Only 25% of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are held by women. Many girls are discouraged to pursue careers in STEM by the media or by a lack of knowledge about these career options.
Velocity is a concept for a magazine series that gives girls more opportunities to learn about STEM including information about stem career options, female role models, and stem-related activities free of bias that don't talk down to them.
In today's world, STEM fields are responsible for developing the technologies that push us forward as a society. However, women only hold a fourth of these jobs, and in fields such as computer science and engineering, the numbers are even lower. In fields like pharmaceuticals, a lack of women could cause serious health problems for female prescription drug users–8 out of 10 prescription drugs cause more side effects in women than in men due to the lack of female controls in pre-clinical trials. This is just one example of the detriment caused by the lack of women in STEM.
Many girls who are initially interested in math and science as middle schoolers are gradually discouraged to pursue it as they get older, whether by their exposure to media that doesn’t show women in STEM roles or by a lack of knowledge of the variety of careers in STEM. The stereotypes that STEM careers aren’t relational or don’t involve other people often discourage many girls who are more relationship-driven than boys and desire human connection in a career. But in reality, STEM careers go beyond the lone computer programmer sitting in his basement in front of a screen. STEM helps and connects people through hundreds of different avenues that go beyond what girls have often seen in the media.
To tackle this problem, I developed a magazine concept for girls ages 10-14 to foster an interest in STEM. Each issue would focus on a different topic; the issue I chose to create was focused on computer science. I researched and wrote the content for issue which contained information about careers, examples of influential women and people of color throughout history, peer role models, and simple activities geared towards developing skills that computer scientists use every day. Along with the magazine, I also created an environmental display where the work was shown and bookmarks that were handed out to the community during the opening which contained a url to a microsite where the entire magazine could be read and downloaded for free (explorevelocity.com).