What is a STEM gig?

What is a STEM 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

Name:  Miss Taahira Goolam Hoosen (MSc (Med); PGCE) Role/Occupation:  Lecturer & Humanitarian Country:  Cape Town, South Africa I recently had the privilege of interviewing Taahira Goolam Hoosen, a lecturer and a humanitarian. Hoosen has two major passions, education coupled with empowerment and curiosity of the human body. With degrees in the areas of biology, human genetics and haematology, she works as a lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences Education at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, at the Writing Lab where she provides academic development support to both students and staff. What excites her most about her job is that she is, “empowering them [students and staff] with a practice that goes beyond the university. Literacy is something that they can use in their professional space.” Hoosen is also the CEO of the Humanitarians, an organisation which undertakes projects that aim to empower South Africans. In 2017, they undertook the Sustainable Book Project, led by Hoosen which distributed 20 000 books across the country to increase literacy levels. She believes that, “Science will unlock our potential as a continent but it cannot be done alone… we need to empower and lift our budding scientists and keep mentoring them so that they can access opportunities and go beyond.” She is passionate about women in STEM and believes that women should pass on whatever they learn to elevate the status of the women in the STEM space in Africa, “Our skill set is unique and can be applied in any sphere so always ensure that you keep progressing and build your skill set.” Read on (as I am sure Hoosen, a literary enthusiast, would personally advise) and be inspired by this enterprising and determined Geeky Girl. 1.   Describe what your work entails.   I am a lecturer at the Department of Health Sciences Education at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. I work in a humbling space called the Writing Lab where I provide academic development support to both students and staff. Specifically, I empower them with the practice of academic literacies that can enable and progress their success and formal access at university. 2.   Describe your STEM journey. I have two passions, one being education and empowerment and the second stemming from my curiosity of the human body. I trained as a Biomedical Scientist at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (BSc: Biomedical Sciences in 2011) then went on to complete an Honours in Human Genetics (BSc (Med) Hons in 2012) where my thesis focused on further understanding retinitis pigmentosa in the Western Cape. I then came to a fork in the road since I wanted to pursue a MBChB but realised that I should capitalise on my passion for teaching and learning and went on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. I came back to Medical Sciences graduating in 2017 with an MSc (Masters of Science) focused on HIV-associated Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the University of Cape Town. During my studies I was always involved in part-time work and experience opportunities in the university space. These allowed me to explore the possibility of academia, network and build my diverse skill set ranging from monitoring and evaluation to online facilitation and most importantly the practice of academic literacy which I believe is crucial for success at university. The latter experience basically allowed me to merge my two passions, academic development support in the form of empowering students with the academic literacy practices in the Faculty of Health Sciences. This is how I ended up in academia and my current position. 3.   What excites you about your job? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?   I work in a humbling space where I have the time to get to know my students and staff that want assistance with their writing on a personal basis because academic literacy and particularly writing is socially embedded and is a practice and process – it is not obsolete nor done in isolation. I am excited to be a part of their journeys as they navigate the often confusing writing space in university. What gets me excited and motivated is that I am empowering them with a practice that goes beyond the university. Literacy is something that they can use in their professional space. I am always excited for the next student or staff member that reaches out for my help as it challenges me on how best I can assist them, improve their science communication and what new strategies and methods WE can learn together and experience. 4. How would you describe your experience as a woman in the STEM space?   It is challenging but nothing gets done without the correct mind-set, perseverance, determination and passion. As a woman and the eldest sibling in my family, being away from my home town and comfort zone, my commitments are more than just advancing my career, it is taking care of my family which requires careful planning, organisation and time management. Every day is a learning opportunity and my philosophy has always been about passing on whatever I learn so that we can continue to elevate the status of the STEM space in Africa especially for women. It is my small way of empowering us together. 5. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the STEM field?   Be curious. Have a dream and work smart to turn it into reality. Possibilities are endless and YOU have to shape your own path. I started in Science and was aware of the normality to progress towards being a Scientist i.e. Masters, PhD, post-doctorate, however I was fortunate enough to merge my two passions and found another path towards progression in my career. This didn’t happen on its own but through determination and working consistently until I was where I wanted to be. There are many careers within the STEM field besides working in the laboratory space and it is our duty to seek those opportunities and go beyond. Our skill set is unique and can be applied in any sphere so always ensure that you keep progressing and build your skill set. 