Friday 9 December 2016

My Story: Sisters doing it for themselves

Helen and Anna McEvoy DIT

Helen and Anna McEvoy

Published 06/01/2016 | 16:00

Helen and Anna McEvoy at DIT Bolton Street
Helen and Anna McEvoy at DIT Bolton Street

When Helen McEvoy (20) was filling out her CAO, she said she "had no idea what I wanted to do in college."

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Art was her favourite subject at school, Our Lady's College Greenhills, Drogheda, Co Louth and one of her teachers recommended the industrial design course at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), but Helen felt she wasn't creative enough for an art college.

"The BSc in Product Design in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) was the next best thing for me," she said.

"I wanted to keep my options open, and now when I come out of college, I can go into the design industry, engineering industry, even marketing or something like that. You can branch off, it's not just one set career."

However, it took a while to adjust after attending an all-girls' school. In a class of 20, Helen is one of four girls, and she hadn't been able to study engineering or technical graphics for the Leaving Cert. Although she initially struggled to catch up with the boys in her class who had that background, she now loves her course, particularly the more hands-on work. At the moment, she is part of a team building a delivery device for asthma sufferers using wearable technology.

This month, she will jet off to Hong Kong for a semester studying abroad, and her younger sister Anna (19), also a student at DIT, will be taking up her room in Dublin.

After a last-minute change to her CAO form the night before the deadline, Anna was offered her first choice of engineering, and is now in her first year.

"I was very indecisive, but I wanted something that had a maths element to it and a little bit of art and design. I really like the course, it's kind of challenging, but that's why I picked it - something that would challenge me but that I would still enjoy."

Anna loves the practical side of her course, and her favourite class is design projects, where she works on designs for bridges and space modules.

Last year, she won an Intel Women in Technology scholarship, which aims to encourage a new generation of high-achieving women to take up the challenge of a career in technology. The scholarships, which are open to females beginning a relevant third level qualification, include an annual financial award, placement opportunities at Intel and the provision of a mentor.

Meadhbh McGrath

Irish Independent

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