Lisa Stites C’21, G’23 Named a New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholar

“When I took my first statistics course at Drew my first year, I realized that I had finally found a math that made sense to me…that was the start of my STEM journey.”

May 2022 – Drew University’s Lisa Stites C’21, G’23 recently took part in the 2022 New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholars program as one of the 100 students selected across the state.

Stites, a business major and statistics minor as an undergrad, is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Data Analytics at the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

As a Governor’s STEM Scholar, Stites was introduced to the state’s STEM economies, learned about potential career pathways, gained professional developmental skills, and participated in a team research project.

Stites’ research proposal was based largely on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and skills learned with Lisa Jordan, associate teaching professor of biology, environmental science and sustainability, and public health, and, throughout the program, she relied on Ellie Small, Norma Gilbert junior assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, who helped prepare Stites’ team’s data.

“I learned many new skills from the STEM Scholar experience that will help me throughout my career, including networking, teamwork, team management, how to delegate tasks, and how to follow a flexible workflow to overcome challenges and obstacles,” she said. “It was a great experience to design a research project, solidify the project and its goals with an assistant team lead, and mentor a group of high school students through the implementation of the project.”

For Stites, the nine-month program was the latest step along a transformative path since first coming to Drew as an undergraduate.

“The younger version of myself never would have imagined one day being named a STEM Scholar or even being involved with anything related to STEM,” she said. “However, when I took my first statistics course at Drew my first year, I realized that I had finally found a math that made sense to me. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, that was the start of my STEM journey.”

That journey included starting her time at Drew as an undecided major, becoming a business major in her sophomore year, adding a statistics minor as a junior, and deciding to pursue her masters in data analytics after her senior year.

“I am very thankful for the statistics courses I took because they not only helped me find my passion, they also prepared me to succeed in the graduate courses I have taken,” she said. “If it weren’t for Drew’s explorative environment where you are encouraged to take classes outside of your primary area of study, I don’t know that I would be pursuing a Master of Science in Data Analytics.”

This summer, Stites will be a project analyst intern at Dun & Bradstreet, a business data and analytics company, and hopes to become a geospatial data scientist, using her familiarity with GIS and her data science skill set.

See Stites’ Governor’s STEM Scholars bio here.

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