Future Me – the story to date

April 21, 2021

Future Me is still evolving with each day that passes, and we have plenty of work ahead of us. However, as we begin to branch out into different areas and spread our wings, we thought it necessary to cast an eye over what has been a huge few months for us.

Prior to 2021, the team just consisted of our two co-founders Paul and Alice. As two Computer Science students, they were all too aware of the lack of representation of ethnic minorities and women in STEM. In our early meetings, Alice would often mention being the only female in many of her classes, while they were keen to make all of us aware of the damning statistics, such as how women only make up a quarter of people involved in STEM industries.[1] They recognised that these disparities start early – and correcting them therefore requires early intervention. For example, only 18.7% of information technology and computer science bachelor’s degrees go to women, and encouraging more female students to follow these programs is the way to ensure greater representation in industry. Our co-founders recognised mentorship from people already at universities as a key tool that would allow students to gain advice and receive support throughout a process that can often appear daunting and isolating. The idea of partnering keen young school students with mentors who are equally keen to gain experience and support their future peers or colleagues was therefore put into action – with similar programs working to great effect in other industries. Recent research has proven how mentoring programs have boosted minority representation in some management levels from 9% to 24%[2], while participants in mentoring programs at major businesses ended up being between five and six times more likely to achieve promotion opportunities. Future Me is therefore a project founded upon solid principles that aim to solve social issues, while it uses proven methods to empower students and develop young minds.

As personal as this project was (and still is) to our co-founders, the two of them recognised the need for fresh ideas and support as they juggled Future Me alongside their studies and signed up to the EdVenture accelerator program. This experience gave Future Me access to guidance, workshops, and the chance to learn from a host of other interesting start-ups. It also introduced five new team members to the program – and the chance to really kick on with the project. We were also given the award of ‘Best Team’ by the EdVenture team, which we were really proud to receive and filled us with confidence about the work we are doing.

We are still all yet to actually meet each other face-to-face, having only worked under COVID times, however we have still managed to get the program up and running. Recent weeks saw the first workshops and mentorship sessions taking place, and positive feedback has re-assured us that we are on the right track, and shown how we can support young students. We hope to extend this and grow to support even more young people. At the moment, we are trying to establish a more regular schedule to create a more rhythmic involvement for mentors and mentees, whilst we are also reaching out to contacts and planning a host of exciting workshops to come in future weeks and months.

We are always happy to answer questions and communicate with people, so please reach out if any of this interests you and you feel like you want to get involved. Our website and social media platforms continue to display loads of content and information about the program – and we would urge you to follow these to best stay updated.

[1] https://thejournal.com/articles/2020/10/19/the-lack-of-diversity-in-stem-stops-with-us.aspx

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/23/improve-workplace-culture-with-a-strong-mentoring-program/?sh=74bfccf976b5

by Dan Russell