Geeky Girl Reality

Find STEM gigs and open doors

Geeky Girl Reality helps girls find STEM-related gigs.

Gigs are opportunities: not quite a job, but maybe a kickstart to a STEM career.

Early careers. Work experience.  Internships.  Scholarships.  Mentor programs.  Summer jobs.  Awards.  Conference funds. #STEMgigs.

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Latest articles from the Geeky Girl Reality Blog

1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do? My name is Tae'lur Alexis, I am a Front-End Engineer born and raised in San Diego, California but now currently based in Seattle, Washington. My role is in charge of making the user experience accessible and effortless. I've been a professional developer for close to 7 months now. Prior to the transition into tech, I was working a variety of retail and fast food jobs. 2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? I was never exposed to Computer Science or STEM in general as a child. I struggled with math so I'm sure no one ever saw this path as a legitimate option for me. It started when I found Khan Academy and was able to catch up on the math I struggled with in high school fairly quickly. That's when I realised that I learn best at my own pace and when it's driven out of desire, not necessity. I found my way to Codecademy, learned the basics of Python and web development and fell in love with building projects off of Udemy. The reason I chose front end development as my primary focus was because of the ability to combine technical aptitude with my sense of creativity to build a user experience with a purpose. I don't have a college degree so I was doubtful that making the change into tech would be successful but I started promoting my work on Twitter and building a following based off of my transparency about my self taught journey and willingness to help others. It eventually caught the attention of employers. 3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? I love that in this industry, you will always be able to learn different technologies and manifest whatever you visualize in your mind with code. I remind myself of how far I've come and it makes me get out of bed. 4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? I will be 100% honest with you, I still struggle with that at times. The fact of the matter is all of us deal with varying degrees of imposter syndrome, where we doubt our work. What I do is rest and reflect. My stress is usually rooted in a mixture of lack of sleep and lots of anxiety. 5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? My role model is Stephanie Hurlburt. She is the Co-Founder of a successful image compression company here in Seattle. What makes her my role model is that she is so genuine and pure with her intentions. She stands by what she says. She was there for me during the most difficult challenges I've ever faced in my career & actively supports young women in the industry. She also is transparent about the importance of mental health which is so critical, especially in an industry that can be high-stress. She has a wealth of knowledge regarding salary negotiation and knowing your worth to founding your own start-up (what what I am working on next year 😏), networking and overall finding the balance between your career and social life as well. She's become such a close friend and there's not a day that goes by that I don't look up to her. Especially since I am 3000 miles away from my own family, she's become like a sister to me. 6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? The advice I would give to my 18 year old self would be to. 7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?   Stay consistent - The key to bettering your craft is consistency. I highly recommend dedicating time and effort to what you want to do in order to get what you ultimately want. Learn to not care early on  - The work in STEM can reign and take precedence over every other aspect of your life. Try not to let that happen. Study hard and strive to accomplish every goal you set, but also try to have a healthy social life as well as time for yourself. Please keep this in mind as you ascend up the ladder and make moves. Do not attach your self-worth to your work. Maintain a work/life balance - The work in STEM can reign and take precedence over every other aspect of your life. Try not to let that happen. Study hard and strive to accomplish every goal you set, but also try to have a healthy social life as well as time for yourself. Please keep this in mind as you ascend up the ladder and make moves. Do not attach your self-worth to your work.  8. How do you measure your success? My success is measured by my ability to get what I want done and realising my value.  9. Where can we find out more about your work? I tweet about the work I do every day on Twitter. I am currently building a platform for self-taught developers to bookmark and share resources as well as find study partners. The goal of the site is to be a resource for self-taught developer and provide what I would have wanted when I was starting out! I'll release the MVP soon so interested users can sign up and stay updated on the progress. I'll also be producing content for Egghead in the beginning of next year and it will be related to interview prep and how to utilise social media to build an online brand as a developer and land the role that you want. So watch out for that in 2019 and stay updated on Twitter! 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you? Yes, I live on Twitter! But if Twitter isn't your thing, hit me up on LinkedIn or Facebook! I'm always available to connect with and help women and girls. Twitter: @TaelurAlexis LinkedIn: Tae'lur Alexis Facebook: Tae'lur Alexis
