How Can We Create a Building that Encourages More Women to get and stay involved in STEM Research?



By: Addy 

Women are extremely under-represented in the field of STEM research, compared to men. We need to inspire more girls to get involved and show them the opportunities that they have if they continue down that path. We need to better support women who are currently in the field of STEM research. The purpose of my project is to support researchers through their projects, inspire younger children to become involved, and employ older, more experienced women to help educate the young learners and give advice/mentor the young adults conducting research, or just people who want to learn more. The structure will connect women with employers and opportunities to advance women in the STEM research field. While there are many programs with this theme, I am not aware of any centers directly for this purpose.

Phase One- define project

This building is for female-identifying people of all ages from around the United States who have a interest in or are actively engaged in STEM-related research. Of course, anyone is welcome to visit however. It is located in urban Washington D.C., so there is improved access for visitors since it is a major metropolitan area on the highly populated East Coast. 

My building will  have the basics, like restrooms and a snack shack, but it will also need a space for inspiring exhibits, like history of famous women researchers, education on different fields, and interactive areas. I will include flexible labs for students to experiment and learn, and for researchers to conduct their work.  The space will also have conference rooms for meetings and panels, and offices for conducting virtual programs and administration.


Phase Two- site analysis

Below are pictures of my proposed location for the STEM Center in Washington D.C.

Phase Three- Designing

Here is the design process! I started with a bubble diagram to get the general idea of what the building would look like. Then I created a floor plan to nail down the design, which translated to a site plan of what the outside of the building would look like. After that are some of my preliminary exterior design ideas.

Final Design

To get this final perspective and model of the my designed building, I used a program called SketchUp to show the appearance of my project. After I made the model, I was able to gather helpful feedback from my classmates, family, and teacher, Mr. Schwartz to further develop and work out any kinks in the design. 


Please share any comments or answer the questions below!

  1. Is STEM research something that interests you?
  2. How effective do you think this project is in addressing my question of helping women get more involved in STEM research?
  3. What is something you would add to make my project more successful?
  4. Would you visit this building?


I'm from Maryland and currently enrolled in the GOA architecture course.


  1. Your design provides a lot of flexibility, which I think is excellent! This will allow the users to pivot to new uses easily. I am inspired and excited about your building! You identified an unmet need, for a critically important and underserved set of people, and developed a great solution!

  2. Hi Adeline,
    Your project idea is amazing! I love how you made you used architecture to create a space for women in stem. I like the design that you put on the outside of the door, it is a really cool focal point.To answer your question, I think that this project is very effective in getting women involved in science.
    Nice work!

  3. I am so impressed by how you created a such a thoughtful, purposeful, and practical design. I think your project successfully addresses your question of how to get more women involved in STEM Research. I would love to visit this building. Well done!

  4. Hi Addy, when I first read your question, I was immediately interested and I was able to learn a lot from your project!
    STEM research is not a topic that I am too familiar with, but I take a computer science class and my class is just three girls so I see how underrepresented women are. I think your project addresses this issue very well, because it provides a space in which women have a comfortable and supportive atmosphere to go and pursue their interests in STEM research. Something I might add to your project are classrooms to teach young girls some STEM topics, such as programming, chemistry, advanced math. Maybe several older STEM students could teach these younger students. I tutor, and find that younger kids are inspired having someone to look up to and just someone older that takes care of them.
    Good job!!

  5. Hi Addy! I think the amount of research and images you supplied during the inspiration phase of the project is really interesting – I noticed you focused on both the exterior and interior. It was also cool to see how your floor plan developed from the first sketches to the final SketchUp map. In addition, I think your final render if very fun and you used shape and color well. Great job!

  6. Hi Addy! This is such a neat idea! Your use of color in your site plan makes it very clear to the viewer the different spaces and their uses in the building. I notice in your site analysis that the location of the lab center is close to some schools and Union Station, which is great for encouraging young girls to come and accessible for people in general to visit. I like how you have the open space at the front entrance that could be used for a variety of events.

  7. Hi Adeline! Great job with your project! First, I would like to say that I love your mood board, it was super detailed. Your designs were stunning, and really reflected your hard work. Lastly, your site plan was very clear and easy to understand. Overall, amazing work!

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