Emily Bayuk

Fox Lane graduate Emily Bayuk started “The STEM Diaries” while a junior at Bucknell.

Even when she was a kid growing up in Bedford, Emily Bayuk’s main interests were in science and mathematics. She would eagerly ask her grandfather, a retired computer engineer, to teach her algebra while she was still just in elementary school learning math basics. Hearing her grandfather’s stories about being a math major and engineer seeded a deep curiosity within her that only continued to grow. “He was my main inspiration,” Ms. Bayuk said.

Her parents fostered this early fascination with the gift of a Snap Circuits Jr. kit, which teaches electrical engineering to children. Ms. Bayuk would spend hours snapping together the kit’s circuit pieces, causing lights to flash and alarms to ring — they all seemed like signs of encouragement that science was her calling.

Today Ms. Bayuk, a Fox Lane alumna, has just graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in electrical engineering, and is encouraging other young women to follow in her footsteps with her ongoing series, “The STEM Diaries.” 

The genesis for this book collection began years ago, when Ms. Bayuk first began noticing the scarcity of women in advanced science and math classes at Fox Lane High School. “I first noticed the gender gap in STEM during my high school AP physics class,” Ms. Bayuk said in an interview, adding that she was one of just three girls in the 23-person class. Ms. Bayuk excelled in these disciplines, receiving the Fox Lane science award in physics and the Bucknell Women in Science and Engineering Scholarship. While at Fox Lane, she also was a finalist for the Tingley Senior Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships awarded to Fox Lane students. As part of her application, she wrote and illustrated a textbook on circuits for elementary school students, which later became one of “The STEM Diaries” books.

Ms. Bayuk was flourishing, but she felt frustrated by her shrinking female peer group in the upper echelons of science. In college, Ms. Bayuk was once again one of only three women in Bucknell’s 2021 graduating class majoring in electrical engineering. According to the university’s website, only 18% of its electrical engineering students are female.

This is not unusual in higher education. According to the National Science Board, less than 20% of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science are awarded to women. “It’s just always something I’ve been aware of as I’ve gotten higher in my education,” Ms. Bayuk said. She became convinced that young women could benefit from early exposure to STEM fields like she did, and so “The STEM Diaries” were born. 

The project aims to inspire a deeper interest in STEM in young girls through a series of books outlining the basics of engineering and technology, illustrated and written out in bullet-journal format. The books also provide readers with resources they might not have otherwise.

Although many schools offer courses on the basics of math and science, not many delve into the intricacies of engineering, Ms. Bayuk observed. “I just wanted to create this series to help inspire younger girls about STEM and get them exposed to it at a younger age,” she said.

The two books, released in January on Amazon, focus on key concepts in STEM; one explains circuits and the other energy conversions. Ms. Bayuk is working on another installment in the series about optoelectronics, the study of lights, that will come out later this year. 

Ms. Bayuk said the support and guidance she received from teachers were critical. “My high school physics teachers knew how much I liked learning about circuits and suggested I look into electrical engineering as a college major,” she said. “It’s because of them I’m pursuing electrical engineering; if they hadn’t suggested it, I might be on a different path.” When she was a junior in college, Ms. Bayuk’s professors encouraged her to write “The STEM Diaries” series and volunteered to serve as editors and promoters. 

In addition to publishing “The STEM Diaries,” Ms. Bayuk also developed a broad platform on Instagram. On Motivation Mondays, for example, her account features women in STEM sharing their career experiences. Ms. Bayuk said the campaign has gotten “really positive feedback” and she is enthusiastic about raising the profile of real-life role models in conjunction with the information she’s provided in her books.   

In addition, Ms. Bayuk is launching The STEM Diaries Academy later this year on her website, thestemdiaries.com. The Academy will include online video lessons about each of the four elements of STEM, delve into possible career paths, feature various women in STEM as guest speakers and allow users to be able to create their own STEM diary. Ms. Bayuk said the Academy allows young girls to “learn about STEM in a unique way that’s more artistic and creative, rather than just a lecture.”

Despite all these new endeavors, Ms. Bayuk said she doesn’t view “The STEM Diaries” as work. “It doesn’t feel like labor, it’s more like I would do it for fun,” she said. 

Following graduation, Ms. Bayuk plans to join the Accenture team in New York City in its cybersecurity division, while continuing to produce “The STEM Diaries.” So far, Ms. Bayuk said she has been overjoyed to see the reception to her book series and the encouragement it has given to young girls.

“Something that I absolutely love that came out of creating this is the opportunity to speak to groups of girls or classrooms about my experiences as an electrical engineer, author and entrepreneur,” Ms. Bayuk said. “Even if I impact just one girl, I feel like I’ve made such a difference.” 

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