UCD Showcases Ten Role Models to Encourage More Young Girls to Study pSTEM Subjects
UCD, with RAISE member Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, has partnered with ten role models to create a series of videos to encourage more girls to consider a career in pSTEM. The video series, entitled “Role Models in pSTEM: You Can Be What You Can See”, showcases ten female role models from across Ireland who have studied physics, maths, engineering, or computer science. The videos were premiered today on site at UCD with their target audience of 2nd year post-primary students. The role models were also in attendance to meet and chat with the students.
The selection of videos features women from all walks of life who studied a degree in pSTEM that led them to working in a wide range of different industries from Kyla Adanza, a software development engineer at Amazon Web Services and Sharon McManus, an engineer officer of Commandant rank in the Irish Defence Forces, to Dr Sandra Collins, former Director of the National Library of Ireland, and Sharon Sweeney, an Environmental Science graduate who is now a fashion designer with an ethical and sustainable focus. Other role models are Dr Lána Salmon who recently completed a PhD in Astrophysics at the UCD Space Science Group, Dr Cathy Fleming, a Senior Physicist in St. Luke’s Hospital, Anu Bode-Favors, a final year Computer Science with Data Science student at UCD, Emily Clarke, a 4th year electrical apprentice with the ESB, Dr Sarah Markham, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Limerick and Riana Roche, an Associate Software Engineer at Mastercard.
The project is led by UCD’s School of Mathematics and Statistics and School of Computer Science, funded by the HEA and Institute of Physics, and the videos are accompanied by an educational resource for teachers which can be used in schools across Ireland to encourage students to identify their own local role models, while highlighting the varied and exciting career opportunities open to young women in pSTEM. Leading the project are Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Dr Catherine Mooney, Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at UCD.
Discussing the project, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin said:
“We are delighted to have the platform up and running with all the videos and educational tools available to young women, teachers and parents. For young women to pursue a career in pSTEM, they must believe in their ability to succeed and in the positive impact their work might have on the world around them. With these videos, we want to connect them with positive role models in the subjects of physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering. It is clear to see the amount of career opportunities a degree in pSTEM can open up to you, from working on the x-ray machines in a hospital to being an electrician, or from collating data at the National Library to programming secure software for your online purchases. We wanted to let girls know that they don’t have to be a ‘straight A’ student to excel in pSTEM. These videos aim to encourage the next generation of pSTEM by sharing the stories of women from a range of different backgrounds, the challenges and successes they experienced, and the impact of stereotypes or societal messages about pSTEM on their careers.”
Co-lead on the project Dr Catherine Mooney said:
“One of the main things we found in our research is the importance of diversity in pSTEM. It’s so important that the people making the technology we use are a reflection of all those who use that technology, and we can only achieve that through diversity. There is also huge potential for social good within the tech industry right now when it comes to issues such as personalised medicine and climate change so it’s a really exciting time to consider a career in pSTEM”.
The “Role Models in pSTEM: You Can Be What You Can See” project is led by UCD and funded by the Higher Education Authority and the Institute of Physics. You can see the full suite of videos here: https://www.ucd.ie/mathstat/rolemodelsinpstem/
*pSTEM represents the subjects of physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering
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