STEM is such a wonderful and expansive field that is guaranteed to captivate anybody. This makes it both interesting and versatile. This versatility and range are both its strength and its downside, as such a large range of studies is viable to intimidate almost anybody. Many people struggle with getting interested in STEM because they view it as a field on a pedestal. A sort of unachievable study which is not available or meant for the “normal” person. See the quotation marks on normal. The truth is that though it looks intimidating, good science should be understandable for everybody. My chemistry teacher who was and still is a brilliant man used to say that if you cannot explain your thesis to your grandmother, you do not understand it yourself.
The point being made here, is that the first step in the right direction of getting people close to you invested in STEM is directly through you. Explain what your research means, what your areas of interest are and why you find them worthy of dedicating your life to. Show them through your love to the subject the incredible things people in STEM achieve every day and do not let the first glimpse into your area of interest be an intimidating one. Try sparking debates about interesting topics you have learned during your lessons, complain about difficult assignments, and include them in your development as a woman/nonbinary person in STEM.
All these things, though small, help connect the people around you to the field you love. They do not need to be groundbreaking explanations or Hawking-esque monologues, they can be anything from a puzzling assignment to a possible solution for a problem you thought of. Humanize STEM. Showing the people behind the subject’s glossy surface takes away the nature of the beast. In short, try and engage the people you love with the subject you love. Show them why it makes you happy and possibly make it a bonding routine. Read interesting excerpts from New Scientist, watch A Life on Our Planet, or simply listen to the Infinite Monkey Cage or any of your preferred media on a quiet afternoon.
Since STEM is such a diverse field, at least one topic you mention will spark interest. People are inherently curious when they are not scared. Showing STEM through a lens of passion and inquisitiveness is bound to pique interest.
This article was written by Viktoria Levkanicova , a Biology, Chemistry and Psychology Student.