The Greatest First-Generation: A Closer Look at STEM Premier's First-Gen Students


Two months ago, we introduced you to STEM Premier’s First-Generation student population; students whose parents do not possess a college degree. When we first began delving into the data on our first-gen students, we were floored by what we found. It turns out that they are some of the most highly-engaged users on our platform; they display higher levels of profile completion and digital badge ownership. That fact has inspired us to strengthen our commitment to these oft-forgotten students. We hope that excites and inspires you as well.

But who exactly are these students? Well, there’s nearly 30,000 of them on STEM Premier, which means they comprise about 10% of our total student user population. They hail from across the U.S., from coast to coast. They span a diverse range of ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are a big part of America’s future workforce, and they’re ready to make their impact in a multitude of career fields.

Do they have what it takes? Absolutely. 2,000 of them are National Honor Society members. Thousands more are engaged with HOSA - Future Health Professionals, Project Lead The Way, and other organizations.

Here’s a few more stats on our first-gen population:

Top States

  • South Carolina

  • California

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Georgia

Top Career Interests

  • Registered Nurses

  • Surgeons

  • Mechanical Engineers

  • Pediatricians

  • Biological Scientists

  • Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

  • Computer Programmers

  • Aerospace Engineers

  • Biomedical Engineers

  • Electrical Engineers

Top College Interests

  • Clemson University

  • University of South Carolina

  • Stanford University

  • Coastal Carolina University

  • UCLA

Highest Organizational Engagement

  • National Honor Society

  • HOSA - Future Health Professionals

  • Project Lead The Way

  • Future Business Leaders of America

  • National Technical Honor Society

Does your college, company, or organization want to learn more about and connect with this special group of upcoming talent? Join us today.

It's Thanksgiving Week at STEM Premier!


It’s the season to give thanks. And here at STEM Premier, there’s a lot we have to be thankful for! It’s been an awesome year full of new opportunities and new friendships. We believe it’s important to spread the attitude of gratitude, so here’s just a few of the accomplishments, organizations, and people we’re grateful for!

  • We’re thankful for our growing population of hundreds of thousands of middle school, high school, and collegiate-level users across the country who use our platform to discover and connect with opportunities every day.

  • We’re thankful for the 200+ colleges, companies, and organizations such as Penn State, College of Charleston, Boeing Aerospace, Cummins Turbo Deisel, HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and FIRST Robotics who're providing scholarship, educational, internships, apprenticeships, and career opportunities to our amazing users.

  • We’re thankful for all the teachers, counselors, and career development specialists who've graciously partnered with us and allow our team into their classrooms to educate students on the power of building their professional online presence in this digital age.

We also asked some of our team members here at STEM Premier HQ what they are thankful for this season. Here’s what they had to say!

Sarah Musser, Partnership Strategist

  • For the dedication of Charleston Southern University’s Admissions team who are always looking for new ways to connect and relate with students. I am thankful to have clients who care so much about their current students and the future of their incoming class.

  • For the Girl Scouts of the USA. Through our partnership, I have spoken with women from South Carolina, Texas, New York, Indiana, and many other states, all with a universal goal of helping connect talented young women with college and STEM-focused job opportunities. As a former girl scout myself, it has been so special to help these eager young women build their impressive online portfolios. The future of women in STEM is bright!

Rebecca Craig, Engagement Team

  • For my wonderful colleagues at SC Ports for helping us educate students on regional workforce opportunities and for giving our wonderful Charleston students a great place to work and a solid career path.

  • For The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce who have worked so hard in providing work-force skills and experiences to students in the Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester school districts through coordination of teachers and businesses. They are true warriors for the greater good of Charleston and for helping our students secure the brightest futures possible.

Valerie Keller, Engagement Team

  • For the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice who allowed us to present STEM Premier to a community of educators and influencers. To be in the presence of so many folks across the country who are involved in promoting STEM ecosystems and ensuring student success was an honor.

  • For the University of Pittsburgh for their collaboration in reaching out to top talent throughout the U.S. and for joining the community of four-year colleges helping to build STEM Premier.

STEM Premier Connections: Inspiring the Future of Healthcare


STEM Premier isn’t just about recruiting. It’s also about helping students fulfill their dreams. Often times, connecting a student with a life-changing opportunity is more impactful than connecting them with a school or employer.

Smriti Moorjani, a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, has never doubted her ambition to be a doctor. It’s a goal which inspired her to get involved with HOSA - Future Health Professionals when she was only fourteen years old. “A majority of upperclassmen in my high school were involved in HOSA,” she recalls, “they shared their experiences in this organization, which was really inspiring to learn about.”

Regular membership in the organization quickly led to more involved roles, as she eventually became the organization’s Historian for the entire state of New Jersey. She credits this role as having helped her develop as a leader.

It was Smriti's engagement with HOSA which led her to STEM Premier. “I was interested in applying for certain opportunities in HOSA, and the application was available through STEM Premier.”

