Terry Kraft says she admires strong, fearless, driven women.
Though she might not admit it, she’s arguably become one herself.
A staunch advocate for STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education in Lancaster County, Kraft, 50, of Landisville, has segued from a career in public relations to one focused on promoting the benefits of hands-on learning and problem solving.
A graduate of Lancaster Catholic High School and Elizabethtown College, in 2016 Kraft became the executive director of the North Museum of Nature & Science. She then founded her own company, The Pivotal Group, in 2018.
In addition to working as CEO of her company, she serves as the chief esports strategist for the Emerald Foundation, a Manheim Township-based nonprofit that’s helping schools across Lancaster and Lebanon counties add esports, or competitive video gaming, clubs.
Family: Married to Doug Kraft; two biological sons, Jordan and Justin Baker, and David Kamwanga, who we took legal guardianship of last year.
When she discovered her love for science: “My favorite field trip in elementary school was to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. I loved the planetarium and the giant human heart exhibit.”
Message to girls interested in STEM: “Explore your interests! Take advantage of opportunities in your school, interview a local STEM professional and connect with a community program like STEM Sisters, TechGYRLS, Girls Code Club, and the Lancaster Chamber’s Young Women Discovering Paths initiative.”
On working with the Lancaster County STEM Alliance Advisory Board: “I lead the community-based learning initiative where we collaborate to grow diverse STEM leadership within our community that will work together to inspire individuals of all ages, especially women, individuals of color, and those living in poverty to embrace STEM literacy as an avenue to future prosperity.”
Favorite movie: “My family and I have this discussion regularly. I’m just not sure I can pick one favorite movie. I have to say, however, that I’ve adopted Wonder Woman as part of my personal brand ever since the movie was released!”
Famous person she’d love to have dinner with: “Judge Judy. I admire strong, fearless women who face obstacles with grace and determination.”
A chief esports strategist is: “I direct the North America Scholastic Esports Federation initiative on the east coast for my client, the Emerald Foundation. I build relationships with organizations, businesses and educational institutions to implement this vision as well as oversee all esports endeavors, programs, events, and staff for the Emerald Foundation.”
On the benefits of esports: “Through the game itself players improve visual acuity and attention, foster scientific reasoning, accelerate language learning, improve digital and print literacy, increase satisfaction in school, and increase technology fluency. It has also been associated with higher math achievement. This is in addition to developing numerous social-emotional learning skills such as fostering personal growth, increasing problem-solving skills, and cultivating persistence.
Favorite video game: “My favorite games as a child were PacMan and Pitfall (which I played on Intellivision). I also played a lot of Mario Kart and GoldenEye 007 with my brother Dave in my early 20s, a time which I refer to as BK (Before Kids).”
Note: Responses have been edited for length.