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By Catherine Abbott

Catherine AbbottIt’s the holiday season at the AAPS office in Arlington, Va., and we are gearing up for giving. Not only do many of our staff give to the AAPS Foundation to support pharmaceutical science research grants, but we also keep science in mind when buying gifts for friends and family. Here are some AAPS staff picks for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) gifts this season.

Cooking can be a great chemistry lesson. So I recommend learning more about the science behind cuisine, including lab reports, in Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food, by Jeff Potter.

Stacey May, director of public outreach, recommends gifts from Wonder Workshop. Stacey has two kids, ages 7 and 9, and she loves that these products expose children to coding and gamification through teaching robots new tricks and commands.

Todd Reitzel, director of publications, buys supplies for his daughter’s science fair from Home Science Tools. Shop by interest, grade, or project.


Amanda Bledsoe, meetings manager, discovered GoldieBlox when searching for a birthday gift for her five-year old niece who loves to build. Amanda likes that GoldieBlox is designed specifically to encourage young girls to take an interest in STEM and “disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”

Kate Hawley, business development manager, recalls some fundamentals of science learned when she was younger, one being Newton’s Third Law. Check out this t-shirt for a fun play-on-words. Kate also had her 6-year-old niece in mind when she saw Roominate on the TV show “Shark Tank.” It’s a building game based on science, and it caters to girls.

Joy Davis, director of knowledge management, thinks that “everyone wants a drone.” So she recommends a drone with a camera on it for all those wondrous adventurers out there.

Jackie Councill, senior staff accountant, considers her family to be the “geeky” type of family that loves to laugh. She recommends The Big Bang Theorysoft kitty” apparel and toys for this holiday season. The Big Bang Theory offers a perfect mixture of both geeky and laughter!

telescopeMeredith Weston, professional development manager, enjoys using the Orion 90mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope, which was recently gifted to her brother who is into astronomy. This holiday she looks forward to setting it up outside next to a bonfire amongst the amazing night sky and even better family conversation.

Managing Editor Linda Brown reports that her son, currently working on a master’s in computer science, enjoys sharing creative descriptions and detailed diagrams on topics ranging from biology and space vehicles to nuclear power and plate tectonics, all from the book Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, by Randall Munroe.

Share your ideas for STEM gifts below! And if you’re purchasing gifts from Amazon, make sure to use Amazon Smile to donate a portion of your purchase price to the AAPS Foundation!

Catherine Abbott is the AAPS publications manager. She has a master’s in publishing from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Tennessee.