What is a STEM gig?

What is a STEM gig?

gig

informal, noun gig; plural noun: gigs

A job, especially one that is temporary

"working on the sea and spotting whales seemed like a great gig"

"I need an awesome summer gig to get some real work experience!"

STEM gig

  • Internships 
  • Summer jobs
  • Work experience
  • Mentor programs 
  • Scholarships
  • Networking events
  • Awards, contests, competitions
  • What else? Any opportunity that encourages a young woman in STEM before her professional career begins...

 

 


 

Are you "geeky" girl? Studying math, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, social sciences, biology, etc?

Geeky Girl Reality is here to kickstart your career. If you majored in physics, maths, social sciences, chemistry, computer science or similar STEM subjects, we aim to have all the resources you need to start building your career. 

Still studying?

Currently enrolled in university and still learning about possible paths and careers?

Take part in the student survey » 

Gigs are all about balancing work and study - getting some real-world exposure to your field of study. 

Not yet ready for a full-time STEM job? You need a STEM gig, girl! 

We highlight short-term opportunities like summer programs, internships and mentor programs.

Through our Geeky Girl Reality research we found that young women are looking for short term opportunities to help them start out in STEM careers.

Search our STEM gigs to find the gig to kickstart your career!

- The Geeky Girl Reality team


Interested in joining our team? Send your CV and letter of interest to discuss@geekyreality.com

 


 

Join our STEM community and access the resources »

Quotes from our survey participants

In our annual Geeky Girl Reality survey we asked young women currently studying STEM about their in the field and where they might be in 10 years...

 

 

We hope to help them get there with our social mission to support "geeky" girls living their reality.

Take part in the student survey »

Take part in the professional survey »

Join our STEM community and access the resources »

 