1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do? Hello! My name is Mariah, and I run FemSTEM.com! I am the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief! 2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? Oh, boy. Freelance writing is really a tough field in general. But I find it’s been a challenge even running my own site.   I’ve been freelancing for years now, and started off working for others. Unfortunately, I never worked for anyone who paid me well.  After I got let go from what I thought was going to be my big break, I started FemSTEM on my own. Yes, I’ve always wanted to write for a living.  What I didn’t know  was that I would be interested in writing about STEM in particular.  That was a whole new idea for me. 3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? It helps that I can do this from home, haha!  But when I’m not on break (as I have been lately), what gets me excited is the STEM community surrounding the website now.  I have met so many wonderful Women In STEM through this, and they’re always so willing to help one another. It’s amazing. 4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? I don’t think there’s ever a cure for stress, haha!  When I am over-stressed, I try to just walk away from my project and revisit it later.  Drink some tea, or watch some mind-numbing television or YouTube for a little while. Breaks are important! 5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? I’d say I have a lot of different people who I would consider role models.  From my parents, to lots of different authors, and scientists, I have a hard time narrowing it down.  I think you need to pull good qualities from many people, and learn from all of them that way.  Sticking to one person as your role model could maybe even be dangerous for you emotional health -- unfortunately, the saying “don’t meet your heroes” exists for a reason.  So my thoughts are, try to learn from everyone you meet, and use good traits as your models, rather than one specific person. 6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? Stick with math.  It can be so incredibly intimidating, but stick with it.  You’ll need it, and it’s really not as bad as you’re making it out to be right now. 7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM? -- Learn from everyone .  Every single person you come across. -- LISTEN . So many people you will come across in this field have good advice to share, and you can and will learn so much if you open up to them and listen. -- Take everything one step at a time.  It is so easy to get completely caught up and do way too much at once, but you will burn out that way. Burn out can kill your joy, even for something you are extremely passionate about. Take it slow. 8. How do you measure your success? I don’t have a great answer for this, unfortunately. Honestly, I tend to not be so healthy about how I measure my own success.  But it is important to remember that everyone measures it differently, and to not let others bring you down. They may not see you as successful for one reason or another, but you cannot let the opinions of others dictate what you do and how you see yourself.  This can really kill your joy. 9. Where can we find out more about your work? Just check out FemSTEM.com!  Honestly, the more interesting things are the interviews I do.  Those women and their work are so much more interesting! 10.  Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you? You can find me on: Twitter:  @officialfemstem Instagram:  @officialfemstem
Name : Barbara Ojur                Role/Occupation : Master’s student (MPhil Specialising in Space Studies) Country : South Africa (I have dual citizenship, Uganda and South Africa) Barbara Ojur is a Master’s student completing an MPhil specialising in Space Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Ojur is currently building a portable low-cost Software Defined Radio (SDR) ground station to communicate with small satellites in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO). Ojur did not know what she was getting herself into when she decided to study engineering. She simply took a lucky plunge into the degree based on her love for mathematics and physics and has been grateful for having made the correct decision since. She completed a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UCT and is currently studying towards her Master’s at the same university. Ojur loves that engineering allows one to be creative, “you get to visualise something and bring it to life. You get to challenge yourself and solve tasks you thought you never could,” she excitedly explains.  Her advice to young women aspiring to enter the engineering field is to work hard, to know your trade and to not be afraid of making mistakes or asking questions, “Don’t be complacent and let other people do the work while you look on. Engineering is about doing tasks and you’ll never learn to do anything if you just watch,” she elaborates. As a woman, with regards to the progress of STEM in Africa, Ojur feels that it’s great to see so many more women getting involved in this field. “It’s also good that companies are making an effort to engage with women. I think we have a long way to go but we’re moving in the right direction,” she states. Presently, Ojur experiences many eureka moments while working on her Master’s thesis, “being able to overcome challenges and having them propel me forward has shown me that I should not limit my possibilities,” she elaborates. Ojur has volunteered at WomEng (Women in Engineering), an NGO that engages both working female engineers and young woman interested in joining engineering related fields and at Girl Hype, an NGO that teaches girls to code over the weekends and also provides young girls with help with STEM related courses. Ojur was also a director at 67 games,  a project for Africans to build 67 games for Mandela Day 2016. The project functions as an educational platform. “It’s a platform to show Africans that we need to create our own games instead of always consuming games from others,” she emphasises. She worked on a game that teaches children about their rights, such as the right to go to school and the meaning of being healthy. As studying involves being sedate for long periods of time, Ojur makes a point of exercising at least five times a week. “It’s important to exercise and give your analytical brain some rest,” she emphasises. She also takes personal time outs and spends time with family and friends. As a model, she is also involved in the fashion industry and this provides another creative release for her. Read more about Geeky Girl, Barbara Ojur, a combination of beauty and brains in an interview which push you out of your ‘orbit’ into a new intellectual ‘space'. 1. Describe what your work entails? I am currently building a portable low-cost Software Defined Radio (SDR) ground station to communicate with small satellites in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) 2. Describe your engineering journey? I literally chose engineering because I liked maths and physics. