We were inspired by our personal stemming interests in STEM fields and how, as young adults and womxn*, we struggle to find mentors whom we connect with, or mentors in general. We realized how many young adults, including us, are unsure of what they want to pursue, whether it is following high school, post secondary, or even the next year.

James E. Marcia (Professor Emeritus at SFU), investigated formation of identity and suggested that most adolescents experiencing identity crises go through different phases (1). Of these phases, three phases include (1):

  • Being overwhelmed by task of achieving an identity and are doing little to achieve one
  • Have an identity determined largely by adults rather than from a personal exploration of alternatives
  • Still examining different alternatives and have yet to find a satisfactory identity

Most adolescents are in the first two stages mentioned, with very few adolescents establishing their sense of identity all at once (1). Encouraging adolescents to personally experiment fosters identity achievement, to which exploration takes time and access to resources. Some resources may not be readily available and career advisor programs on campus can be short-time as well as not providing the support for students.

The difficulty of finding mentors to provide career advice and connect with on a personal level motivated us to create a platform where people can reach out to professionals of their choice with mutual connection and interest. Being able to explore the different aspects of STEM, receive career advice and answers to questions with long-standing connections between mentors and mentees instead of a one-time call is largely beneficial to the development of identity and furthermore self confidence of their identity.

We decided to target womxn* to foster their presence and exploration in STEM fields, particularly with the underrepresentation and bias in the male-dominated fields that restricts and causes them to shy away from pursuing in STEM. Nonetheless, we encourage anyone to be able to use meantToBe to grow and explore!

*meantToBe uses * to include cis, trans women, as well as women-identifying non-binary, agender, or intersex people and other gender minorities. (1) Kail, R. V., & Barnfield, A. (2019). Chapter 4: Understanding Self and Others. Children and their development (Custom Edition for UBC). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Canada

What it does

meantToBe is a web page that connects high school seniors and university/college students (looking for career advice) to working professionals in the STEM field (who want to help guide and see growth in mentees) for a month.

It provides the profiles of mentors and mentees including background and time commitment to which members can view to learn more about and reach out to potential mentors of their choice that would match them best. We designed signup and profile pages for members, displayed our goals to highlight the milestones of the mentorship connections, and provided information on how it works.

How we built it

Programming: HTML, CSS, JS, EJS, Node.JS, Express

Design: Figma

Challenges we ran into

We had challenges throughout the creation of our project, but we managed to overcome these obstacles and create something we were satisfied with.

Challenges we faced included making the text animation, having conflicting programming styles, deciding our project idea with a gap from other similar ideas, deciding on what design structure to implement for profiles of mentors/mentees, as well as establishing what colour scheme to use.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Through the successes of the first steps in meantToBe, we are proud of our accomplishments of creating a satisfying design on Figma, how the prototype exceeded what we envisioned, and how we accomplished everything within the time.

Our team included members who hadn’t had programming/project/hackathon experiences before, so we are fulfilled with what we accomplished in our project. Although we had challenges, we are proud of our teamwork and perseverance. We made new friendships as we got to meet each other through this event, to which we commend ourselves for stepping out and going beyond to participate, as well as putting ourselves out there and working alongside new people, as it can be daunting!

What we learned

We had the chance to expand various programming/design/interpersonal skills, meet and collaborate alongside people with different styles and experiences. We learned how to write documentation, how projects are made (alongside others and in general), how to design a responsive website, how Figma is used, transferring a scheme in Figma to code, and animating. We had first-time hackathon and project-making participants, so we gained many new memories and skills through this experience which we hope to expand and grow at our next hackathon!

What's next for meantToBe

What is next for expansion of meantToBe is implementation of the additional features envisioned but were unable to be carried out at this time for the first steps of our project. These additional features include:

  • Functionality to our static pages
  • A personal quiz for mentees to shape profiles and cater recommended mentors to them
  • A pop up for step by step of how to connect on the profile pages
  • A platform for mentees and mentors to request/accept requests to connect
  • A communication tool for mentees and mentors when they connect.

There is room to evolve meantToBe and we hope to see further growth following our gratifying time creating meantToBe together.

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