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

Name:  Apiwe Hotele  Role/Occupation:  Technology Commercialization Specialist at SARAO, Founder of the Enlighten tutoring app and the IMBASA programme Country:  South Africa Apiwe Hotele  works as a technology commercialisation specialist at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). Her duties involve introducing new products made at SARAO to the market as well as initiating development projects in the Northern Cape, where the famous MeerKAT telescope is located. One of Hotele's biggest achievements was designing and building the multi-sensory monitoring system for the MeerKAT telescope’s oil-immersed and liquid-cooled grid supercomputer; she said that “seeing the system work and knowing that I built it from scratch is quite an accomplishment for me personally.” Surprisingly, Hotele never considered computer science as a career path, “ I did not even know it [computers] existed. I used to see computers but I did not know the theory behind them”. Initially, she aspired to be a medical doctor, however due to the poor educational facilities in her disadvantaged community, she was unable to qualify to study medicine. Her dreams were shattered and she was depressed. Incidentally at that point when she would fetch water from the communal tap she would meet students with similar grievances due to the lack of appropriate educators and she reach the realisation that she was not alone, “from that day onwards I made a promise to myself that I would improve the mathematics and science situation in disadvantaged communities.” She would always wonder, “how could I ensure that students from rural areas receive quality tutoring in mathematics and science?” And then she found a solution and created the Enlighten app, an online tutoring application that offers remote tutoring services to disadvantaged communities in mathematics and science. She still gets excited whenever she thinks about it, “I cannot explain how I feel every time I think about this, the technology is designed specifically for their needs.” Hotele's biggest motivation is her six year old daughter and she works hard to ensure that her daughter grows up in an enriching environment, “I would fail as a mother if my daughter has to face the same problems I faced because I could not do anything about them.” Another source of inspiration to her are the many opportunities now available that were previously withheld from people of colour during Apartheid; she feels that “one thing that our freedom fighters left us with is access, we have access to things they did not have access to. It is our duty to carefully choose what we do with this access and to ensure that we open doors wide enough for future generations to enter freely.” Hotele likens being a woman in STEM to being on a rollercoaster ride with alternating good and bad days and feels that as such your responsibilities extend beyond your workspace to society as a whole, “other women look at you and admire you, some look at you and think “well do you really think you can do it?” Then you get men who are generally okay and men who judge you and think you are trying to prove a point. You constantly have to prove yourself merely because you are a young black female engineer/scientist.” Her thoughts with regards to women entering the STEM field is that “there is still a long way to go, but women are coming together from all parts of the world to create an environment that accommodates females, so please do not be discouraged by the environment… it's not about how long it takes to get to the finish line, it’s about the process of getting there… Walk your journey with pride and never compare yourself with others.” She initiated #Breakingthestereotype at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an annual event focused on motivating young female scientists and engineers. Through this event, Hotele aims “to dismantle the mind set that science/engineering is for an elite few. Science is for hard workers, ambitious and dedicated people. It has nothing to do with gender or colour.” Without a doubt she believes that Africa is a land of opportunity and she personally feels that “the continent is making a steady progress but… we need to move faster, there is a lot to be done. The fourth industrial revolution is here!” She also shares her thoughts on the four areas that Africa as a continent needs to focus on namely, data scientists and data analysts, education technology, agriculture and entrepreneurship. These points were discussed in further detail during the interview. Read further to engage more closely with ‘Geeky Girl' Apiwe Hotele's ideas as she shines her telescopic vision on the world of STEM, a vision possibly more inspiring than the one provided by the famous MeerKAT telescope which she helped to construct. 1. Describe what your work entails. I work as a technology commercialisation specialist at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). My job involves introducing new products produced at SARAO to the market as well as initiating development projects in the Northern Cape, where the MeerKAT telescope is located. Prior to that I worked as science processing developer where I built a novel multi-sensory monitoring system for monitoring an environmentally ruggedized container for the MeerKAT telescope’s oil-immersed and liquid-cooled grid supercomputer. I am passionate about science education as well as creating awareness in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry and motivating students from previously disadvantaged communities to pursue careers in mathematics and science. I am the founder of Enlighten Tutoring, an online tutoring application that offers remote tutoring services to disadvantaged communities in mathematics and science for Grades 8 to 12. I initiated the IMBASA programme together with the Science Data Processing Team at SARAO. The aim of the programme is to motivate students from disadvantaged communities to not only pursue careers in mathematics and science but also to provide academic and financial support to these students. 