Latest from the Geeky Girl Reality Blog

1. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do? My name is Tatiana Eaves and I am a Science Writer and Communicator. For me, this has translated into a lot of different roles. My day job is on the editorial team of Science Advances , one of the journals within the Science Magazine family, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I also write scientific articles for a few other publications. Today, that primarily includes Ricochet Science, a science education website published with McGraw Hill. Additionally, I work for the United States Geological Survey’s program, the Refugia Research Coalition (RRC), in scientific outreach and design.  2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, I just never knew what type. Ecology particularly fascinated me, I loved learning about the connections that exist within the natural world. I knew that for the rest of my life I wanted to learn more about the organisms around me. But, when I lived the life of a field ecologist during an internship I had at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, I realized that my favorite part of the science was getting other people who were previously disinterested, interested in my work or my organisms (caterpillars in this case). Also, I loved too many organisms to narrow it down to one field of research, so I didn’t. I started working on the Refugia Research Coalition after I applied for what was more of a science communication internship with the Virtual Student Federal Service and got it (and was hired part-time after the internship ended). Simultaneously, I applied for a job working as the first and only science writer for an up-and-coming journal Modern Treatise. I’ve always had a creative background in art, photography and writing, so these were really easy roles for me to fit into. Everything else just snowballed from there.  3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings? I really love that I have the opportunity to experience so many things in one day. I read scientific research for a living. My goal when I was a young, pre-scientist was to learn something new every day and I have since accomplished that. Now, I get to stay up to date on the current hot research topics in fields like Ecology, Marine Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Medicine, Robotics, etc. Then, when I come home I am able to work on my projects within the Refugia Research Coalition and write articles on important scientific matters in a way that makes sense to the average person. I’m living my dreams in and out of the office.  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 am a nature person. I absolutely love sitting outside and feeling surrounded by trees and reminding myself that nature stops for no one. The flowers and the trees don’t care if I meet this deadline or talk with this person. Everything moves slowly, at its own pace, and is so much bigger than our little human microcosm that we persist within. That relaxes me. I like to hike, wade in rivers, close my eyes, and exhale the stress of the city away. Ridding myself of all the small problems that we always believe are so large and encompassing.  5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? I have many role models. I feel as if it is important to surround yourself with inspiring people, people that make you want to better yourself and that you not only look up to but that also support you and push you to be better. Especially for women in the scientific community. I am lucky enough to have met and have been supported by wonderful women. The first person that comes to mind is Toni Lyn Morelli, my supervisor at the Refugia Research Coalition. She is a force to be reckoned with. She is extremely intelligent, passionate, caring, and full of innovative ideas. Toni Lyn is such an influential ecologist and a wonderful friend to me. She has presented me with so many opportunities that have really aided me in figuring out where I wanted my path in science to lead.  6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time? I would have told myself to be careful who I choose to befriend in college. I was always a science girl but I wanted the fun college friends. They were only a distraction and always discouraged me from doing my work and pursuing my academic passions. They wanted me to go out all the time instead. This might sound terribly cliché for those of you in college now, but it really had an impact on how well I performed in school and how much I got out of it. I felt as if studying really hard was uncool, that I had to be faster or more discrete with my studies and hangout all the time to be accepted. I still performed well because I loved the subjects, but on the subjects I found most challenging, I didn’t put forth enough effort to learn them properly. Again, make friends that support your passions and want to see you succeed in life. I didn’t learn this until a bit after college how important a good community is for your career in science/mental health.  7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM? Don’t let anyone tell you what you are or are not capable of in this life. ANYONE can be a scientist if they put forth the effort and love the subject area enough. You will experience prejudices and sexism, it will happen. How you deal with it is the most important. Challenge people with preconceived misconceptions and instead of attacking the attacker, ask them why they feel a certain way or have made a certain comment. It will make them explain their sexism and not many people can survive that. Network Network Network. I’m not going to say a career in science is all about who you know, but it doesn’t hurt! Go to all events (even if you’re introverted, a lot of scientists are). Just having someone who’s seen your face before is important. Go to conferences, meetings, and presentations; make yourself seen in your scientific field. If you want advice on how to get to conferences, because some are expensive going the traditional route, please don’t hesitate to contact me I would love to help.  8. How do you measure your success? If I help someone to learn or care about something in the life sciences or in environmental policy that they either didn’t know anything about previously or had little care in, I feel accomplished. If my writing makes a difference to someone or I help someone in their career further themselves I am happy. I have simple wants I think. 9. Where can we find out more about your work? I post links to all of my publications on my website EcologistSays.com and you can learn about the journal I work on the editorial staff for at advances.sciencemag.com. The Refugia Research Coalition is ClimateRefugia.com. 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?   My website can be found here: EcologistSays.com . I am also on twitter @EcologistSays and instagram @A.virosa
