A Note from Our Founder
Home from college due to the COVID-2019 pandemic, I found myself missing many aspects of my university experience. My dorm room was quickly replaced by my childhood bedroom, my lecture halls became Zoom calls, and long conversations with friends shifted to FaceTimes. However, as someone who spent a weekly shift volunteering in the pediatric oncology unit of Yale New Haven Hospital, I noticed one aspect of school didn't make the virtual transition quite so smoothly -- extracurricular activities.
Growing up, especially in my younger years, clubs and activities were as influential to my education as time spent in the classroom. Closing the gender gap in the science fields became a passion of mine, as I spent two years in high school on an all-girls robotics team, taught computer science camps in the summers, and passed much of my time in science classrooms and laboratories. Along with friends Hollis Cutler, Haley Prince, Eleanor Nuechterlein and our amazing faculty sponsor Mary Jarratt, I started Fem 'n STEM after my sophomore year, as a K-12 club with the mission of encouraging all genders equally to pursue their passions in the sciences. We met monthly, and carried out a variety of interactive experiments for fourth through sixth grade students, led by high school upperclassmen.
I've spent a lot of time thinking back on my younger years since I've been home from my university. Upon hearing that many younger students didn't have any form of online learning due to technological and age restraints, I began brainstorming ways that I could bring extracurricular activities to the home. Despite supposedly being "self sufficient adults," my older sisters and I constantly pester our parents for entertainment between classes, so I can imagine the need for a distraction is much greater with younger generations. And in a time when science, medicine, and technology are more crucial than ever, the push for a larger STEM workforce has never been stronger.
My idea for Fem 'n STEM, this time around, was to create science-themed boxes containing absolutely all of the necessary components to carry out four experiments. Each box follows a specific scientific theme. In addition to raw materials, boxes include an engineering journal (with template pages following the scientific process), detailed written instructions, and explanations of the science behind each process. The experiments are aimed at students between 3rd and 6th grade, but truth be told, I still find them enjoyable myself.
Fem 'n STEM boxes are a great way to show students that science is fun, engaging, and understandable -- more appealing than the overwhelming tangles of words which headlines make it out be. Encouraging all genders equally to pursue their passions is critical -- the best way to prevent stereotypes from setting in is to beat them.
Together, let's change the numbers.
Buy a box today.
Yale University Student
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