spend time doing theory or working in a lab, rather I can test how the research created by others works in real life, as well as continue to innovate on it and share the outcomes so others can use my findings. This is a continuous process where we learn from failures, celebrate successes, all while asking, "How can things be even better?"

To succeed in both tech and medicine it takes curiosity, imagination, perseverance, real team work and a healthy dose of play—because sometimes the best discoveries happen where one least expects them!

Experiment with machines at home: 

The Gadgets and Contraptions resource is one of hundreds of free science resources that you can find in our resources section. In this unit designed for kindergarten classrooms, students will participate in activities dealing with machines, including ramps, pulleys, levers and pendulums. Students will explore how parts of machines work together.

Science World's Robotics Club is meeting under the dome for the final event in a series of six VEX® Robotics sessions: The Robot Showdown! Come down to the dome and watch the action, today from 1:30pm–2pm.