Discover the Journey: How My Year with Pulsar NI Transformed STEM Outreach in Northern Ireland

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Take a look back with me at a chapter that closed in May 2023, but still feels as vivid as ever. My time with Pulsar NI wasn't just a gig—it was a deep dive into the world of STEM, right here in Northern Ireland.

What’s this whole TikTok thing about then?

When I was approached by Pulsar NI with this question, it was immediately followed up by ‘do you know how to use it?” From that moment, I knew I was about to embark on quite the journey.

Pulsar aim to promote diversity in science and technology skills and careers across Northern Ireland. I spent an exhilarating year diving deep into the world of TikTok, aiming to spark a flame of curiosity and passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) among the young minds of Northern Ireland.

The Pulsar NI project wasn’t just a campaign; it was a mission to showcase the vibrant world of STEM careers right here in NI. This project was a masterclass in allowing content creators the correct amount of freedom to ‘crack on’ and get creative with their approach and the outputs speak for themselves.

The Heart of The Project

The essence of Pulsar NI resonated with my own mission – to illuminate the path for young individuals towards exciting, fulfilling careers in STEM. It’s about breaking down the myths and unveiling the reality that STEM is everywhere – in our homes, our schools, and our local businesses. It’s about changing perceptions, one TikTok video at a time. As someone who studied Product Design at University, I was very keen to get onboard.

I didn’t expect that egg to explode quite like it did

Throughout this journey, I’ve had the joy of collaborating with businesses and educational institutions across NI, each passionate about nurturing the next generation of STEM professionals.

Through creative TikTok content, we’ve brought to life the exciting, dynamic world of STEM, demonstrating its relevance and accessibility to young people.

Whether it was through messing up my kitchen with at-home experiments, behind-the-scenes glimpses into local industries, or empowering messages, each piece of content was a step towards our goal.

Shout out to James the blacksmith in Patterson’s spade mill, probably one of my favourite days spent covering the NI Science Festival was getting to hammer and heat my own iron poker!

2.3 million views doing what?

My TikTok journey reached a pinnacle when one video, featuring the intriguing Sierpinski triangle, catapulted to viral status, amassing 2.3 million views. This was a highlight amidst a series of successes, as the account enjoyed over half a million likes, demonstrating the extensive reach of STEM-focused content.

The Strategy Behind the Success

This viral triumph taught me invaluable lessons about content creation.

Repetition, when executed correctly, can be powerful. If a video resonates, echoing its theme or style in subsequent content can amplify its success.

However, the Sierpinski triangle’s popularity also brought a cautionary insight: while it’s tempting to ride the wave of a viral hit, diversity in content is essential to maintain broader engagement and avoid pigeonholing your brand.

Don't get caught up with the viral metrics

Despite the allure of viral metrics, the project mission remained steadfast: to highlight the spectrum of STEM opportunities.

I balanced the excitement of trending content with educational value, ensuring the audience received a varied and enriching viewing experience.

From experiments gone awry in my kitchen to the artisan craft of blacksmithing at Patterson’s Spade Mill, I aimed to cover all facets of STEM, making it relatable and accessible.

Results that resonate

The impact was tangible – hundreds of thousands of engagements, a surge in interest in STEM fields, and most importantly, conversations started about future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

These outcomes weren’t just numbers; they were indicators of a shifting tide, of more young people in NI seeing themselves in careers they might never have considered before. Kathryn McKenna, the esteemed Project Manager and Policy Lead for Women in STEM at the Department for the Economy NI, had some kind words about my input to the project:

A Personal Reflection

This project was more than a professional endeavour; it was a personal growth journey.

It affirmed my belief in the power of social media as a tool for positive change, reinforced my commitment to community engagement, and honed my skills in creating content that not only informs but also inspires and resonates.

I want to do it all again!

Twelve months of absolute joy. This project left me wanting to do more, more, more! If you’re part of a business or institution in NI, passionate about fostering a future rich in STEM opportunities, let’s collaborate. Together, we can continue to light up the path for our young talents, showing them the possibilities that lie in their own backyard.

Reach Out, my website has an enquiry form and details of where to find me on social media too!

Let’s not just tell our youth about the opportunities in STEM; let’s show them, engage them, and inspire them to take the first step towards a future they can be excited about. Get in touch, and let’s make a difference together.

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