Guidelines and FAQs

Thanks for contributing to our “Letters to My Young Self” project. As you’re thinking about what to say, here are a few guidelines and answers to common questions.

How long should my letter be?
Generally, 250 to 750 words works well. If your story takes less or more space to tell, that’s fine too.

A “letter” seems so 20th century – can I submit in other formats?
Yes. Other formats are quite welcome. Photos, videos, podcasts, infographics, graphic novels, snapchat stories (as long as they don’t self-destruct)…you get the picture. If your format of choice is not supported by the submission tool, send an email to and we’ll do our best to work it out.

I’m not a professional scientist – do you want to hear from me?
Yes. One of the goals of this project is to assemble examples of how many wonderfully varied paths there are for girls who like science.

Since you brought it up, what ARE the goals of this project?
We’re so glad you asked. What we’re trying to do with “Letters to My Young Self” is encourage girls at various STEM interest levels to engage and persevere by:

  • showcasing outstanding examples of successful, science-minded women;
  • providing relatable role models who challenge the notion that scientists are one-dimensional;
  • increasing awareness of the many academic and career paths that are available to women who are self-confident and science-literate.


Seems like this project is only for women – is it open to men?
Yes. Male allies – fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, teachers, supervisors, mentors, friends – are incredibly important. If you’ve got a story to tell your young self about the role you play in advancing women in STEM, we would love to hear from you.

I am currently 6, 13, 22, or some other age that seems kind of young for a project like this – can I contribute?
Yes. One great thing about wisdom earned early in life is that is has so many more years to make a difference to you and those who come after you!

Is there a deadline?
We accept project submissions throughout the year. From time to time, we may put out a special call for contributions that will be date-specific. Given that inspiration isn’t always deadline-driven, however, we plan to be open for new content 24x7x365* (* and, of course, Leap Days).

Ready to write your own letter? Click here to submit. Want to check out some examples from our archive? Click here to explore.