2. Describe your engineering/STEM journey. Growing up computer science was never in my mind, I did not even know it existed. I used to see computers but I did not know the theory behind them. Growing up I wanted to be a medical doctor, however my dream was shattered in January 2010. I did not have a constant mathematics and physical science teacher from Grade 10- 12 due to this my physics marks were not that great, so I did not qualify to study medicine. This was really depressing for me; coincidentally during that time when I would fetch water from the community tap, I would meet students who would complain about how difficult maths was and how they wanted to quit physics because they did not have educators in those subjects. Suddenly, I realised that I was not alone. There were many other students going through what I was going through - and worse. From that day onwards I made a promise to myself that I would improve the mathematics and science situation in disadvantaged communities. 3. What excites you about your job? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? I wake up every morning because I have a six year old daughter, it is my role as her mother to ensure that she grows up in an environment that allows her to grow and prosper. I would fail as a mother if my daughter has to face the same problems I faced because I could not do anything about them. I am excited that times have changed, it is no secret that there is a lot of inequality in South Africa because of apartheid, one thing that our freedom fighters left us with is access, we have access to things they did not have access to. It is our duty to carefully choose what we do with this access and ensure that whatever we do we open doors wide enough for future generations to enter freely. 4. How would you describe your experience as a woman in the engineering/STEM space? A rollercoaster ride, some days are better than others while some are worse. There is still a lot of patriarchy in our society, the mind set of both males and females still need to be transformed. It is more difficult for me because I am right at the bottom, the order is as follows: white men,black men, white women and lastly the black women. All of these people are stepping on top of you, sometimes black women step on top of black women so it's still a bit messy. Being a female scientist/engineer goes beyond your work space to your society and your personal life. Other women look at you and admire you, some look at you and think “well do you really think you can do it?” Then you get men who are generally okay and men who judge you and think you are trying to prove a point. You constantly have to prove yourself merely because you are a young black female engineer/scientist. In 2016, I represented women in science at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) University of Cape Town (UCT) branch, where I initiated #Breakingthestereotype, an annual event focused on motivating young female scientists and engineers studying at the institution. My aim is to dismantle the mind set that science/engineering is for an elite few. Science is for hard workers, ambitious and dedicated people. It has nothing to do with gender or colour. 5. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the engineering/ STEM field? It takes one person with a dream, passion and perseverance to change the world. It is time for us to come up with solutions and not point fingers. In the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” As far as the STEM field is concerned there is still a long way to go, but women are coming together from all parts of the world to create an environment that accommodates females, so please do not be discouraged by the environment. The journey is lengthy and hard; perseverance and patience are key. Obstacles are ingredients of success, it's not about how long it takes to get to the finish line, it’s about the process of getting there, the strength and courage you get by getting there. Walk your journey with pride and never compare yourself with others. 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”? Definitely, there is no doubt Africa is a land of opportunity, personally I think the continent is making a steady progress but I feel we need to move faster, there is a lot to be done. The fourth industrial revolution is here! Personally, I feel there are four areas we need to focus on as a continent:  A.) We need data scientists and data analysts:  In order to achieve this we need to ensure that learners have a good foundation in mathematics and science. This sadly links back to our education system which needs to change not only for mathematics and science but for other fields as well. B.) Education technology:  We need to start looking at ways to integrate or fuse the traditional teaching method with technology. We have started doing this already but we need to do more. C.) Agriculture:  We have so much land and a lot of emerging farmers that lack business skills and need access to markets. We need to work on this fast. D.) Entrepreneurship:  We need to foster entrepreneurship from a young age, students in high school or tertiary education need to think beyond just an invention or just research to include how they can make a change in society and profit through their invention. 