How might we instill and maintain the confidence of young women in their STEM abilities?
The One Stone team set out with a goal to help young girls instill confidence in their STEM abilities. During the understand and empathize phase of the design thinking process, the student planning team discovered an insight about women being the minority in STEM fields: women like to work together and they also like to help people. Women and girls often choose to not continue in STEM fields because they think the work won’t be ‘helpful’ or won’t include a strong social aspect.
Resolve was created as a project to help fix those two fallacies. The team wanted to reach girls in the 8th grade in hopes of sparking their interests prior to selecting their high school courses. Students were given “case files” of a person with a disability, they formed teams to create and design an adaptive device to solve a problem. The tasks exposed recipients to elements of design and biomedical engineering at a basic level in an effort to boost interest in a STEM career. The One Stone students rolled out the project working with a group of 8th grade girls from Fairmont Junior High. The One Stone team introduced the elements of design thinking and assisted in brainstorming, ideating, prototyping and testing their devices. There were five unique adaptive devices created that the One Stone students had not envisioned previously in their own prototyping. The project wrapped up with teams sharing their inventions with the rest of the groups.
Recipients got a one-on-one mentoring experience with One Stone members. From pre and post survey data, students increased their interest in future STEM careers from 20% to 85%. At the end of the event, 100% of students feel that math and science can have an impact on someone’s life.
From the One Stone team:
“I am excited that we opened some eyes to possible futures.”
“We got to de-bunk some STEM myths and have a great time doing it!”
“I can’t wait to see where these girls go!”