Name: Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye Role/Occupation: Project Director, Vaal University of Technology, Dihlare Remedy Pty Ltd. Country: South Africa Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye is the Project Director, Vaal University of Technology, Dihlare Remedy Pty Ltd. At Dihlare Remedy, they are a bridging knowledge and innovation gap that is related to the product development and commercialisation of Traditional Medicine. The main aim is to  make African Traditional Medicine easily accessible and recognised alongside mainstream healthcare. Qwebani-Ogunleye is one of the pioneers in South Africa who are involved in the development of quality control protocols for traditional medicines and the development of herbal formulations based on indigenous knowledge gained while working alongside the community. Qwebani-Ogunleye says that being part of something bigger than herself motivates her, “Traditional Medicine  is only beginning to be acceptable as an alternative health system in South Africa...Research, innovation and commercialization will increase the potential of African Traditional Medicine management and treatment of priority communicable and non-communicable diseases.” Qwebani-Ogunleye's journey started with her love for mathematics, “my adolescent afternoons were spent preparing for the Maths 24 School Challenge … My passion for maths, along with my family’s support, culminated in me representing my school at a national level at the Maths 24 School Challenge.” Her passion for science started after she read about penicillin and how it was discovered by chance, “I started to imagine myself in the lab and wearing safety glasses and in search of a cure for something,” she explains. She would later get an opportunity to represent South Africa at a youth science event in Vienna, Austria; where she would meet young scientists from all around the world and rub shoulders with Austrian and South African dignitaries. This she believes set her on her path to being a scientist. Her arrival at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was a bitter sweet experience. Sweet because she was able to see and learn new things; and bitter because of the realisation of the lack of science laboratory facilities she was exposed to at high school. Most of her colleagues were well acquainted with the tools in the laboratories, tools which until then she had only seen as a picture in a textbook,  “I had never seen a microscope before, let alone touched one or used one. I spent the whole of the first year trying to catch up with the rest of my classmates…” She completed both her undergraduate and Masters degrees at UCT, followed by a PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand through a studentship with CSIR. She then worked at CSIR for 6 years, TUT for 2 years and is currently based at VUT, during which she volunteered in many projects that involved the youth, “the youth is the hope of our nation and I would like to continue to add my positive contribution in youth empowerment,” she elaborates. Qwebani-Ogunleye has thus far enjoyed her experience as a woman in the STEM space, despite many viewing her position as a problematic juxtaposition, “I am an African woman in an African country where modern ideas fight with the traditional for space in an ever-changing society… I choose to see it as an opportunity. I have looked for opportunities within my challenges.” She feels that one of the most significant parts of her career is gaining the vast knowledge that the traditional health practitioners have with regards to indigenous plants. “It is remarkable and laudable. They might not know the scientific name/ English name of the herbs but when you speak in our vernacular with them you start to appreciate the wisdom that has been passed from generation to the next in our communities,” she elaborates. Qwebani-Ogunleye feels that perhaps gender discrimination is not out of intent but rather out of ignorance, “the challenge is that gender equality is seen as a nice to have than a human right. To drink fresh water, to breath in clean air, to go to school or to apply for a job without prejudice are all fundamental rights.” Her advice to young girls is to do pure mathematics at high school as she finds that there are a number of girls “interested in Science after matric only to find out that they enrolled for maths literacy while at high school. You do have great potential and can be what you aspire to be if you are willing to put the effort and ask for help when necessary it is possible.” She believes that Africa is a land of opportunity and that is progressing in STEM where research integrity, research morality and ethics are observed and practiced. She is grateful for the Biodiversity Act of 2004 and the type of informed consent allowed in country in terms of research, “it shows that we are ready to protect what is ours while also being globally relevant.”  The main challenge according to Qwebani-Ogunleye is that implementation occurs at a slow pace as if change is evitable; and that we still require innovative ways to bridge the gender gap in STEM. Read more about our Geeky Girl, Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye, who combines the old with the new, the traditional with the modern on a daily basis in an informative interview below.  1. Describe what your work entails. In the last decade, the higher education institutions have embarked on seeking ways to be relevant to communities and have a social positive impact. At Dihlare Remedy, we are a bridging knowledge and innovation that is related to product development and commercialisation of Traditional Medicine. The objective is to  have African Traditional Medicine easily accessible and recognised alongside mainstream healthcare.  