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I'm Kina, a biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Growing up I've always loved science, but finding science kits for girls that weren't just about soap and makeup was always a struggle. Even today we see lots of "gross" and messy science kits marketed for boys in toy aisles and not enough of those science kits in the girls' aisles.
Women are vastly under-represented in STEM fields, particularly, in engineering, computer science, and physical science. In the workforce, women only comprise 13% of the engineering profession and 25% of the computer and mathematical professions.
I believe that if girls had more access to cool science and accessories that doesn’t talk down to them, coupled with videos featuring accessible and relatable female scientists, we could make a real impact on those statistics.
I'm creating StemBox to give young girls access to real science in a way that doesn't make them feel that they're in a class being tested on their abilities. I want girls to create an emotional and inspiring connection with science that fuels them to achieve their goals and create their own futures before they are dissuaded from pursuing science.
StemBox is a subscription box and video series that gets girls excited about STEM. Each box contains sophisticated labware and reagents for the science experiment, a protocol, fun science accessories, and a link to our corresponding videos. Our educational videos feature in-depth explanation from a real female role model working in that box’s field.
Target age range: 7-13
There are so many cool things in STEM that we want to share with girls! Here's a peek at what future boxes will focus on:
Aviation and aerodynamics, computer programming games, astronomy and space sciences, crystallized structures and rock candy, math and spacial reasoning, bacteria and culturing, pH and Litmus Strip scavenger hunts, chromatography and candy, engineering kits, and so many other exciting experiments!
Making StemBox Real
Here are real parents talking about StemBox:
"My daughter was first reluctant to get out home Saturday morning, but after the workshop she was super excited. In the afternoon, she taught the workshop to several friends at our home!"
"It was hands on and made interesting for kids....my daughter is all over DNA now."
"Very hands-on, sparked the love of learning more about science in my daughter."
"My daughter was really glad there was nothing about the experiment that made it "more for girls" such as pink gloves etc. She was really happily surprised."
"Thank you! My daughter came home and taught her younger sister how to extract DNA too. She is looking forward to the next workshop."
"Loved it! Fills a gap in the school system"
"The girls were so excited after and just couldn't stop talking about the things they learned. They told me all about what they learned and what they did. This conversation transitioned into theorizing about other things ("What does the air have to do with gravity? Are they related mom?") I love how once their gears started turning they just didn't stop. I asked if science class at school was as fun and the response was a resounding "No way!" ... Later in the day they took inspiration from what they learned in their imaginative play. Here's some awesome sound bites for you: "I can't wait to make more DNA!" "Wouldn't it be cool if we could put these on necklaces and wear them to school to show everyone? I have some perfect string for this" "Science is overwhelming, just because of the big words" "It's fun to be overwhelmed!" "
I also conducted a short pre-sale of our DNA Extraction box to see what it would be like to ship out boxes, work out any kinks, and to test our business model. Things went really well and we were able to test our boxes with different families around the country.
You can see an unboxing of our DNA box by Stephanie Evans of The Stemulus here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nrShnVLBLw
What Kickstarter Money Will Be Used For...
The money raised by this Kickstarter will go towards a myriad of things to improve the quality of the boxes, the videos, and the company as a whole. I want to build better boxes with more cool accessories for our girls. This means that I will need money to hire people to help me create computer programs for our programming boxes, to pay our videographers to film and edit our interviews and tutorials, to purchase items in bulk to make the boxes cost effective, and to commission professionals in the field for their help in designing future boxes and writing accurate and educational scripts and protocols.
StemBox videos are an integral part of the mission we have to encourage girls to explore science without preconceived ideas that may deter them from entering the field. Growing up without any visible female scientists at the level of popularity as Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or Carl Sagan is something that subliminally reminds our girls that women don't rise to the top of popular science. If they can't see themselves in successful positions of science, they are less likely to pursue those career paths.
Our videos are comprised of two parts: an informational session about the topic at hand with a professional in the field and a Q&A with the professional that helps us highlight the women working in STEM as relatable personalities that girls can look up to.
