Boss Mom Spotlight – Dr. Ashie Bhandiwad
We want you to meet Dr Ashie Bhandiwad
Dr. Ashie is the Founder & CEO of StemChef
Share a bit about your Boss Mom journey:
My informal journey with StemChef started five odd years ago. At the time my daughter was three and half. Every morning I would be in a rush to drop her off to pre-school and head to UC Berkeley where I was working as a research scientist. And inevitably everyday she would ask me literally any question under the sun she could think of. Very early on she had learnt that mommy is a scientist and my “I don’t know” was an unacceptable answer to her.
To answer her questions almost every evening I ended up demonstrating a lesson in the kitchen and most often then not it had some scientific involvement. The science at the dinner table became a weekly ritual and exploring answers hands-on and eating the result became the norm.
It was only after a multitude of such informal explanations that I thought of what I could do for the future generations with this strategy I had discovered. So StemChef came into being . The philosophy of StemChef at its core was and remains teaching kids science through cooking. Where each recipe, highlights a scientific concept, through kitchen grade science experiments. The visually experienced science is used to cook one or two recipes.
I rolled out summer camps, after-school enrichment classes, demo classes, visited schools and after school programs and it was received with such enormous enthusiasm. I mean kids get to cook and then eat it too whats not to love (Lol). The scientific concepts were soaked up by their little brains and they actually got the implications because they applied those in the recipes. But last year I put another spin to it. I converted the “lessons” into physical escape rooms! So every science theme was essentially learnt through embarking on a puzzle solving journey. Since of course the pandemic I had to pivot to an online rendering which as a silver lining has been reaching a much wider audience since there are geographical constraints anymore.
What makes you excited about becoming a Boss Mom of the Week?
When I introduce myself, “Mom” is the qualifier I state boldly among other things. The reason for my entrepreneurial journey is my daughter. In fact she is my inspiration, my muse and my advisor on a daily basis. But that doesn’t make the juggling family and work any easier and they are the cornerstones of my professional existence. The foundation was laid when when I was finishing up my doctorate studies with an infant in tow. The efficacy of time allocation, work-life balance and maintaining sanity is an all too real battle faced by most working moms. Those struggles just makes us a stronger breed and I’m ever so proud to be featured as the Boss Mom of the Week!
One piece of advice for moms who are starting a business
First off, kudos to you Boss Moms! This is the most cliche thing you’ve heard in the book: Your journey is a marathon not a sprint. But I can honestly say it is so true from my own experience. So celebrate those small successes, the little milestones – from your personal and professional fronts. To truly “enjoy” the journey you have to be one with both your personal life and professional life. Both your business and your baby are going to grow, so savor those stages challenging as they might be and celebrate the smallest of small milestones. They will make your journey that much more real!
Where do you go for inspiration?
My daughter, the kitchen and the shower.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I love “How I Built This” podcast and sometimes listen to “Masters of Scale”. I highly recommend reading “Changing Tides”, a curated essay collected by Jenn Leblanc
I want to live in a world where…
gender, race, orientation has no bearing in the STEM world. StemChef is literally on that journey to make that dream a reality.
This is what I know to be true…
If you are truly passionate about something, you do have the power to achieve anything!
One thing you can’t live without…
What is the big milestone that you are hitting that you are celebrating?
Turning the big 4 – 0!
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