STEM & Gems


STEM & Gems is a for-girls, by-girls initiative geared towards elementary school students to prevent the gender gap in STEM. In a rapidly changing world, we hope to break cultural norms, encourage young girls to pursue their passions in STEM, and inspire the next generation of bold, unapologetic leaders. This cost-free program consists of after-school, virtual, weekly, hour-long sessions with hands-on activities and experiments running from mid-October to the end of May.

Our curriculum spans a variety of topics in STEM ranging from introductory coding activities to designing spaceships; mini baking sessions to drawing tessellations; analyzing Minecraft to creating lip balm. The sessions consist of follow-along lessons, workshops, female guest speakers, discussions, and more!

From the Founders

Currently, both of us are high schoolers who are eager about STEM, whether that may be participating in Computer Club or studying life in biology class. Looking back at our journeys, we both faced unique experiences regarding the gender gap.

“Back in elementary school, my insight on stereotypes was put to the test. I remember that a guest came into the classroom, pulling out kids individually to discuss gender cliches. When it was my turn, the guest gave me a list of jobs and asked me to say whether I thought it was a job for a female, male, or both. I now remember that for all the STEM related fields, I had put male, rarely even using the both option.” - Karen

“When I was in kindergarten, I was asked the typical ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ question. I told my teacher that I wanted to be a doctor. She questioned my choice and told me that I was better suited to become a nurse. At that time, I remember feeling discouraged and confused as to why I wasn’t good enough to become what I wanted to be” - Karis

Starting from a young age, we were already subjected towards a societal impression that girls do not belong in certain fields such as STEM. While we did not realize this was a problem in elementary school due to these stereotypes engraved into our minds, we now know that this problem must be addressed and diminished. Our goal is to alleviate traditional gender norms, such as those present in career fields, and acknowledge girls and boys to be seen as equal in ability. We hope that this program will inspire young girls to pursue anything they want.

Ashna Patel
Karen Shamir
Founder & Director
Karis Lu
Karis Lu
Founder & Director

Copyright © STEM & Buds 2021

STEM & Buds is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit