We Were Nominated for the 2018 Sunshine Blogger Award!
Being relatively new to blogging still, I was a little confused when I got nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by our great friend Stephanie Halmholfer. (Who we interviewed here, and her great blog is here.)
The Sunshine Blogger Award is a great community award that is given to those whom you personally feel bring great positivity to the community. Stephanie was nominated by Alex Fitzpatrick, who also has an amazing blog herself. After you’ve been nominated, you answer the questions given to you by the previous nominee, and then you create more questions for those whom you’ve decided to nominate! It’s a great pay-it-forward method to bring attention to bloggers of all sorts.
So …now to the questions Stephanie asked me!
What inspired you to start your website?
I was hired on as an unpaid intern to a site that will remain unnamed. Eventually, they were kind enough to promote me and start to pay me for my posts to their blog, but it quickly became a hassle. At the time, that site was my only form of income, I only got paid once a month, and I had to fight for my paycheck every single time.
Quickly afterward, the site was hacked on several occasions, and the creators of the site decided it wasn’t worth keeping on. Everyone got let go. After some other unfortunate details that involved some complete rude behavior from my former editor, my Father suggested starting my own site, and here we are today. It was quite the rollercoaster to get here, and maybe someday I’ll go into more detail.
How would you describe your website in an elevator pitch?
FemSTEM.com is a news site-slash-blog that, though aimed at women and girls, is a fun place to read about science for all. We regularly interview great female scientists from around the world, as well as try to stay on top of STEM news as much as we can. Right now — we is me — and I’m a one-woman operation, but in the future, we hope to grow enough to hire others.
What part of your website are you most proud of?
The part of my site I’m the proudest of is the part of the site I didn’t even write. I owe so much to Melissa C Marquez, who wrote the phenomenal #STEMSaturdays series (here). It’s absolutely incredible, and worthy of a read right now!
Is there anything you would like to include more of on your website?
More posts in general, ha! Balancing FemSTEM, my personal life, and my work life has been increasingly difficult these days, but I’m learning. I’m trying desperately to get my groove back and get back to writing posts three times a week.
Is there anything new you would like to one day try with your website (e.g a new feature, add a podcast, etc.)?
I’m working on so many things! One is a Kids section that’s currently under construction, as well as a podcast! I’ve actually recorded three episodes, but for one reason or another, things haven’t added up for me to actually get to posting them. One day soon!
How do you promote your website?
Twitter mostly! I’m trying to get into the Instagram realm, as well as move on top doing more science communication in real life! In fact, I’m working on a project right now for #scicomm in real life, that you guys will hopefully hear about soon!
When working on a new post, what is your writing process like?
The hardest part is finding the time and motivation. Finding those two things at once is incredibly challenging. It’s so often that I find some kind of motivation while I’m at my day job, and then finding I’m far too mentally exhausted to even try when I get home that day.
When I do get that perfect chemistry, research happens first if it’s a news article of some kind. I find all the sources I can, link them in my reading list, and make an outline before I start writing the actual post. Depending on how complicated the topic is, and how much I know about the topic to begin with, it can take me anywhere from an hour to a day to get the initial draft out. Editing from there isn’t too hard.
If it’s an interview, I do all the research I can on the woman I’m interviewing. If they have a website, it’s that much easier. Then it takes me a good two to three hours to polish up the questions before I either send them via email to the interviewee, or I sit down with them via Skype or another IM chat.
I really need quiet (or white noise) when I’m writing, otherwise I get horribly distracted. I usually have a drink of some kind at my desk, and maybe a snack, so I don’t have to move for as long as humanly possible. Once I’m in my mode, if I snap out of it at all, it’s very hard for me to come back to it.
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Are there any forms of outreach that you’re interested in trying/doing more of, besides your website (e.g. presenting at Comic Cons, hosting a Youtube Show, etc.)?
All I’m saying right now is the word ‘Trivia’. :)
What kinds of movies/books/music do you like (comics are included)?
Oh, my goodness. I’m one of those people who loves almost everything? Reading has been my passion for a long, long time. I’m a big modern classics reader (i.e. books like the Great Gatsby and Animal Farm), as well as a big essays reader.
As far as movies, historical movies or period dramas (based on a real story or not) are my absolute favorite.
Music — I’m into Broadway music mostly. Though, I’ll listen to nearly every genre.
And I adore comic books. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration. When I find a comic I like, I adore it. I’m a big fan of DC (the Batman universe in particular. Barbara Gordon — aka Batgirl and Oracle — is a HUGE #STEM gal, especially in the 80s-90s era of comics), though they’ve failed me in a large way as of late.
When you were a student (at any level), did you enjoy being in school?
Yes, and no. Like a lot of people, I struggled with math in a large way. As the years went on, I found myself enjoying schooling less and less. I got overly depressed in high school, and I let that and my math struggle get the best of me. As a result, I finished high school a year late.
When I found subjects I loved (Earth science, psychology, and English class for the most part were my favorites in high school), I really loved them and flew through them with flying colors. However, the subjects I struggled with, I let them defeat me, and it made me really dislike school.
I totally regret that.
What is a field of study outside of your own that you’re interested in?
Nearly everything. Which sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true. That’s what makes this blog so much fun to write. I love so many aspects of STEM, and I want to learn about everything. If anything, this blog has taught me so much.
Technically, the rules say you want to nominate 11 blogs, but so many blogs have already been nominated! I’m going to try my best to nominate as many people as possible.
Melissa C Marquez — Her Personal Blog and podcast
Fins United Initiative’s Bite Blog — Which is also Melissa’s, but it’s entirely different!
Moms Can: Code — Blog
Her STEM Story — One of our biggest supporters, and previous sponsor!
What got your interested in your current field of STEM?
What is your favorite thing about blogging?
What’s your favorite method of outreach? Is it your blog? Why or why not?
What is your educational visual program, whether it’s a TV program, or a YouTube program (i.e. SciShow), etc.?
Who is your current STEM inspiration?
What’s your favorite snack to have at your desk when you’re blogging?
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it? Is it STEM related?
This might be kind of a vague question, but what would you say the biggest issue plaguing STEM right now is?
I’ve noticed retailers are starting to hop aboard what I’m going to call the ‘STEM bandwagon’. This is probably a good thing, as kids who see toys meant to encourage them towards STEM will be drawn to STEM as a whole, but do you see this being a retail fad, or something that will last for years to come?
What is the most common STEM misconception that you hear? How do you combat it when you hear of it?
What’s your current project and what about it excites you the most?
Dear Stephanie, thank you so very much for nominating me for this award. It means the world!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM. Find her on Twitter.