2. Describe your STEM journey. I have always loved maths at school. My adolescent afternoons were spent preparing for the Maths 24 School Challenge . My parents bought the Maths 24 kit and each Sunday my parents, brother, sister and I would play. My passion for maths, along with my family’s support, culminated in me representing my school at a national level at the Maths 24 School Challenge. Mr Mthithala, my Maths teacher at Bizana village primary school was excellent in maths and added to my interest in it. My passion for science began after reading about penicillin and how it was discovered by chance. I started to imagine myself in the lab and wearing safety glasses and in search of a cure for something. Soon after, I won an opportunity at the age of 14 to represent South Africa at a youth science event in Vienna, Austria. I met young scientists from all over the world and rubbed shoulders with South African and Austrian dignitaries. This set me on my life’s path. Arriving at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a first year student brought with it pleasure and pain. Pleasure because I was at university seeing and learning new things, and pain because the reality of lack of access to a  science laboratory while in high school. While most of my classmates were acquainted with all the tools and materials in the different laboratories, many of these had up until then been nothing more than a word or a picture in a textbook to me. I had never seen a microscope before, let alone touched one or used one. I spent the whole of the first year trying to catch up with the rest of my classmates, staying at university until after five every day when they locked up. After my undergrad I proceeded to Masters at the UCT and then PhD at the university of the Witwatersrand through a studentship with CSIR. I worked for CSIR for 6 years, TUT for 2 years and now based at VUT. I have volunteered in a number of projects that works with the youth while as a student and now as a professional. The youth is the hope of our nation and I would like to continue to add my positive contribution in youth empowerment.  3. What excites you about your job? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? To be among the pioneers in South Africa that are looking at developing quality control protocols for traditional medicines and developing herbal formulations based on indigenous knowledge while working with the community excites me.  Traditional Medicine  is only beginning to be acceptable as an alternative health system in South Africa and is a niche identified through the National Research Development Strategy (NRDS), the Department of Science and Technology Innovation Plan (TYIP) and the Bioeconomy Strategy. Research, innovation and commercialization will increase the potential of African Traditional Medicine management and treatment of priority communicable and non-communicable diseases. To be part of something bigger than myself motivates me.  4. How would you describe your experience as a woman in the STEM space? My experience has been great, I am enjoying learning, unlearning and teaching while on this journey. I am an African woman in an African country where modern ideas fight with the traditional for space in an ever-changing society. Many see this juxtaposition as problematic; I choose to see it as an opportunity. I have looked for opportunities within my challenges. The stereotypes, social norms and pull her down syndrome are a reality when it comes to gender equality. Sometimes I have observed that these are not out of intent but rather ignorance. The challenge is that gender equality is seen as a nice to have than a human right. To drink fresh water, to breath in clean air, to go to school or to apply for a job without prejudice are all fundamental rights. I had an opportunity to talk more about this and suggest solutions as a guest writer for We Can Leadership Institute and in my blogs  below are the links. http://www.we-can-leadershipinstitute.com/2014/10/ http://www.drtqo.com/Blog2.html   5. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the STEM field? Do not enrol for maths literacy at high school, do pure maths. I find a number of young girls interested in Science after matric only to find out that they enrolled for maths literacy while at high school. You do have great potential and can be what you aspire to be if you are willing to put the effort and ask for help when necessary it is possible.  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”? Africa is the land of opportunity and growing in STEM. The research integrity, research morality and ethics are observed and practiced. I am so happy of the Biodiversity act of 2004 and the type of informed consent allowed in South Africa as far as research is concerned, it shows that we are ready to protect what is ours while also being globally relevant.  Our challenge is that we implement at a slow pace as if change is evitable. We however still need more innovative ways that will close the gender gap in STEM.  7. Have there been any milestone moments or eureka moments in your career? The vast knowledge that our traditional health practitioners have as far as our indigenous plants are concerned. It is remarkable and laudable. They might not know the scientific name/ English name of the herbs but when you speak in our vernacular with them you start to appreciate the wisdom that has been passed from generation to the next in our communities.  8. How do you maintain a work-life balance? By having a relationship with God, connected to myself, going to the gym and having a strong support structure.  9. Who is your role model? Who inspires you?   I do not have just one role model but a number of people that inspire me in different spheres. People who are committed to growth, progress, life-long students and pioneers of African literature. The likes of my parents: Prof PLO Lumumba, Prof Kgethi Phakeng, Eckart Tolle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chimmanda Adichie Ngozi, Prof Chinau Achebe etc. My family and extended family members have been very supportive in this journey, they have been my cheerleaders.  10. Where can more information or insight into your work be found? Website: http://www.drtqo.com Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmYWY-F38Tg   Twitter Handle: @olathozie Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye 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. