Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD officially opened the I Wish STEM showcase at the RDS today which aims to encourage more young girls in Ireland to choose courses and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
More than 5,000 female transition year students from 22 counties across Ireland will experience what a career in STEM looks like through talks by inspirational female role models working in STEM, an extensive industry showcase and a STEM entrepreneur zone. This year I Wish also introduced a Teacher zone to support teachers with information and practical advice in relation to the STEM sector. The I Wish events are supported by Science Foundation Ireland, with headline sponsor Dell EMC and VMware and conference sponsor Arup Ireland.
Speaking at the opening Minister Bruton said, “Choosing subjects and courses can be challenging for students, and events like I Wish can really help to explain the opportunities that STEM can offer and showcase the possibilities of a career in the STEM sectors. I’m keen to promote the uptake of STEM subjects during my time as Minister, especially among women and I am delighted to be here to officially open I Wish which will see more than 3,000 students experience STEM over 2 days here at the RDS Dublin.”
Already 2,000 female students attended the free I Wish STEM Showcase events in Cork over 2 days, and now the I Wish events in Dublin will welcome a further 3,000 students over the next 2 days. Speakers include Ciara Judge, Brenda Romero, Aisling Keegan of Dell EMC, INSIGHT’s Barry O’Sullivan, Anne O’Leary of Vodafone, Dr Geogina Gaughan from Google, Maeve McArdle from Twitter, Edith Blennerhassett from Arup and many more.
“In order for Ireland to continue to complete on a global stage, we need to equip our young people with STEM skills. Female students need more support and encouragement into STEM for a variety of reasons, including lack of information on STEM careers, unconscious bias and stereotyping, as well as lack of confidence in maths, science and computer science subjects. To address this, I Wish provides real engagement with the STEM sector; students hear from leading female executives working in engineering, life sciences and tech companies as well as seeing up close and personal the type of work that is being done by these companies. We also have introduced a new Teach It zone this year so that teachers also have the support they need when providing advice and information to students in relation to STEM courses and careers,” said Ruth Buckley, co-founder of I Wish.
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland commented: “Careers in STEM open up a world of discovery, creativity, imagination andexploration, and the IWish initiative is bringing girls to the forefront of these opportunities. Science Foundation Ireland has long been a supporter of IWish and we are happy to be behind them again this year as the events grow from strength to strength. Aligned with our Smart Futures programme, which provides secondary school students in Ireland with access to information on STEM careers, IWish recognises the importance of inspiring and encouraging girls of all ages to engage with STEM. From inspiring speakers to fascinating demonstrations, iWish brings everything you need to know about STEM careers for women to your fingertips. I encourage every young woman to come along and see if you might be the world’s next great innovator.”
Aisling Keegan, Vice-President and General Manager Dell EMC Commercial Ireland said, “Dell EMC is committed to highlighting and supporting gender diversity in the workplace and specifically in the technology sector. We believe that I Wish has taken a fresh approach to addressing this challenge in facilitating industry leaders, together with local government and higher education institutes and colleges, to have direct engagement with young women who are just This will have a real and meaningful impact on the decisions they make. We are delighted to sponsor I Wish and showcase STEM to over 5000 girls at the I Wish events in Cork and Dublin.
Photography by Shane O’Neill