For our first two boxes, we have begun editing and producing videos highlighting female scientists working in the fields related to our boxes. I have built meaningful and exciting relationships with local companies to gain access to some really awesome people.
Our first box features an interview with me at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where I work in a lab researching gene therapies. In the video I get to tell the girls more about DNA, show them what it looks like in a lab, describe what it is is like to work in research, and tell the girls a little bit about myself and my journey to science.
Our second box features an interview with Ros, a raptor keeper at the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle. We got to learn a lot about owls, what it's like to work as a raptor keeper, and how Ros became interested in owls.
These videos are instrumental in exposing girls to female role models in science and showing them that being involved in STEM isn't a purely academic trajectory.
$5- WELCOME TO THE TEAM
$27- EARLY BIRD DNA or OWL PELLET BOX! We are selling a limited amount of discounted boxes to the first 50 pledges of the Kickstarter!
$36- DNA or OWL PELLET BOX! Give StemBox to your daughters, your nieces, god-daughters, or her friends! StemBoxes are great birthday gifts or Christmas/Hannukkah/Kwanza/Festivus gifts! You'll be first in line with early Kickstarter access to our boxes. We won't be accepting outside orders for our boxes until December, so you get all the things we listed for our boxes above and links to educational material!
$59- STEMBOX POWER PACK! First box, Lab Coat, and StemBox lab notebook for your super cool StemBoxer to show off her STEMinist attitude in style. Check out the cute design Dr. Jun Axup from Biochemies made for our lab notebooks!
$59, $88, or $175- STEMBOX SUBSCRIPTIONS for 2, 3, or 6 MONTHS! By pledging at one of these levels you will receive our next boxes in order of their release date on a monthly basis. Interested in finding out the next few boxes? Check out our "Achievments" section to find out how to unlock them!
$250- PERSONALIZED VIDEO & SIX MONTH SUBSCRIPTION!!
$500- STEMBOX SLUMBER PARTY PACK! You will receive 10 of our “Strawberry DNA Extraction” boxes, and supplies for your very own StemBox Slumber Party! This includes fun science sleepover recipe cards courtesy of The Geeky Hostess, 2 bottles of Geeky Hostess themed engineering and lightning bolt sprinkles for treats (1 of each), links to our educational videos, and your name listed on our website as an initial contributor. Check out The Geeky Hostess's ADORABLE sprinkles!
$1500- STEMBOX CLASS PACK!
$2000- STEMBOX SCIENCE PARTY PACK!
$4000- STEMBOX WORKSHOP BROUGHT TO YOU!
$8000- GET THE STEMBOX STORY UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL!
A special thanks goes out to the girls and the parents who attended our workshops and gave us wonderful and helpful feedback.
Special thanks to Greg Winkler for filming and editing of our Kickstarter and DNA videos. Thanks to Robert Boroquez and Shelby Allman for helping film the owl interview. Thanks to Dylan Mander for editing of our Owl Pellet Interview. Tara Theoharis has been a great consultant on our project and I thank her for her involvement. Caroline Halter designed the headings for this Kickstarter page, and they are adorable! Our volunteers: Emily Menard, Liz Leo, Jacqui Bone, Debe Higgenbottom, Jenn Godwin, and Raina Chauhan have been instrumental in getting workshops done smoothly. Forest Gibson and Ashwin Kiran have also been a great resources for advice on developing StemBox.
Links To Press
Risks and challenges
One of the concerns that have been raised has to do with the age range of the boxes. We are marketing to girls ages 7-13 because the boxes as they are, offer an exploratory and personal foray into the topic at hand. The boxes are intended to spur questions and ignite the curiosity of your young scientist. That's why we offer the option for girls to pursue more knowledge with fun educational links and videos. Our video tutorials are useful if the language of the protocol is a bit too advanced for the younger girls using our kits, so they should be able to clarify any questions by watching our videos.
To be sure that the next 4 boxes are topics and experiments that girls will love, we will host local workshops to test them for functionality, fun, and education.
We have set a delivery date for January 2016 to give ourselves time to test our new boxes, and have all of our supplies ready to begin shipping subscriptions.
- (30 days)