Breaking News
More () »

Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

UW professor helps Mattel evolve Barbie

Sapna Cheryan, an associate professor of psychology at UW, helped Mattel update Barbie. The iconic doll has a new role as a robotics engineer with her own online coding lesson.

Barbie's resumé is expanding, thanks in part to an associate professor at the University of Washington.

Sapna Cheryan teaches psychology at UW. She has spent much of her career researching stereotypes of the male-dominated STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Mattel asked Cheryan to join the Barbie Global Advisory Council, made up of 12 people from a variety of occupations, each serving a one-year term on the board.

"Barbie is committed to shining a light on empowering role models past and present in an effort to inspire more girls," Mattel said in a statement.

The Council provides input and ideas on the new Barbies as Mattel updates the brand. The company recently released a new robotics engineer Barbie, complete with her own online coding lesson.

Cheryan tells UW, "Toys are really important. The first way kids get experience with different fields is through toys, like a toy microscope. But the toy market is very gender-segregated. Physics toys and dinosaurs are still seen as boys’ toys."

Read more from the University of Washington