Social & Economic Issues

Breaking Barriers: Women in STEM Fields

By Samiya Sen

Careers and education relating to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are highly sought after by students globally. This trend has seen a significant increase in recent years, particularly among female students, with 74% of American middle school girls expressing interest in STEM, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project organization.

The four fields STEM encompasses all place a great emphasis on innovation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. According to research published by FTI Consulting, over half of the American workforce is supported by STEM, with 2 out of 3 American jobs pertaining to this field.

With the growth in popularity of this field, multiple organizations and efforts have been created to promote women’s involvement in a largely male-dominated STEM workforce. There has been slow but steady progress in reducing the gender gap in the STEM fields. In the last 50 years, the percentage of women in STEM careers has tripled. Considering that women make up 48% of the workforce in America, 27% is a substantial number for those in STEM-related occupations, as reported by the US Census Bureau.      

What are some of the reasons that discourage women from pursuing STEM careers? A study by L'Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellows in 2019 found that 91% of women in these careers cited gender discrimination in areas such as wages as a major barrier. However, it appears that this issue is slowly being resolved as a result of lobbying efforts by the growing number of organizations that promote female involvement in STEM. Bayside High School junior, Katherine Lee, says “I have never felt discouraged from pursuing STEM-related subjects; rather I was encouraged to do so. Today’s society is definitely more accepting of women in STEM as a result of the many volunteer groups that are specifically dedicated to young women who would like to pursue STEM careers.”

Similarly, Giovanni Vitale, a Bayside High School junior, asserts, “The overall acknowledgment of the gender imbalance issue combined with programs like Women Who Code and the NASA + Girl Scouts of America Partnership is helping to alleviate it.” 

Ensuring that the number of women in STEM-related careers rises will only have positive effects as the increase of diversity in the workforce will allow for a greater variety of perspectives and ideas. Multiple studies show that companies with greater diversity are more productive than those that lack it.

Supporting the next generation of women in STEM is the first step to allowing more diversity. Bayside High School junior, Norma Flores, believes that “Women can be encouraged by being shown the progress other women have made in the field of STEM. An example for me is Katya Echazaretta, the first Mexican woman to go to space.”  Like Katya Echazaretta, there are many other women who have made significant contributions in such fields that can be used as role models for many young girls from different backgrounds. 

Radia Perlman is an American computer programmer who is commonly referred to as the ‘Mother of the Internet’ thanks to her innovations that made today’s Internet possible. Dr. Indira Hinduja, an infertility specialist from India, was hugely successful in pioneering the gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) technique which resulted in the birth of India’s first GIFT baby. It is women like these who pave the way for future generations and break gender stereotypes. 

Shimon Hossain, a junior at Bayside High School, says, “The ever-growing industries of AI and technology among others, [have] made women more accepted in STEM as these are demanding fields.” Hopefully, this trend will continue and the involvement of women in STEM will only increase in the years to come.

Unveiling the Power of Advertising: Does it Really Work?

By Karine Zhuo

In our digital age, advertising and commercialism have become a significant part of our lives. People are surrounded by advertisements from every video played, movie watched, or even stroll taken through the city, without them realizing it.

Advertising is a form of communication that is used to persuade an audience to take action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or supporting a cause. It is typically used by businesses and organizations to promote their products, services, or ideas, and can take many different forms, including print advertisements, online ads, billboards, and commercials.

In American culture, advertising has played a key role in shaping people's attitudes, behaviors, and consumption habits, and has helped to drive economic growth and innovation. It has introduced new products and services to the market and created demand for them. Advertising has also helped to establish and reinforce cultural norms and values, such as the importance of physical appearance and the pursuit of material possessions.

The history of advertising can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where merchants and tradespeople would advertise their wares through word of mouth, signage, and other means. The rise of mass media in the 20th century, including radio and television, led to the development of more sophisticated advertising techniques, such as the use of slogans and jingles, and the creation of ad agencies to handle the planning and execution of advertising campaigns. 

Does this constant advertising of materials and services work? According to “Do Search Ads Really Work?” by Harvard Business Review, an experiment was conducted where a randomized sample of 18,295 U.S. restaurants was collected. They then designed free ad packages for 7,210 of those restaurants on Yelp. The researchers state, “They found that while the ads were up, the restaurants in them got more page views than the others—22% more on desktop browsers, 30% more on mobile devices, and 25% more overall. The differences disappeared as soon as the ads were taken down.” 

