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 …

Audrey Baricko

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.

Alissa Fine

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.

Michele Marandola

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.

Helping pups strut their stuff in support of domestic violence victims

When people help others, it’s satisfying to know that you have made a positive difference for someone else. Volunteering is important to me because it gives me a sense of community and giving back to that community is extremely important.

Since joining PSEG Long Island five years ago, I’ve been a paralegal in the law department. A few years later, I discovered a local organization called L.I. Against Domestic Violence, which provides a range of services that help over 14,000 Long Island adults and children each year to escape from abusive relationships and build new lives. Domestic violence is more common than most people think and I’ve personally known people who have had to deal with it, which made this organization hit close to home, lighting a fire in me to help.

I’ve been volunteering with L.I. Against Domestic Violence for two years, sitting on the planning committee, as well as charged with planning their Paws for a Cause event, which is held annually at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bayshore, New York.

According to Safe Place for Pets, up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusive partners because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.  This why I just love the Paws for a Cause event, which is a dog fashion show where all proceeds go to support domestic violence victims.

This event takes a year’s worth of planning with lots of meetings, organizing, advertising and securing sponsorships. This year, I was in charge with securing a DJ from 106.1 BLI, a local classic rock station in Long Island, a photographer, as well as securing guest judges, event sponsorship and social media marketing.

Our PSEG community did not disappoint and immediately raised their hands to help support the cause. Daniel Eichhorn, president and COO of PSEG Long Island, along with Suzanne Brienza, director of customer experience and utility marketing of PSEG Long Island, happily jumped in as guest judges, and PSEG signed on as a sponsor for the event, making my job extremely easy. Additionally, PSEG’s employee business resource groups (EBRG) helped secure more PSEG Long Island volunteers for the event, as well as provide branded gift donations to be raffled off.

I’m proud to say that this year’s Paws for a Cause event raised $17,000 and this donation for domestic violence will help adults, children and pets alike get the support and courage they need to leave abusive situations.

PSEG’s Power of One, which honors the volunteer efforts in our organization and in our communities, is enriching and motivating, and I encourage everyone to get out there and volunteer! I found my home with L.I. Against Domestic Violence and, by giving back, you can find your home too. #PSEGPowerOfOne #PowerofOnePSEGLI

Filling hearts and bellies – PSEG employees volunteer at Pittstown Farm

Three years ago, my husband and I moved back to my hometown to raise our children and enjoy all that scenic Hunterdon County has to offer. For months, I drove past a farm called America’s Grow-A-Row on my way to and from work at PSEG, wondering why they never sell any fresh produce in a roadside stand. I had no idea what the farm was about until almost a year later when a friend told me about his volunteer experience with America’s Grow-A-Row, a nonprofit organization dedicated to donating fresh produce to food banks and hunger relief agencies across the mid-Atlantic region. Continue reading

Stevens and PSEG – It’s a SURE thing

Recently, Stevens Institute of Technology and PSEG held a reception at Liberty Science Center to celebrate our longstanding partnership and PSEG’s underwriting of Stevens’ innovative SURE House. Late last year, the PSEG Foundation awarded a new $1.5 million grant to further strengthen academic excellence at the university and take our partnership to a new level. Continue reading

Flag Day salute to employers supporting our military

Since Sept. 11, 2001, many men and women have volunteered to join the U.S. military. In fact, today’s armed services are composed of all volunteers, unlike the past when there was a universal draft.
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Nurturing and teaching – the heart of our employees

It was a cold, spring day (in a spring with too many cold, spring days) when nearly 100 Newark students converged on PSEG’s corporate headquarters. They learned about teamwork and in-demand jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), heard from PSEG employees about their own career paths, and met and interacted with students from other Newark high schools. It was a great day for the students but also for more than two dozen PSEG volunteers who spent the day at the Jr. Achievement Career Success workshop.   Continue reading