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was blessed that it was the right choice. I have a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UCT and now I’m working towards my Master’s in space studies at UCT as well. 3.   What excites you about your job? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? I love that engineering allows you to be creative. You get to visualise something and bring it to life. You get to challenge yourself and solve tasks you thought you never could, and that’s what excites me the most. 4. How would you describe your experience as a woman in the STEM space? It’s been good so far. Fortunately, enough I’ve been blessed to have very supportive people around me both male and female. 5 .  What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the engineering field? Work hard and know your trade. Don’t be complacent and let other people do the work while you look on. Engineering is about doing tasks and you’ll never learn to do anything if you just watch. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to ask questions, EVER. 6. As a STEM woman in Africa, how do you foresee the growth and progress of STEM on the continent? Is Africa a “land of opportunity”? From a woman’s point of view, it’s good to see more woman getting involved in this area. It’s also good that companies are making an effort to engage with women. I think we have a long way to go but we’re moving in the right direction. 7. Have there been any milestone moments or eureka moments in your career? Yes, there are many milestones. Currently I experience many Eureka moments while working on my thesis. Being able to overcome challenges and having them propel me forward has shown me that I should not limit my possibilities. 8. How do you maintain a work-life balance? I exercise at least five times a week because studying involves sitting down for long periods. It’s important to exercise and give your analytical brain some rest. I also make sure that I see my friends on the weekend, spend time with my family and take personal time outs. I’m also involved in the fashion industry so that is also another release for me. 9. Who is your role model? Who inspires you? My parents. They’ve always encouraged me to study and never placed unrealistic standards on me. 10. Where can more information or insight into your work be found? If anyone is interested in finding out what I'm doing cot the moment or about space in general they can contact the SpaceLab at UCT and our program administrator would be more than happy ' to explain what we're all about. If you wish to contact me you can email me at this  barbsapiligmail.com Twitter Handle :  @Barbs_apili Barbara Ojur  interviewed by Dhruti Dheda Dhruti Dheda is a Chemical Engineer with a strong interest in media and communication. She is the editor of the Engineers without Borders South Africa Newsletter and the Community Manager – South Africa and Regional Outreach for Geeky Girl Reality. If you wish to collaborate or network, contact her at dhruti@geekyreality.com or find her on twitter @dhrutidd
1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do? I am an Assistant Laboratory Director within the STEM field of Translational Breast Cancer Research. My overall function is to multi-task between numerous research- and administrative-related needs within the laboratory. Our laboratory’s main objective is to focus on generation new and optimizing current treatment strategies for patients across the or patients across the breast cancer spectrum by delineating mechanisms of resistance to standard-of-care therapeutics and metastasis for each breast tumor subtype. Our lab engages in frontier-level approaches that integrate big data science (“omics”) to gain a better overall understanding of how genetic aberrations in breast cancer cells influence disease characteristics and therapeutic response. 2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? Simple curiosity is what caused me to choose my career field. During my childhood, my father went back to school to complete his college coursework while working full-time. During that time, he would allow me to look through his textbooks. I was so intrigued by his Anatomy and Physiology courses that it ultimately lit an intellectual fuse. While in high school, I participated in University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Upward Bound Math and Science Program. The program gave me my first opportunity to express a natural zeal for changing the world with science. By the time I entered college, I knew my path would be coated in biomedical gold. Working with my predoctoral mentor, Dr. Kevin Pruitt, helped me narrow my research focus to oncology. 3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? My kids. At such a young age, they already look up to me. It feels great to make them proud. 4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? My stress relief comes from working out, music, and cuddling/laughing with my loved ones. I don’t take for granted that I can escape from my work and get completely engulfed in those three things. You have to remind yourself that you are not alone and you have people and things that are there to help you along the way. 5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? At this point of my life, I am my role model. It sounds really conceited but I previously did not give myself the credit I deserved. However, within the past couple of years, I’ve allowed myself a couple of “pats on the back”. You should consistently reflect on your accomplishments and celebrate yourself whenever possible. 6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? Everything you’re doing now will benefit you over a decade from now. Keep it up. 7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM? Find the confidence in what makes you different. Do not let intimidation from those that are not like you prevent you from following your dreams. What makes you unlike everyone else will one day be your strength; don't hide it, let it shine. Hard-work and discipline will never fail you. Your dream job can be CREATED if it is currently not available. 8.  How do you measure your success? Happiness; within me and what I project. 9.  Where can we find out more about your work? You can find my work listed on LinkedIn, Pubmed, and Google Scholar just by searching Kimberly R. Holloway. 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you? Yes. Twitter handle: @KimHollowayPhD LinkedIn profile: Kimberly Holloway, Ph.D.
