By Min Sung (Ellie) Kim, Founder
Hey everyone! I am the Founder of She Leads STEM INC. and this is my blog debut! This organization originally came to be because of my science research project, and recently, I finished writing my paper! I wanted to share my experiences and journey of conducting my own research...
How I got started.
I decided to take a Science Research class that was offered at my high school, and on the first day of the class, we were told to choose a topic to potentially research. Before I was set on 'the one,' I read journal articles on a range of topics— from the science of sleep, to anxiety, and even chronic pain. I remember ranting to my research teacher because I believed that I would never find a topic I wholeheartedly liked. And then I did.
I decided to research the STEM gender gap, but then it evolved to a project on STEM education. My personal experiences as a girl who loved science attracted me to this topic, especially growing up with a brother and seeing only two girls in my physics class. Designing the project took a lot of trial and error, trying to figure out what was possible for me to do while also taking the project in the direction that I wanted to. My mentor and I bounced ideas off of each other. First, we wanted to see the effects of coding classes and exposure, but the issue of screen time prevented the project proposal from being approved. Then, we wanted to bring hands-on activities and see the effects, but that idea was too ambitious for the small amount of time we had. Finally, we resulted to analyzing elementary students' attitudes toward STEM through distributing surveys. At first, I wanted to distribute the surveys through the elementary schools in my district, but I was advised to release the survey to private and public social media groups. Looking back, my project made a lot of twists and turns, and it is crazy to see where I have ended up!
So, how did it lead to developing this organization?
In the process of developing my project, there were so many opportunities for me to start this organization. So many doors kept opening, and I couldn't help but walk in. Doing my research project made me even more passionate about STEM education, and discussing these issues and solutions with professionals in the field encouraged me to take action. My mentor helped me receive the opportunity to work with FestaVille to host a summer camp workshop, and that launched the start of my organization.
After FestaVille, I realized that there was so much more I could do to bring STEM education to underrepresented communities. I grew an ambition to grow this organization and discover what impact I can make to society.
Creating an organization was something that was not on my original "goal sheet" when taking the Science Research class. The passion to create She Leads STEM was something that was developed over time, as my eyes opened to the world of non-profits, educational research, and with the connections I made with people. As a high school student, creating an organization was something that I believed to be impossible for someone my age. However, the help and support I received proved to me that we are capable of creating meaningful changes in our communities and impacting lives. This research project even led me to discover what career path I want to pursue! I hope to be a secondary education science teacher, and it is all thanks to the experiences I've had working on my research and building this organization. I am so excited to learn, collaborate, and see how this organization develops over time.