Increasing Female Representation in STEM Careers Starts with Exposure

JerseySTEM partners with schools and community organizations throughout New Jersey to create STEM-oriented opportunities for girls in underserved communities.

According to an article from, many girls aren’t taking STEM courses because they’re often not exposed to STEM in school and/or are encouraged to pursue other careers.

The article focuses on California where only 30 percent of high school students who take computer science courses are female. Yet, females make up 49 percent of the student population.

EdSource believes the California education system can close the exposure gap by doing the following:

  • Expose girls to STEM studies early in their education, no later than eighth or ninth grade
  • Invite STEM industry professionals to high school classrooms as guest speakers
  • Involve girls in cross-curricular projects that examine how the different STEM components come together
  • Administer aptitude tests to girls to show them they have the intelligence and skills to pursue STEM careers

JerseySTEM’s contribution to exposing girls to STEM education and career possibilities will continue to make a critical difference in how they view future STEM opportunities.

Dishant Modi – JerseySTEM Volunteer Success Story

Volunteering for JerseySTEM can sometimes lead to an exciting career opportunity. That’s what happened for Dishant Modi, 26, who is originally from Gujarat, a state along the western coast of India.

After receiving his Master’s Degree in Data Analytics from Northeastern University in Boston, Dishant worked as a business intelligence developer consultant. He eventually answered a JerseySTEM LinkedIn posting seeking a volunteer with his technical expertise. Dishant soon became a data analyst intern at JerseySTEM, joining the team the Balu Vemburaj, an agile coach/project manager at JerseySTEM, supervises.

From mid-February through mid-August 2022, Dishant collaborated with the team on Jira software on which they managed their projects. He leveraged data from multiple domains and sources to build dashboards and reported on volunteer activity, plus participated in weekly virtual team meetings to discuss and plan other analytical projects.

It turns out that Balu, who is also a senior director at Akamai Technologies, Inc., needed someone with similar skills for his team at his company. He offered Dishant a job as a data analyst in late August 2022.

“I believe it’s important to volunteer and contribute to society by helping people not privileged as you are,” says Dishant. Being a volunteer at JerseySTEM allowed him to demonstrate his abilities, which led to his job offer. “There are many similarities between the volunteer work I did for JerseySTEM and my new job,” says Dishant.