STEM to the Sky: Sharing Inspiration from STEM Professionals

Blair sophomores Aileen Qi and Annie Gao recently created their own website, STEM to the Sky, where they are posting interviews with STEM professionals, hoping to inspire and empower other students to pursue STEM careers. They shared their inspiration for the site, how they got started, and their plans for the future:

STEM to the Sky
Our initial inspiration for STEM to the Sky sparked upon reflection of our personal experiences. Both of us have grown up immersed in the STEM field, whether it be from our parents, now in the Blair Magnet Program, or in our communities. However, we realized the scope of our knowledge regarding the broad range of STEM careers is actually quite narrow. Recognizing that we and our peers often receive limited exposure to the wide array of STEM careers and what individuals in STEM actually do on a day-to-day basis, we realized the need to create a platform that provides advice, experiences, and insights directly from conversations with people in these professions. Now, more than ever, opportunities to explore STEM have diminished due to the COVID-19 lockdown, so a platform like STTS became increasingly necessary. Through sharing these stories, we hope to increase the transparency of STEM careers, promote STEM education, and encourage middle and high school students, especially those who are underrepresented, to discover or further pursue their STEM endeavors.

Initially, we looked for potential interviewees on the Magnet Foundation website because we felt like reaching out to those who already have a level of connection to us would be a good starting position.

Over the course of a month during the previous summer, we set up our website, www.stemtothesky.org, and planned for the other aspects of our platform. Our interviews range from 30 minutes to 1 hour on Zoom. We are often editing several interviews at once, while reaching out to new potential interviewees. Most of our processing time is focused on script and video editing, and we aim to feature 2 stories a month.

Moving forward, we plan to keep adding to our ever-growing collection of interviews, hoping to represent and showcase underrepresented groups in STEM as well as to introduce a wide variety of career paths within STEM. Additionally, we hope to further address the seemingly stark dichotomy between STEM and the humanities, as we have recognized that careers in STEM are often quite interdisciplinary. As we continue to compile a diverse collection of interviews, we plan to reach out to middle and high schools to share STEM to the Sky with their students, starting locally then expanding nationwide and beyond.

Three of their early interviews were with Blair Magnet alumni: Beth Weinstein '97, a NASA spacecraft manager; Samit Dasgupta '95, a mathematics professor; and Nicole Hindman '93, an academic radiologist.

Beth Weinstein Samit Dasgupta Nicole Hindman