However, in another study done in 2015 by Harvard Business Review: “[they] found that when eBay started and then stopped advertising on a large search engine, the company saw no difference in traffic.” Michael Luca, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, concluded that advertisements’ effectiveness decreases when used by already well-known brands. The Yelp study shows that local businesses were given light when advertised, while eBay’s advertising had little to no effect on their consumer sales. 

Similarly, Bayside High School sophomore, Mahika Kapoor states, “During classes, leadership students come into classrooms to advertise events. The events continue to be promoted through announcements, which helps gain my interest. Eventually, I buy tickets and convince my companions to buy tickets as well.” Thus, this shows how local advertising in the school is recognized by students, somewhat like how local businesses are recognized by those in that community.

Correspondingly, Bayside High School sophomore Samantha Lin adds, “In the past, recommendations from family made dogs seem lovable and easy to take care of. This made me get a corgi.” Here, Lin believes that getting a corgi was influenced by the people around her with dogs. Kapoor and Lin were both impacted by those in their region, instead of big corporate companies to make a decision.

However, even with the evidence that advertisements from big companies don’t work, there are exceptions. Bayside High School sophomore Esther Park states, “I bought a pair of shoes because I saw them on social media. The person promoting the shoes made them look comfortable and convenient.”

Bayside High School sophomore Lillian Xia adds, “I bought my current iPhone because of the Apple ads on social media. The ad highlighted all of the new and improved features, thus convincing me to purchase my current phone.” Both Park and Xia believe that their purchases were made due to the mass promotion on social media. After repeatedly seeing the advertisements, they were convinced to purchase the product.

Do advertisements work? The answer is, yes. With all the advertisements on the rise in our digital generation, they are bound to work either for local businesses or corporate companies. The goal of an advertisement is to make consumers aware of what organizations are selling. If you, like the other thousands of people, remember a company’s slogan, they work!

COVID-19 Devastates NYC Tourism Revenue 

By Darshan Prabaharan

New York City has made millions of dollars from the tourist industry, which has drastically increased throughout the year. However, as Covid-19 cases surged, tourism rates declined, and New York City saw a massive plummet in traveling that still impacts the state’s economy even today.

New York City is a must-visit global destination, attracting millions of people every year, and essentially runs on tourism. The industry has generated millions in profit and created thousands of jobs for many New Yorkers. As rates soared throughout the 90s, there has also been a massive increase between 2006 through 2019.

In 2019, tourism rates saw an all-time high. According to an article titled, “Why NYC”, from NYC EDC, “With a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $1.66 trillion, our economy produces more value than the entire gross state product of Texas. If NYC was a country, its economy would be the tenth-largest in the world, beating out the entire economies of countries like Canada and Russia.”

As Covid-19 hit, unemployment rates soared, a housing crisis erupted, and food sources declined. The pandemic has also massively impacted the state's economy. In an article titled, “The Tourism Industry in New York City”, published by the Office of the New York State’s Comptroller, “OSC estimates the industry’s economic impact dropped by 75 percent from $80.3 billion in 2019 to $20.2 billion in 2020.” Additionally, “Employment in the tourism industry declined by 89,000 jobs (31.4 percent) to 194,200 in 2020, from a record 283,200 jobs in 2019.” 

The decline in the tourism industry also aided in the collapse of the theater industry. In an article titled, “Broadway Revenue and Attendance for 2021-22 Season Less Than Half of Pre-Pandemic Heights” by The Wrap, “Broadway’s 2021-2022 revenue and attendance took major hits following the onset of the COVID pandemic, falling from its historic record of $1.829 billion set by the 2018-19 season to the total of $845,414,915… That same percentage marks the difference in audience attendance, which hit a record high of 14,768,254 in 2019 and fell to 6,729,143 this past year.” 

Bayside High School junior Tatiana Montero states, “Since the pandemic, my family and I haven't traveled as much as we planned to. It has affected our ability to see other family members out of state…. I think that the pandemic still has a grasp on New York tourism. When I go to places like Times Square it doesn’t feel the same as it did pre-pandemic.” 

Although Covid-19 directly impacted the decline of the tourist industry, experts are starting to see a positive trend in 2023. Trends show that “The Big Apple” is on a rise to retake its spot as a top tourist destination once again.