Stephanie Lensing, Brand Experience Manager, Betty Crocker

Stephanie Lensing is a brand experience manager at Betty Crocker and heads the brand’s BettyLab project. In this edition of The Friday Five, Lensing explains the connection between culinary skills and STEM learning.

What is the mission of the BettyLab project?

The goal of BettyLab is to inspire connection, experimentation, and innovation in the kitchen. The hub, updated regularly, will feature step-by-step tutorials for interactive and edible creations.

We believe the kitchen is more than a room and baking is just the beginning. We created BettyLab so that every “Betty” can use their kitchen and the resources they have to unlock new possibilities and potential.

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In what ways do culinary skills intersect with STEM?

Culinary skills offer the optimal intersection with STEM. Just think of measuring, dividing, weighing, converting, mixing, heating/cooling, and even how solids and liquids interact. It’s all science — the kitchen was the original laboratory.

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Betty Crocker partnered with the Barbie™ Dream Gap Project for its first initiative. What makes Barbie a good partner brand?

Betty Crocker partnered with Barbie™ Dream Gap Project to empower girls to realize their limitless potential. Research shows that by age 5, many girls stop believing they can be anything they want to be — the time of this drop in confidence is called the Dream Gap. In 2018, Barbie launched the Barbie Dream Gap Project as a global initiative to give girls the resources and support the need to continue believing in themselves. Betty Crocker is working with the Barbie™ Dream Gap Project initiative to help inspire all parents to build girls’ confidence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and beyond through the power of baking and culinary science.

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Tell us about the process of developing the Learn How and Try Now activities on BettyLab.

The BettyLab was born of the collaborative efforts between VMLY&R and General Mills. Designed to build the confidence of girls and all kids, the BettyLab connects the power of STEM with baking.  To create STEM-based baking experiments that were not only engaging but also educational, VMLY&R led a human-centered design work session with the General Mills R&D team.

VMLY&R’s existing expertise in biology, chemistry, and engineering was matched by decades of insight and experience from the General Mills R&D team. Together they reimagined how Betty Crocker could help parents build confidence in kids, specifically young girls, through the power of STEM and at-home experiments. We asked big questions (such as how each STEM principle came to life) to smaller questions (such as what does the BettyLab smell like), nothing was left unanswered. VMLY&R took key learnings and developed the BettyLab content strategy.  

Betty Crocker has created and tested recipes for a hundred years. VMLY&R surfaced existing popular, kitchen-tested recipes that could be clear examples of recipes rooted in STEM principles. These recipes were then leveraged for each Learn & Try page. Every Learn and Try page on the BettyLab was born from VMLY&R’s overall strategic plan and led by a strategist with an education in biomedical engineering and engineering mathematics. This was vital as the BettyLab aims to offer hands-on learning experiences and help bridge the gap between girls and STEM. The Learn and Try pages can help change the way families view their time in the kitchen. The BettyLab reveals the science behind baking and cooking in the original lab — the kitchen.

We’re just getting started! We’ll continue to post activities, experiments, and recipes on the site to encourage bakers and learners, young and old, to visit often.

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What other initiatives can we look forward to from BettyLab?

Stay tuned and visit often to find out.

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Let the discovery beginvisit the BettyLab to get started.