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”?   Certainly, there are opportunities everywhere and it is about accessing it and being driven to want to be a part of that movement. Often it just requires us to be able to see beyond and not let any barrier stop our dreams. Many obstacles will come our way but it is about staying true to the dream and ambition. I believe that Science will unlock our potential as a continent but it cannot be done alone – we all need to work together to create and make that vision a reality – men and women, old and young need to work together and we will reap the benefits. As a starting point we need to empower and lift our budding scientists and keep mentoring them so that they can access opportunities and go beyond. We need to keep progressing. 7. Have there been any milestone moments or eureka moments in your career?   I was recently voted as one of the Top 200 Mail & Guardian’s Young South Africans for 2018 which is such an honour to have for my work done in education. My recent appointment at UCT was on the New Generation of Academics Programme which allows me to work on my PhD full time – a post that only a handful in South Africa have been granted. I work on a voluntary basis as the Chief Operating Officer for the Humanitarians NPO/PBO and we have been involved in many, many projects empowering South Africans, young and old and one project that is dear to my heart was our Sustainable Book Project. I led this project in which we distributed close to 20 000 books to increase the literacy levels in our country. I am very humbled to be where I am today and anything is possible ONLY if we have the mind set and temperament to know where we need to be and to work until we are there. 8. How do you maintain a work-life balance?   Organisation is key but it’s also about having goals outside the work space. If all facets of your life are stimulating, it overflows to the other sectors. I love what I do and do what I love is really key to this balance. Time is the most important commodity and is something we can never get back so I make every minute count and for me there is always time for everything if organised correctly. I pray regularly and eat well which also contributes to this balance so you need to have a balance in everything in life. 9. Who is your role model? Who inspires you?   To be honest, I don’t have a role model but am inspired by a few people, the late Princess Diana as well as Khadija Bint Khuwaylid and Aisha Bint Abu Bakr, both wives of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) as well as my mother, the superwoman. I believe that I shape my future and should be my own role model, borrowing golden nuggets from inspiring people here and there. 10. Where can more information or insight into your work be found?   You can find me on social media, follow me on LinkedIn or you can drop me a mail to collaborate/network  Taahira.goolamhoosen@uct.ac.za Twitter:   @tyRa_Moola LinkedIn profile:   Taahira Goolam Hoosen (Moola) Instagram:   @Taahira_Moola Taahira Goolam Hoosen 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
Name:  Dr. Sneha Anand Email id: sneha.anand@psych.ox.ac.uk Background: PhD (Neurobehavioural Genetics) MSc (Biotechnology) BSc (Life Sciences) Achievements: MRC centenary award for early career researchers Medical Research Council Excellence in Research award Society for Research on Biological Rhythms Current occupation:  Scientist at University of Oxford Interviewed by:  Interviewer is Lavanya, a High School STEM student in Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai. She wishes to major in Engineering. She is happy and proud to pursue STEM and is passionate about propagating STEM among girls What motivated you to take up the science stream? Was it something you always wanted to do?   Yes. I was always inclined to do something that would help people by improving human health. I knew it would give me a sense of satisfaction and hence I was very much inclined towards medicine and biological sciences. After receiving a basic degree in life sciences, what persuaded you to take up scientific research instead of medicine which most girls tend to lean towards?   Medicine was always my first choice as it would mean communicating directly with people/patients. However, it was actually my neighbor who inspired and motivated me to take up research. There was a time when I would think that while doctors' do a great job diagnosing and treating people, it is actually the researchers who do all the groundwork. Scientists spend their time focusing on investigating the problem and finding a drug that would help treat diseases prior to the doctors who prescribe it in the clinics. And that to me was extremely fascinating. Can you elaborate on why you steered away from medicine and toward research? We researchers study the basis of any problem/disease/disorder in dept. We then translate it and pass on the information to pharma companies to carry out clinical trials and develop drugs. These drugs are then prescribed by doctors in the clinic. So the fact being responsible to carry out the base work is extremely fascinating to me. Can you briefly discuss what you do for work and some interesting research activities you conducted? Currently, I am looking at biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. This disease is diagnosed, by brain MRI, very late in life and at that point it's too late to reverse the disorder and give treatment. My research is focused on identifying some proteins in the blood very early in life which would tell us that the person would be at a risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Can you recall any eureka moments in your career? I think a eureka moment for me was when I received the excellence in research award with an audience of 3000 people. Can you briefly detail the research you won an award for? I won an award for my research during PhD. It was based on studying the molecular functions of genes involved in the circadian clock mechanisms. Can you also discuss what research you are currently conducting? Currently, I am looking at biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. This disease is diagnosed, by brain MRI, very late in life and at that point it's too late to reverse the disorder and give treatment. My research is focused on identifying some proteins in the blood very early in life which would tell us that the person would be at a risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Do you mentor anyone? If yes, who do you mentor?   