One of those opportunities was applying to the HOSA 2017 Public Health Leadership Scholars Program, a unique one-week program through the US Department of Health and Human Services. By being selected, Smriti was able to spend a week in Washington D.C. with like-minded peers gaining knowledge about public health. She met with public health leaders, toured facilities, and discussed a variety of relevant and pressing topics.

“By exposing us to the many sectors within public health, this program helped us better understand the field and how we can incorporate public health in our future careers,” she explains. “At the end of the program, we created final presentations that summarized our experiences and what we learned from this program.”

Smriti also took advantage of STEM Premier to apply for a $2,000 National HOSA Scholarship, which she was awarded. 

She especially appreciates how the STEM Premier platform tailors her user experience based on her profile. “By updating information like my coursework and experiences, it matches me with opportunities.”

Her passion for health care doesn’t end with HOSA. Over the years, Smriti has become involved with a plethora of health-related organizations which have helped her refine her skills and knowledge through service, competition, and mentorship.

At such a young age, she is passionately committed to helping others. And there is a little doubt that she will soon be making an impact on a much larger scale.

Learn a bit more about Smriti in her own words:

Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I enjoy photography.

For fun, I like to….listen to music; it’s a huge stress-reliever!

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet…Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I am inspired by his dedication to the healthcare field and want to learn more about his experiences.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was….Mr. Pfeffer, my high school physical science teacher. He is both an outstanding teacher and amazing mentor.

The last app I downloaded on my phone was….Netflix.

In ten years, I see myself….completing my education and training to become a doctor.

My greatest dream is...to wholeheartedly contribute to improving others’ lives.

STEM Premier Top 100 Student Honored at HOSA International Leadership Conference

Our friends at HOSA-Future Health Professionals recently held their HOSA International Leadership Conference last month. The Orlando, Florida event marked a momentous and successful year for HOSA as their membership grew to 218,000 individuals!

Perhaps more importantly, the conference also provided an opportunity for HOSA to award $96,000 in scholarship support to dozens of deserving students from across the country. These recipients will become our nation’s next generation of doctors, nurses, technicians, and scientists. HOSA members apply for the National HOSA Scholarships through STEM Premier. This means that every applicant and recipient is represented on STEM Premier's platform.  

Although all of the recipients are doubtlessly commendable, we would like to throw a special shout-out to Sydney Bertram from Columbia, South Carolina. Sydney was honored by HOSA with a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by STEM Premier. 

As a two-time STEM Premier Top 100 student, Sydney has been in our spotlight before.  However, her further accomplishments only reinforce our belief that she will one day make her mark on the field of healthcare. She recently committed to attend Clemson University and was also accepted by the University of Virginia and UNC-Chapel Hill. We wish her the best of luck as a Tiger! Congratulations, Sydney!

STEM Premier Spotlight: Ujwala Pamidimukkala

It’s always a pleasure keeping up with our STEM Premier student users. The best part is that there are always success stories to highlight.

 Our latest spotlight is on Ujwala Pamidimukkala, a senior at Columbus North High School in Indiana. Ujwala  - one of our 2017 STEM Premier Top 100 -  was recently named as one of the winners of Indiana’s inaugural Governor's STEM Team award.

 As one of four winners from over one hundred applications, Ujwala’s award represents the “Science” in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And deservedly so. She is highly involved with HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and she placed first in both the Medical Math and Pharmacy Tech categories at Indiana’s HOSA state competition.

 Additionally, Ujwala is an AP Scholar with Distinction, President of her school’s Spanish Club, and a member of her high school tennis team. She has already committed to Vanderbilt, where she plans to major in molecular biology and chemistry.

 We caught with Ujwala to hear a little bit more about her in her own words. Here’s what she had to say!

Something you wouldn't know about me is...I follow more golden retrievers than people on Instagram

For fun, I like to….cook all sorts of food from around the world, but I especially love to make desserts.

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet…Joe Biden because we have a mutual love of ice cream and Ray Ban sunglasses.

The best teacher I’ve ever had was/is….Mr. Dale Nowlin because he's an amazing math teacher and friend

The last app I downloaded on my phone was…Netflix (I LOVE to watch Friends!)

After high school, my next step is...studying molecular biology and chemistry on the pre-med track at Vanderbilt University.

In ten years, I see myself….going through residency and other training to become a cardiovascular surgeon.

My greatest dream is...to positively touch as many lives as I can through a career in cardiovascular surgery.

The thing I like about STEM Premier most is...it is a great place to display all of my credentials and to connect with amazing opportunities.

 Thanks Ujwala! We wish you the best of luck as you pursue your dreams at Vanderbilt!

STEM Premier Spotlight: Hezekiah Branch

One of the best things about having so many amazing student users on our STEM Premier platform is that there is never a shortage of great stories to tell!

Our most recent spotlight is on Hezekiah Branch, a senior at Ridge View High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Hezekiah was recently named a semi-finalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program; one of the most competitive scholarship programs in the country.

Less than 200 U.S. Presidential Scholars across the nation are chosen each year, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. Chosen scholars will be invited to Washington, DC in June to receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at the White House.

