Heidi Olinger is a writer, journalist, and nonprofit leader. She’s also an award-winning educator who creates STEAM service learning to inspire and prepare girls to innovate, problem-solve, and lead in the 21st century. What’s STEAM? Science, tech, engineering, art + design, and math.
Her latest book, Leonardo’s Science Workshop: Invent, Create, and Make STEAM Projects Like a Genius (Rockport Publishers) is an interactive adventure that embraces the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci to bring science, art, and creativity to life. Written with an inimitable combination of clarity and belief in the genius of every young reader, Leonardo’s Science Workshop models the curiosity and problem-solving that made Leonardo a genius and Heidi a voice for STEAM that is accessible, alive, and respects young people where they are. The New York Journal of Books says Leonardo’s Science Workshop “would make an excellent resource for teachers looking for multidisciplinary lesson plans with an emphasis on the pure sciences and technology.”
Heidi is the founder of Pretty Brainy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization through which girls are gaining the learning and empowerment to form companies, take risks, teach technology to younger students, win full-ride scholarships to colleges of their choice, and use STEAM to improve life for others. She is the co-founder, with members of Pretty Brainy’s girl leadership team, of MISSion Innovation, the first all-woman innovation marathon for climate action.
Heidi delivers keynotes and workshops based on her 30 years of experience with what works in learning for students underserved and underrepresented in K-12 and higher education. She has been honored to present at HP, the International Society for Technology in Education, the Noyce Scholars Program, Colorado Arts Education Association, the National Charity League, National Council of Teachers of English, and others. Her TEDx Talk delves into girls overcoming stereotypes and discovering the value of science and math and she is a frequent speaker on girls excelling in service learning and building a STEM mindset.
Heidi has been on the faculty at Colorado State University where she has taught in the Professional Science Master’s Program in the Department of Biology. She also has taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been an instructor with the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps® for Learning.
She was honored as the 2017 Woman of Inspiration by Colorado Women of Influence and, for teaching excellence, by the Boettcher Foundation, an honor whose winners are chosen by the students who are Boettcher scholars.
Her education includes degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Colorado at Boulder and post-graduate work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education Future of Learning Institute at Project Zero.
She lives in Colorado in an historic arts town with her family and rescue dog, Patches.