Women Entrepreneurs in Digital News – Rebekah Fraser

Real World STEM Educates, Inspires Teenagers through Engagement in Science Media

Rebekah Fraser’s vision is to have a media outlet that is engaging, educational and empowering for teenagers. With that in mind, she created Real World STEM, a website designed to provide teens with a glimpse into real-world science, technology, engineering and math.

A video-based Web magazine, Real World STEM will release 40 themed issues during the academic year. The original content will ideally attract, retain and motivate its audience, Fraser said, exposing teens to these crucial subjects – and perhaps future careers – they might not have known existed.

Like a magazine or a television news show, Real World STEM will feature profiles of professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Video interviews and live Web chats will make this integral aspect of the site more interactive. Real World STEM will showcase teenagers as on-camera interviewers, and teens may also contribute content in the form of questions for the STEM professionals.

“We are really seeking to engage teens and get them involved no matter where they are,” Fraser said.

Real World STEM will motivate teens to participate in STEM and in the journalism process via a points system, which will reward teens for such actions as submitting interview questions and partaking in Web chats. Teens may also write about their own science experiments, which, if approved by a science adviser, will be featured in an issue of the webzine.

Fraser discovered a need for online educational media as a Web writer for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 2010. At that time, she launched STEM matters, a themed educational webzine. She served as creative producer and managing editor of the website for two years.

Engaging students about the numerous facets of science, technology, engineering and math, STEM matters included STEM-related information on subjects such as agriculture, toys and games, art, and even chocolate.

In order to generate revenue and assess the market, Real World STEM will offer pre-launch membership registration opportunities to schools, public libraries and home-school groups at a discounted rate. Post-launch subscriptions will be sold at the regular rate.

In addition, Real World STEM will offer clickable ads embedded in the site and ad statements embedded in videos. Fraser also plans to seek sponsorships from STEM-related companies, and, further down the road, license content to other educational sites and educational media companies.

“I am honored, humbled, and very grateful to be chosen for the 2012 IWMF fellowship,” Fraser said. “With this award comes the chance to fulfill a dream I’ve held for several years: to create a small media company that will involve teens in producing engaging, empowering and educational interactive media for their peers. Now the hard work of making that dream come true begins!”

Rebekah Fraser is a freelance writer who has published more than 100 articles covering topics such as landmine removal and genetic engineering for publications including Christian Science Monitor and Vegetarian Times. In addition, Fraser writes the monthly seed science column for Growing magazine, and in 2011 published the New England Farm Tours app for iPhone and Android with Sutro Media.

As a consultant, Fraser has worked with small and midsize businesses in need of communications assistance. She edited the business leadership book, “Hot Leaders, Cool Facilitators” in 2010. Also in 2010, Fraser created STEM matters, a themed educational webzine. She served as creative producer and managing editor of STEM matters for two years; in 2011, the webzine was nominated for a National Science Teachers Association award, and in 2012 it received an Online Learning award from the International Society for Technology in Education.

Prior to launching her freelance writing business, Fraser worked as a Hollywood script reader and assistant, taught English & Filmmaking to teens with learning disabilities, and was a homemaker. A graduate of Yale University, she lives in rural Massachusetts with her teenage daughter.

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