Shattering the Glass Ceiling:Promoting STEM Careers for Women2020-2021 Final Report
Summary: Patchogue-Medford High School located in Medford, NY have completed a successful year in promoting careers in the STEM field for young women. This campaign supported young women grades 9-12. The project was developed by 8 young women that had passion about advocacy and furthering career opportunities for young women.
Mission Statement:We are a group of girls from Patchogue-Medford High School, doing our most to advocate for women. Through the power of social media, our school and community we hope to gain as much support as possible to bring attention to a common issue among women. This being the lack of women in STEM fields. We hope to effectively and efficiently reach a solution by hosting events, researching and working together!
Impact Area: STEM & Digital Literacy
Project Need: This project was selected because there was an established disconnect among females working in STEM careers. There is a notorious stigma about women working in STEM based careers. Many science loving young women at Patchogue-Medford High School wanted to tear down this stigma and demonstrate that these careers are viable options.
Project Research Findings: Through research information was recorded about STEM based careers and statistics in regards to pursuing one of these specific careers. The team evaluated our research and began developing pitch ideas of how to communicate our ideas to a larger demographic than we knew previously. Students began a large social media campaign hosting stories, live sessions and posting photos/videos to attract viewers. Students also tried word of mouth techniques in spreading information by communicating in school forums for discussion.
Team Planning: Students kept a regular routine of communication among members. Students met weekly at first virtually then later in person to discuss how they would collaborate. At first students researched over the span of two weeks in separate locations. They kept in touch throughout the process of uncovering famous female STEM entrepreneurs. Then the Instagram lives & stories starting being created. At this point students starting hearing about the program. The team continuously met weekly to further along their initiatives and goals. The meetings started happening in person & so did the small crowds of curious girls to hear about our mission.
Team Events: The team had a late start to the competition and campaign. In February to coincide with student’s week off from classes an Instagram live was held. This event gathered roughly 10 additional students outside of the competition members. Next, another instagram live was held in April and this event featured 17 members showing a clear growth with interest. Outside of the two Instagram live events students held one in person forum within the HS which drew 10 students on top of the 8 which participated in the campaign itself.
Civic Engagement: Since the majority of this campaign was held virtually it was easy to reach a target market outside of Patchogue-Medford High School. The percentages of young women which participated in live events through social media was small. In a normal year we do believe that this would have grown much larger. Socialization had been very limited during this entire pandemic. Our goal as a team is to take this campaign further away from Patchogue-Medford High School and further away from Long Island, NY. Our goal is to take this to larger digital forums where we could appeal to middle school females and college students.
Impact Outcomes:Short term→1-Dispersing information among females grades 9-12 within our high school on Long Island, NY.2-Creating a social media presence among students in our community. 3-Finding young females in communities next to our community to disperse information/knowledge to. Long term→1-Young women at our high school will apply to trade programs instead of traditional colleges to study careers that are prominent in the STEM field.2-Creating a strong impact in knowledge among middle school females of STEM based careers.3-Informing college aged females about STEM careers while they are studying other programs or working in other fields. Evidence: Instagram stories, followers, Instagram live sessions, website viewership and in person attendance. Quotes on the project→ ‘I wanted to study science after high school but never knew which career options existed before for young women.’- Nicole Fox, Grade 9 ‘I wasn’t sure what to study after high school but after this experience I think that I will pursue a trade that is part of the STEM field.’-Charlotte Rooney, Grade 11