7. Have there been any milestone moments or eureka moments in your career? There are quite a few milestone moments in my career but two stand out. When I designed and built the multi-sensory monitoring system for monitoring an environmentally ruggedized container for the MeerKAT telescope’s oil-immersed and liquid-cooled grid supercomputer. Seeing the system work and knowing that I built it from scratch is quite an accomplishment for me personally. The second one is the online tutoring app Enlighten. Ever since I completed Grade 12, I’d always wonder, how could I ensure that students from rural areas receive quality tutoring in mathematics and science? I have the solution, the Enlighten app. I cannot explain how I feel every time I think about this, the technology is designed specifically for their needs. 8. How do you maintain a work-life balance? Well this is one aspect of my life that I am still failing at, I focus too much on work and forget to live and enjoy life. I aspire to go to the gym even though I've already paid the monthly membership fees. I have not mastered the art of balance yet but because I have started thinking about it, I will start changing it. Ideally, I would like to spend more time with my family and loved ones and I also want to spend more time doing what I enjoy doing and not on what I have to do. 9. Who is your role model? Who inspires you? My parents inspire me, they both came from disadvantaged backgrounds and they managed to be successful educators. I am also inspired by Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist for female education. She stood up for what she believed in. 10. Where can more information or insight into your work be found? http://ysa.mg.co.za/2018/apiwe-hotele/ http://enlightentutoring.co.za/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/apiwe-hotele-42193688/ https://apiwe2012.wixsite.com/website https://www.biznews.com/good-hope-project/2017/09/22/aphiwe-hotele-ska-computer-servers-liquid-oil/ Facebook:   Aphiwe Patience Hotele Instagram:   apiwe_hotele Apiwe Hotele 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
You’ve heard the expression “career ladder” right? If you’re a girl in a predominately male profession, there’s something you can get to help you step up that ladder. Or, even a method of putting a foot on the first rung, as an early career move. Why not get a mentor? Why not get a mentor? Think about it. If you can communicate with someone further up the ladder, it brings all sorts of benefits. This includes tips and insights to help you to achieve the next steps. They may even open some doors for you. Sometimes it's about building your confidence too. Our Geeky Girl Reality report in 2016 found that getting a boost to your self-belief is invaluable. As is access to positive role models – women who have successfully forged ahead in STEM fields. So, getting a mentor who's a successful female in your area of interest could be doubly valuable. How do you find a mentor? It may mean playing the numbers game; approaching a few likely candidates and seeing which one responds positively. A great tool for identifying your “hit list” is LinkedIn – it’s a sort of social networking site for business. You could set up your own profile page and connect with appropriate contacts. We’re on it, so don’t forget to connect with the Geeky Girl team! Networking is also a great way to meet potential mentors. Are there conferences, networking groups or trade bodies that would welcome you as a guest, student member or even a full member? Use these opportunities to approach likely candidates to be your mentor. Or ring and email people who feel have the right credentials.   How to get a “yes” Be ready to communicate clearly, whether it’s a message on LinkedIn or a personal approach at an event.  Use a brief introduction to yourself, then deliver a carefully worded, polite and succinct request for some of their time. Be realistic. The higher up your target, the less chance they’ll give you regular slots in their diary. So, the form this mentoring takes is up to them, though you can make suggestions. At the very least, you may get a time slot to ask them questions, either in person or by email. Or they may be willing to meet you for a quick coffee. The best case scenario is that your mentor guides you towards internships or other work experience opportunities such as a chance to work shadow them or a colleague. They may even point you towards jobs that are recruiting! More tips on mentor “hunting” If you approach someone to be your mentor (particularly at an event) they may give you their time “on the spot”. It’s a good idea be always armed with searching questions, to uncover top tips and techniques for preparing for STEM gigs. What if they say no? Be ready with a quick additional question. Ask them if they can recommend anyone who might be your mentor. Or request that they pass your details on to colleagues. Making your way up a STEM career ladder doesn’t have to be lonely if you have the right mentor. And you always have the Geeky Girls team cheering you onwards and upwards! -o- Geeky Girl Reality shares career tips to help young women kickstart their careers in STEM and relevant fields. Make sure to view the available 'gigs"  on our site: internships, scholarships, and other entry-level opportunities.