Hezekiah is extremely passionate about biomedical science and has been involved with a plethora of related organizations including HOSA and Project Lead The Way. He is also one of our fantastic STEM Premier Student Ambassadors, helping us spread the story of STEM Premier!

We caught up with him recently for a little Q&A. Here’s a little bit about Hezekiah in his own words.

1.  Something you wouldn't know about me is...that I am originally from Boston, MA and my family is Trinidadian.

2. For fun, I like to...learn programming languages like Swift and Java as well as play sports.

3.  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would want to meet...John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men is one of my favorite pieces of literature of all time.

4. The best teacher I've ever had was...my mother who taught me how to read when I was around three or four years old.

5. The last app I downloaded on my phone was...FaceApp.

6. After high school, my next step is to...study Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science at Tufts University.

7. In ten years, I see myself...having graduated from college and working as a medical researcher.

8. My greatest dream is to...open up an international non-profit organization for students to complete research in biomedical sciences.

9. What I like about STEM Premier most is...the facility of organizing my information as well as the design of the website. I also appreciate how other people can view my profile and gain insight into my personality and accomplishments.

Thanks Hezekiah! We wish you the best of luck as the final selections are made this month for the Presidential Scholars Program!

Announcing the 2017 STEM Premier Top 100

It is with much pride and excitement that we announce STEM Premier’s 3rd annual Top 100 rankings: The 2017 STEM Premier Top 100!

This year, over 225,000 STEM Premier student users attending over 16,000 high schools from across the country competed for a place in the Top 100, making this accomplishment a testament to the Top 100’s academic and extracurricular endeavors.

This year’s Top 100 features students from 32 different states, with the most highly represented states being Texas (13 students), California (9), and Washington (8). The diversity of academic and extracurricular success of this group is astounding. Top 100 students are comprised of valedictorians, National Merit Scholar Finalists, AP Scholars,Science Olympiad Champions, Girl Scouts & Eagle Scouts, Presidential Scholars, and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) members.

And that’s just getting started.

Other Top 100 students are involved in specialized and highly technical organizations such as FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, Google Code-in, JROTC, HOSA - Future Health Professionals, 4-H, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Mu Alpha Theta, and SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers).

How are students chosen for the Top 100? We utilize a unique algorithm which accounts for over 30 different factors from each student’s profile. This process quantifies and synthesizes the profile information and creates a star rating for each individual student. Students considered for the Top 100 are then contacted and verified to ensure accuracy and integrity of the information added to their STEM Premier profile.

While we are proud to announce this year’s Top 100, we would also like to recognize every single one of the nearly quarter-million students on STEM Premier’s platform who are pursuing their educational and professional dreams. We wish all the best of luck as you shoot for the stars!

Click here to view the 2017 STEM Premier Top 100


STEM Premier Spotlight: Tennessee

Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 2,000+
  • Top College Interests: University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Technological University
  • Top Intended Majors: Pre-Medicine, Nursing, Mechanical Engineering

Having added 500 new student profiles in the past two months, Tennessee’s STEM Premier footprint is growing at a rapid pace. Among Tennessee’s more than two thousand STEM Premier students are 189 National Honor Society members and 107 HOSA members.

The state’s largest concentrations of STEM Premier students are located in Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Johnson City. The top occupational interests of Tennessee’s students include surgery, nursing, pediatrics, and mechanical engineering.

In recent years, the state has been directing resources to enhancing the state of STEM within its borders, establishing the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network - a “kindergarten to jobs” educational program - in 2010. Tennessee’s Department of Education also is a strong proponent of Project Lead the Way, and encourages Work Based Learning (WBL) as a proactive approaching to closing the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee. The state predicts that STEM talent will be needed in critical areas in order to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, cleaning up existing hazards, and preventing future issues. Public health will also be an area of STEM need.

STEM Premier Visits HOSA International Leadership Conference

Lately, we’ve been taking STEM Premier on the road to show off what it can do for students and organizations. Our latest trip took us to Nashville, Tennessee - The Music City - to attend the HOSA International Leadership Conference.

We’re a proud partner of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), and so it was a treat getting to attend their International Conference, which is the premier event of their year for HOSA members.  During our time there, we exhibited and presented to HOSA members and advisors from all over the country. We also unveiled our newest STEM Premier badge, the official HOSA Member Digital Badge, which is now available to all HOSA members on our platform.

The Conference also commemorated HOSA’s 40th Anniversary, marking forty years of enhancing the healthcare profession and delivering quality healthcare to all people.

As a fitting tribute to forty years of amazing work, two inspirational keynote speakers highlighted the conference: Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy. U.S. Surgeon General, and Brad Montague, award-winning writer, director, and creator of Kid President.

One of our biggest takeaways - and surprises - at the conference was the notable presence of the U.S. Army. Who knew that they had so many healthcare-related opportunities!

We look forward to our continuing partnership with HOSA and to attending future conferences.

HOSA members, be sure to create your STEM Premier account and request your official HOSA Member Digital Badge!