They say inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places. For Alex IP, inspiration and ultimately social impact came from a failed college application. Alex founded The Xylom, a STEM-based media site, at 18 to make himself more appealing to his top university choice. Although Alex did not get into the college for which The Xylom was founded, he quickly realized the social impact that his site could bring about and continued to work on it. The Xylom is a media site that invites STEM professionals to share their personal stories outside of their research and aims to reveal the human side of scientists. The ultimate goal is to show how STEM professionals are changing the world and how they contribute to society both through and outside of their fields and to show the impact and diversity of science. The site shares stories that tackle three main questions.
What do STEM professionals look like?
How are STEM professionals shaped by events outside of the lab?
How do people respond to the changing world through science?
Thus far, The Xylom averages about 1000 unique users per month and has collected over 60 stories from over 40 contributors. Their contributors span across 20 countries and regions, work across multiple disciplines and are usually early-career science professionals such as graduate students or associate professors. Additionally, over half of these science professionals identify as non-male. The media site has been featured by top-tier STEM institutions such as Georgia Tech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been republished in leading industry media sites such as ASBMB Today. Alex, himself, has been selected for the 10 X 10 X TECH: 100 of the Institute's Most Interesting People, Places and Ideas by Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.