Name:  Lungile Hlatshwayo Role/Occupation:  Advanced Lead Reliability Engineer  Country:  South Africa I recently interviewed Lungile Hlatshwayo, the Lead Engineer for Reliability. Hlatshwayo was the first African in her field to make it into the prestigious Edison Program, she remembers when she first found out, “ I was on a bus home when I found out and I just cried partially because I knew this would then open doors for other Africans. The second reason was that it was a step closer to being a beast of an engineer which is one of my life goals”. And she is definitely a ‘beast’ of an engineer. Hlatshwayo works with locomotives and in her role as Lead Engineer she is responsible for the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) reliability case solutions management in the region. She projects, manages and drives solutions case management for all fleets across SSA region which includes South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia. Her task as a reliability engineer is to ensure all customer pain points regarding the product are addressed. This would include investigating the complete design, performance related issues and any component failures. Hlatshwayo was first introduced to engineering in high school when she attended an open day in Monash Australia and was instantly fascinated by the vast world of engineering. After much research she decided to study mechanical engineering. She completed her undergraduate degree, a BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of Cape Town after which she started working as an intern in the Early Career Development Program. She was later accepted into a global engineering program called the Thomas Edison Engineering Development Program which resulted in her spending 18 months abroad working in different teams exposed to design, root cause analysis, project management, systems engineering, optimization and various analysis. She feels that being part of the program made her a better engineer, “Learning and engaging with experts, which were truly the best in their fields is one of the greatest things that could have ever happened to me”. She also completed a postgraduate diploma in Project Management as part of the program. This year she started studying towards a Masters in Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand and also spent five months in GE Power understanding and learning about the industry, all while reporting to her role as the lead engineer for Reliability. When asked what she loves about her profession, she admits “I’m a problem solver and innately I’m always looking for the best option. My job allows me to excel in my most natural state.” She has strong feelings about being a woman in the STEM space and feels that as a woman you have to always work much harder than your male counterparts to prove yourself, “It’s a social issue as well, people naturally respect men, it’s something we need to change in how we raise the next generation”. Hlatshwayo has a very positive outlook with regards to STEM in Africa, “I think Africa has a lot to offer in terms of STEM; there are innovators, creators of knowledge, people pursuing their PhD’s, unconventional engineers and generally more women pursuing careers that were previously out of reach in the country. I believe the more we encourage young leaders to take up STEM the greater the prospects of growth, the more we create exposure opportunities into the work we do, the more the growth”. Read more about this beautiful beast of an engineer conquering the field of engineering and locomotives in the interview below as this Geeky Girl shares some of her opinions and insights. 1. Describe what your work entails. I work with locomotives; our task is to ensure the customer has a world class product that allows them to streamline operations and increase performance. My task as a reliability engineer is to ensure all customer pain points regarding the product are addressed, this means investigating all design, performance related issues and any component failures also defined as reliability cases. In my role as Lead Engineer I’m responsible for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) reliability case solutions management in the region. I project, manage and drive solutions case management for all fleets across SSA region this includes South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia. 2. Describe your engineering journey. Engineering was introduced to me in high school. I went to an open day in Monash Australia and I was just so fascinated by the field. My uncle at the time was pursuing his undergraduate degree, though he never completed it, he was the most innovative person I’ve ever known. I started doing the research then decided I’d study Mechanical Engineering. My undergraduate degree is a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town (UCT). I started working at GE in 2015 as an intern in the Early Career Development Program. At the completion of that program I went onto a