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CU Professor Helping Shape Barbie's Future Image On The Job

By Karen Morfitt

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- A University of Colorado professor is helping to improve Barbie's image and her role in the workplace.

The goal-- to make it easier for young women to see themselves in STEM careers.

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"I had a lot of Barbies there were definitely not any computer engineer Barbies," said Casey Fiesler an Assistant professor of Information science at CU, "I remember it being kind of exciting when I had a doctor Barbie," she said.

CBS4's Karen Morfitt interviews Casey Fiesler (credit: CBS)

Fiesler says when asked to help consult with Mattel's latest career Barbie, she jumped at the opportunity.

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Her input focused mainly on an eBook sold in conjunction with the Barbie that helps accurately explain the job and its value in everyday life.

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The opportunity to weigh in follows a less than flattering review Fiesler made of one of the company's previous books.

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"There was a book that told a story about computer engineer and the story was not very good… it was pretty sexist."

Casey Fiesler (credit: CBS)

Fiesler's critique of that book in 2010 went viral and ultimately led to the company looking to her for guidance and her role as consultant.

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"We have this pipeline problem for girls in STEM, as they get older they start to think these things are for boys so anything to combat that stereotype the better," she said.

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While Fiesler says the company has made huge strides, there are more changes she would like to see, but, until then she's chalking up her input on the robotics Barbie as a win for women.

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"I felt like it was really important and I like to think that I made it better," Fiesler said.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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