An interactive platform collecting a set of good practices to encourage more female candidates for technical studies.
The name of the project is a word game that is based on the acronym of words representing the 4 fields of science:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in short: STEM and the number 4 read in English (four read: for) Them, i.e., STEM for them: future female scientists; high school girls, future female students.
Knowing that the roots of the problem are much deeper than what we can reach, we tried to find a way to stay helpful.
That's why we focused on a specific target group, the group we can reach: former high school girls who have to choose what to do next. We started to ask ourselves what is the motivation to make decisions, how is it possible that there is such a gender gap in scientific fields. Of course, we couldn't do it ourselves, so we asked people who have already done it to help us (female STEM students, researchers, professors). Thanks to their input and many theoretical studies, we have narrowed the field of action.
Our efforts were aimed at helping young girls to better understand their capabilities, themselves, and not to let them lose the chance to choose a less frequented path, just because it is easier or there is not enough information at the moment. We wanted to integrate more and better people in key places, in their lives, with institutions that can help them make the right choices.
The interviews were conducted with 12 people from different areas of the university: students, professors, employees of the Center for Gender Studies and Orientation Office.
We also contacted the organizers of the Girls Code IT project, which aims to promote coding skills among female students in high schools.
The focus group was conducted with the organizers of Girls Code IT to obtain as much information as possible, which could help in the implementation of the project.
Additional tool — Red Map Routes
Based on our findings, we have created the Red Map Routes. We have also selected 3 activities that have a different priority for our target group:
Most important activity: finding an optimal educational and professional path.
Intermediate activity: communicating with other people considering technical majors and careers in related areas.
Additional activity: online information about orientation practices for future technical students.
Each of the team members proposed 4 alternative mock-ups for the most important features of the prototype. They were:
— Page: About the Project
— Good Practice Area
Based on the created low-fidelity prototype, I designed its equivalent in a high-fidelity version. I have used Axure RP.
Access to the prototype is available at the following address:
To test the hypothesis of STEM 4 them, a workshop was organized in which 8 female participants took part. It was also a chance to get acquainted with the target group, the face 2 face. Workshops were conducted at the university in the so-called Brainstorming Room, which is a room specially adapted to conduct training and research for people dealing with UX and UI. The advantage of the room is its unofficial character: there are comfortable sofas and poufs instead of benches with chairs. The walls are adapted for writing after them with special markers. In addition, there is a lot of stationery tools to use.