global engineering program called the Thomas Edison Engineering Development Program which led to me spending 18 months in India working in different teams exposed to design, root cause analysis, project management, systems engineering, optimization and various analysis. I feel like it made me a better engineer, we also had to complete comprehensive courses whilst on program which solved business challenges. Learning and engaging with experts, which were truly the best in their fields is one of the greatest things that could have ever happened to me. I also completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management whilst on program. This year I spent five months in GE Power understanding and learning about that industry and started my Masters in Engineering with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Post program, I’m now the Lead Engineer for Reliability in the region, it’s been a tough but rewarding journey. 3. What excites you about your job? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? I’m a problem solver and innately I’m always looking for the best option. My job allows me to excel in my most natural state. As an Edison everyday was a new challenge and a new learning experience; I felt amazing with every week, with every phase I conquered. As a reliability engineer I get to interface with the customer and solve their issues which for me is so important, it gives meaning to my work. I also love the fact that nothing is the same so there’s always a new challenge, new approaches to be looked into and new things to learn. 4. How would you describe your experience as a woman in the STEM space? Being a woman in the STEM space is not easy, you always must work much harder than your male counterparts. It’s a social issue as well, people naturally respect men, it’s something we need to change in how we raise the next generation. That said in the STEM space as a female you earn the respect through sheer hard work. On the other hand, because there’s so few women in this field there’s a world of opportunities which for me has been amazing and enriching. 5. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the engineering field? It is important to always be yourself no matter how tough the challenge. I’m a fashionista. The common comment I get is that I don’t look like an engineer; for years I've tried to change this but its only when I embraced my true self that I was able to passionately drive my tasks. To aspiring young women entering the STEM field I want you to know that you can be beautiful, fierce, smart, geeky and still make your mark in the industry. With the right efforts you can be where you want to be in your own way… 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”? This year’s Mail and Guardian 200 young leaders supplement had the highest nominees in science and technology with a substantial number of women in this field recognised. I think Africa has a lot to offer in terms of STEM; there are innovators, creators of knowledge, people pursuing their PhD’s, unconventional engineers and generally more women pursuing careers that were previously out of reach in the country. I believe the more we encourage young leaders to take up STEM the greater the prospects of growth, the more we create exposure opportunities into the work we do, the more the growth. What the science and technology industry also does is progressively solve and create a better life for someone at grass root level. If we look at the world of the digital revolution and how that has changed our lives to date the results are exponential; behind that brilliance lies an engineer in that field. 7. Have there been any milestone moments or eureka moments in your career? Hahaha, lots..The biggest one though was making the Edison Program as the first African in my business. I was on a bus home when I found out and I just cried partially because I knew this would then open doors for other Africans. The second reason was that it was a step closer to being a beast of an engineer which is one of my life goals. 8. How do you maintain a work-life balance? I make time for the things that keep me sane, so my relationships, studying, music, exercise and travel. When it’s time to work I WORK!!!! Sometimes sacrifice my weekends when I want to feel good by Monday. 9. Who is your role model? Who inspires you? My role model is not an engineer but she’s just an amazing human and leader. Her name is Zeenith Ebrahim she was the GE South Africa GM and CEO. She inspires me because she’s a leader that believes in the potential of her team, her approach is strategic with so much passion, compassion and empathy. She also inspires me because she’s herself in everything she does and is driven and humble. 10. Where can more information or insight into your work be found?  http://www.getransportation.com/locomotive-and-services Instagram:  @lungiez Facebook:  Lu Hlatshwayo Lungile Hlatshwayo 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
View all blog posts