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Founder Story

Story

Hi, I'm Ashie the founder and CEO of StemChef. StemChef started in my kitchen. Let me preface my saying that the StemChef journey started two years before even having the idea to form a company and it was all because of my first baby girl, Nyneisha. She is now nine years old and my second baby StemChef will be turning four soon. So assuming my memory serves right, the groundwork for StemChef started setting when Nyneisha was just about three. There were innumerable instances over the course of the two years that led to the final not so Aha moment of founding StemChef. But I'm going to highlight one of my favorites.

Some date in 2015:
The bathtub was filled with warm bathwater, but Nyneisha (3 at the time) wouldn’t oblige and go have a bath.
Nyneisha: “Why should I go now?”
Me: “Because the water will turn cold after a while”
Nyneisha: “Why will my bath water turn cold?”
(The string of Whys is probably very familiar to anyone around toddlers)
The answer to that question is simply the principle of thermodynamics. But how can a three-year-old understand this? And, yes, I am a Chemical Engineer.
So I answered, “Imagine I have 4 candies and you have none. Will you be happy?”
Her response was, “Of course not!”
Me: “What about if you have 4 candies and I have none?”
Nyneisha: “Well, mommy, you will be sad” [She has always been a very fair child]
Me: “When will both of us be happy?”
Nyneisha: “When we both have the same number of candies,” and then she split the candies equally between us.
Me: “Imagine heat is candy, the air is you, and your bath water is me. The bath water and air won’t be happy until the heat is distributed equally between them.”
Later we made iced chocolate from hot chocolate and measured the heat needed to make the hot and cold chocolate happy!
The bath water did run cold that day, but from the next day on, she’d jump in the bathtub with a dozen toys and enact the candy (heat) metaphor.
This was just one of the myriad examples. That day set a snowball into action and abstract scientific concepts much like "Thermodynamics" transformed into recipes.
After all these years I'm still as excited and challenged to be transforming science into recipes and games!