Yes, I have mentored many PhD as well as undergraduate students. I also take on school students (age 13-15) who are interested in pursuing science/research and let them shadow my work for a few days to let them have a feel for the research field. Having guided several science students, have you observed anything of special merit in STEM girls?  Yes. In my experience I have always felt STEM girls are much more focused, diligent, perfectionists and have a tremendous eye for detail. Any advice you would like to share with STEM girls?   I often say to my students, science and rather research is great! Don't be afraid of research. Although it is an unconventional career choice to be a scientist, if you are able to find a cure for a deadly disease the feeling you will get is unbeatable! Any advice you'd like to give your 18 year old self?   Follow your heart and your dreams. Leave behind the peer pressure. Do something new and innovative. Even today, students in India are focused on engineering and medicine and it is quite frustrating to see them aiming for these two mainstream careers. I keep telling the new generation, be unconventional and think out of the box. There are a whole new load of career options. Choose a career in which you are interested in, work hard and you will be unstoppable. Where can we find out more about your work?   https://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/team/sneha-anand https://www.linkedin.com/in/drsnehaanand/ Also read my publications including research papers and reviews
1) Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do. My name is  Marguerite Matthews  and I am a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow working at the National Institutes of Health in the Office of the Director. Prior to doing science policy work, I was a neuroscience researcher. 2) How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do? I learned about the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships during my time in graduate school. Once I knew there was an option to use my scientific research background to learn about and influence federal policymaking, I started seeing the value in my translating my education and training to work outside of the laboratory. I found it quite empowering to know that there was a need to apply my science knowledge to addressing societal challenges. 3) What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning? Having a voice in my work environment, being able to make important contributions to my agency and my community, and working with a passionate group of people excite and inspire me to go to work every day. 4) What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story? Thanks to therapy, I now prioritize my happiness and mental wellness above all else! So I regularly engage in activities that relax me or that I enjoy, such as spending time with family and friends, getting a manicure, going to the movies. The more I invest in caring for myself, the less stress I experience or tolerate. When it comes to feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty, I often have to remind myself that I am smart, capable, and just flat out dope! Sometimes it takes looking at my CV and/or talking to my mentors and support system to recognize that my experience, my voice, and my work has value. 5) Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this? There are many people I admire and who inspire me on my professional journey. My dad, and his love for knowledge and inquiry, is an especially prominent source of inspiration for me as a scientist. However, there is no single person whose life or career I have modeled my own after. Rather, I’ve had a series of people in my life who have helped me realize the goals I’ve set for myself as I have moved along the path to self-discovery of what I want to do professionally. 6) What is your experience of being a woman in the technology industry? Being a woman of color in STEM hasn’t been without its challenges but has largely been a positive experience for me. Almost every mentor I’ve had – male and female – have guided me along the path and taught me how to advocate for myself and to be strong and confident, even when I may be the only one who looks like me in the room. I meet so many women and young girls who are often discouraged from pursuing STEM careers for one reason or another and it saddens me to know that they haven’t had the access to STEM opportunities or mentorship that I have to allow me to flourish and choose based on my own desire and not the presumptions of others. 7) What advice would you give to young women entering the STEM field? BE YOURSELF! Be bold and daring in your pursuit of anything that makes you hunger to learn more. And be assured that there are people out there who want you to succeed and reach your highest potential. Because your authentic-c, curious-, and determined-self is what we need to change and advance science and technology. 8) How do you measure your success? I don’t measure my success, exactly. I set goals for myself and I aim to achieve them. Not achieving any given goal doesn’t necessarily signal lack of “success”. And “failure” can often a sign of progress towards my goal(s). As long as I am growing my expertise, generating new ideas, creating or improving opportunities, all to make contributions to my field and my community, I am succeeding.
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