Women Helping Future Women in STEM
As women remain dramatically underrepresented across all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) studies and careers, how do we make strides to close the gender gap and fuel the next generation of female innovators? With that mission in mind, we stepped up and donated our own time and energy to help young girls pursue STEM. We’re thrilled that PSEG’s Power of One campaign is highlighting our work, as well as our colleagues’.
We are the dream team volunteering for It’s a Girl’s World Inc. in Carneys Point, New Jersey. Exposing girls to STEM careers early and providing them with confidence, mentoring and business skills before high school is critical to continuing to create a gender-balanced workforce. It’s a Girl’s World is a program focused on young women entering seventh, eighth and ninth grades in Salem and Cumberland Counties, and seeks to help them pursue and be successful in their future career goals in STEM.
Each of our journeys began in the summer of 2018 when the PSEG Foundation notified us about the opportunity to volunteer with It’s a Girl’s World, and we haven’t looked back …
Volunteering and giving back to my community is extremely important to me, and since I’ve had some very strong mentors in my life that have guided me, I knew that I wanted to do the same for others.
I’ve been an electrical design engineer at PSEG Nuclear for seven years. As soon as I heard about the opportunity to volunteer for It’s a Girl’s World, which is a subprogram of South Jersey Robotics, I knew it was something in which I wanted to be involved. Mentoring and getting young women interested in STEM is a passion of mine, and I’m lucky to be a part of something like this.
During the summer camp that we participate in with our mentees, I especially love the opportunity to talk to them about my particular career, the path I took to get where I am today, as well as what first caught my interest in STEM. And, throughout the program, it’s great to not only help them with the assigned learning activities, but watch as the young women gain more and more knowledge as the activities become more intricate.
I love what I’m doing, and the call to action for the community to volunteer and get girls involved resonates with me. Even if I help just one person, it’s incredibly meaningful and valuable.
Volunteering really grounds me and helps me put everything into perspective.
I went to school for business administration and worked in hospitality management for 10 years before discovering my love of STEM. Once I found my true passion, I decided to harness it and go back to school for engineering – to work smarter, not harder – which brings me to my one-year anniversary as an electrical engineer at PSEG Nuclear.
Mentoring the small group of young women at It’s a Girl’s World has been amazing. At the start of the program, our mentees choose three goals to achieve by a specific deadline. Some goals are smart, others are timely and some can be STEM or non-STEM related. At the end of the day, we are there to help guide and steer them in the right direction to achieve their goals.
I like to think of volunteering as a two-way street. You’re helping someone else; they are appreciative, which makes you feel good. As we go through life, we are in our own little bubbles, but engaging with our communities not only helps us realize what really matters in life, but it’s also extremely rewarding.
PSEG plays such a big part in community involvement that it’s contagious and makes you want to give back.
I’ve been an engineer with PSEG Nuclear for five years. It’s a Girl’s World is an organization that I care about because I had a similar experience growing up. I participated in a similar camp through the College of Engineering at Rowan University, called Attracting Women into Engineering. Additionally, I was part of an engineering academy in high school. This involvement grew my interest in STEM, helped me decide to go to college for chemical engineering and landed me where I am today.
Mentoring these young women to get them interested in STEM early and to reach their goals is what I love most. Our bimonthly meetings always are enjoyable because we get to hear about what our mentees have attained, along with hearing from great speakers in the field. In fact, during our last meeting, women from our local community college came in and talked about proactively taking classes for college credit, and women from The Society of Women Engineers at Rowan came in to talk about their roles.
It’s a Girl’s World is making a lasting impact. One of the girls in my group is going to be a sophomore in high school and is interested in continuing her participation in our mentor group. As a result, the organization is thinking about expanding the age group to include more young women.
Giving back to the community feels good, and I hope our wisdom impacts these young women to pursue their dreams.