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do?  I’m Emma, I currently work at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) where I help fund new innovations in biology, support scientists to find partners in industry and commercialise their research. Some exciting projects we have funded include Super Broccoli, which could help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and the Gribble, which is a small crustacean which can turn waste wood into renewable biofuel and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?   I didn’t always know I wanted to be a scientist. I trained as a tailor after leaving school at 16, but unfortunately couldn’t find a job, so I returned to school to take my A-levels in the hope s of eventually becoming a manager in a shop. I initially studied biology, where something just clicked and I fell in love with genetics. I went on to study genetics at university and then worked in a range of STEM roles; everything from clinical trials to develop new treatments for the flu, to helping develop algorithms which look at a patient’s cancer genome to identify the most effective treatments. One of my favourite roles was at a start-up non-profit DNA repository, which acts as a central place for scientists to share genetic materials with other researchers around the world. My role involved managing the logistics of shipping biological materials in Europe, assisting in problem-solving researcher’s experiments, and traveling to visit scientists and collect samples around the world. It was wonderful to be part of a small organisation where I could learn lots of new skills and felt I was making an impact. In contrast to this, I have also worked in large organisations, where I was one of a group of scientists responsible for processing samples and carrying out biological tests. The work is very structured and scheduled, working from a standard protocol in cutting edge labs to process a large volume of samples, so there is a wide range of roles in STEM to suit different people. I have been lucky enough to work in Australia, America and around the UK, as STEM gives you skills which are in high-demand globally.  3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?   Personally, my motivation and fulfilment comes from helping others. I feel great satisfaction from being able to help someone with a problem; I enjoy speaking to other scientists, recommending available funding and support, learning about their research and promoting their scientific discoveries. I also feel job satisfaction when I’m able to make improvements in a process and have a lasting impact, as it is important to me to feel I’m making a difference and that my work matters.  4. What do you do outside of work? Hobbies or interests?   I have a variety of hobbies and activities I do outside of work, as maintaining a good work-life balance is important. I enjoy pottery and still do some tailoring. I’m a collector of random skills and hobbies at the moment, most recently having learned how to solve a Rubik’s cube. I love volunteering for science festivals and running science workshops for kids. I also enjoy speaking on panels representing women in STEM, and promoting scientific careers to young women through visits to local schools and mentoring students.  5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? I didn’t have any STEM role models or mentors growing up, as none of my family went to university and I didn’t know any scientists, so determining a career path was more difficult. I tried out a lot of different STEM roles to find a good fit. I really wish I had a mentor who could have helped me explore career options and the opportunities available, as this could have made this process easier. I think that’s why I’m always happy to mentor young people who want guidance about careers in STEM, because it’s so valuable to have access to guidance and support from someone who has relevant experience and works in the career you are interested in.  6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?   I wasn’t very academic at school, so I never imagined becoming a scientist. I honestly believed that you needed to be a genius to study at university, because I never knew anyone with a degree. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that you just need to find a topic you are interested in and work hard at it and you will find success. Grades are important but they are not everything, especially when you start working, as skills and work experience are just as valuable. I also wish I had learned more outside of school or from other sources like online or books, because at school my enjoyment of a subject was heavily influenced by the teacher and their teaching style, and at the time I didn’t realise there was other ways to learn. I now read lots of non-fiction books about a wide range of topics in science, I just wish I had discovered them sooner!  7. Top tips for girls starting out in STEM?   I would recommend anyone starting out in STEM to just ignore the haters and negative people and just do what you love. Don’t be scared to change courses or jobs if it’s not a good fit, it’s not a failure as you always learn something from every role you try. People don’t tell you that you will get dozens of rejections before you receive an acceptance, and it can really knock your confidence, so stay positive. Don’t be put off applying for jobs if you’re not 100% qualified, and don’t be scared to ask for a promotion and recognition for your achievements.  8. How do you measure your success?   I think success means different things to different people. Success for me is when I’m able to use my problem-solving skills to overcome a challenge, stretch my abilities, learn something new and push myself to achieve something. Hopefully, my work will help other people or make a lasting difference.   9. Where can we find out more about what you do?   You can find out more about BBSRC and UK Research and Innovation here: https://www.ukri.org/ I’m very active on Twitter and discuss a wide range of topics in different fields of science, I also post about forgotten women in STEM. I’m very happy to answer questions or provide support to anyone considering a career in STEM, so feel free to contact or follow me on Twitter @GeneticCuckoo .
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