1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do? Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Ludlam, a.k.a AstroBot Kaitlyn. I am a Junior in High School and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) advocate and speaker. 2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? I became an advocate after I was awarded scholarship to space camp for an essay I wrote for a contest. The creator the scholarship become one of my biggest mentors and she encouraged me to pass it forward and become an advocate for girls and other kids in STEM. I had always been involved in STEM my entire life; as a I kid, I would spend hours playing with Legos, and I brought that love to robots. Now, I work on software for 120 pound, Aluminum robots and design/ hardware for smaller, Aluminum robots; both on FIRST robotics teams. 3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? What gets me to the shop to work on robots is a nice, hot cup of coffee and the ideas of what I can get that robot to accomplish. 4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? My personal cure for stress is either a cup of coffee (not at night, though), a few minutes of meditation, or quick yoga session. It’s important to take time for your health. 5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? My role model is Dr. Serena Chancellor. She is an astronaut and doctor! I met her at my Space Camp Graduation in 2017; she flipped my name badge! I’ve always had an interest in engineering, the medical field, and space. Her work is very inspiring. She even went to the International Space Station in Expedition 57 last June and is there today! 6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? I would tell my 18 year-old self: Make sure to take care of yourself and to not give up on your dreams. You may be stressed or feel stuck in a ‘boy’s club’, but you are good enough and smart enough to push through and succeed. 7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM? For girls who are just starting out in STEM, I would say: Don’t be intimidated. STEM is really fun, and you can do it. You may feel uncomfortable and out of place, but you belong there. Don’t let anyone bully you out of it. 8.  How do you measure your success? Success and failure are natural parts of engineering. Success is when your robot vision camera works or your robot performs at competition. I also find success in outreach. Letting other girls know they too can be an engineer or go into a STEM field. I have extremely high expectations for myself and I find success in grades too. Speaking on Capital Hill or in front of an audience full of low income elementary students is very rewarding. 9.  Where can we find out more about your work? I started social media in 2017 to share my adventures at Space Camp USA in Huntsville, Alabama, my outreach, and to encourage girls to become involved in STEM. I still go on many adventures (in New York, Boston, Chicago, etc,) and I work on many STEM Teams (using lots of robots). I lead math teams, I design robots, I program robots, and a I have lots of fun with Sign Language and videography. I started as a Student Space Ambassador (SSA) with the Mars Generation Nonprofit, in which I have been recognized as a Top 24 under 24-years-old Leader and Innovator in Space and STEAM. I also have many friends in a group called the STEAM Squad (including my mentor and best friend Astronaut Starbright, who pushed me to start a few years ago). 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you? Facebook: AstroBot Kaitlyn Twitter: @AstroBotKaitlyn  Instagram: astrobot_kaitlyn LinkedIn: Kaitlyn Ludlam 
1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do? I’m Jennifer Wadella, a JavaScript developer, international speaker, and the founder of Kansas City Women in Technology, a non-profit working on growing the number of women in technology careers. 2. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? I fell into being a developer by accident - I went to school for graphic design and business management,  but when I graduated the economy was awful and I couldn’t get hired. I was able to book freelance gigs as long as I could build the websites as well as design them, and ended up falling in love with the development work more than the design work. 3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? I love solving problems - whether with code or otherwise, so any time I’m working on something that’s challenging me I’m excited to get out of bed and work on it. 4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? When I’m stressed I’m a big fan of handwritten to-do lists. It’s a very tactile activity that helps me feel calmer about everything I have to work on when I physically write out the things I need to do over the next week. 5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? I don’t have specific role models, that’s a lot of pressure on one person. I tend to draw inspiration from acts of others, whether it’s a woman gathering the courage to submit and speak at her first technical conference, or a woman finding ways to pay her success forward and help those behind her. 6. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? Don’t worry, you’ll find your people some day. Also, be less judgemental. 7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM? Don’t compare yourself to others, if you do you’ll lose sight of the unique things only you have to offer. Figure out what your learning style is, and do everything you can to learn new things and set yourself up for success. Find your tribe. Having a community of those who share your interests, inspire you to be better, and help lift you up when you’re feeling down is crucial for success. 8.  How do you measure your success? I measure my success my setting goals and accomplishing them to my satisfaction, while also making sure I’m always learning, growing, and challenging my own viewpoints. 9.  Where can we find out more about your work? https://jenniferwadella.com 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you? Twitter is best: @likeOMGitsFEDAY    
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