Thursday 20 September 2018

Episode 2. Smart Futures - To boldly go: choosing STEM in Ireland

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Sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland

Female students are being urged to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (‘Stem’) subjects in school and at third level by some of Ireland’s most accomplished scientists and technologists.

In a series of special podcasts hosted by Irish Independent technology editor Adrian Weckler in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the range and depth of opportunities are discussed with a range of experts, including Margie McCarthy, head of education and public engagement at Science Foundation Ireland.

Ms McCarthy, an engineer by training, said that there are now many role models for female students in Stem careers.

These include Dr Annie Curtis, pioneering research scientist on the human body clock and winner of the L'Oréal-Unesco Science 2017 Fellowship, and Dr Norah Patten, the Mayo woman who is training to be Ireland’s first astronaut.

The podcast series also has interviews with Dr Curtis and Dr Patten.

The special podcast series comes at a seminal time for science, technology, engineering and maths in Ireland.

Nine of the world’s top ten multinational technology companies maintain major headquarters or bases in Ireland, including Google, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft and Dell.

Many of the world's top selling medicines are made here too, thanks to the majority of global pharmaceutical and biotech firms making Ireland their home.

The experts interviewed in the podcast series advise parents and guardians on a number of different ways that they can help their child consider a Stem-related career.

(i) By going to STEM-related events (such as Science Week shows) you can help to introduce your children to real people that work in these areas and start to change their perceptions.

(ii) Make sure you are comfortable with college websites and other important sites such as Qualifax.ie and the CAO website. Familiarise yourself with all avenues including alternative entry routes into courses, such as PLCs.

(iii) Read all about the diverse career paths open to students with STEM qualifications on SmartFutures.ie which also provides students and parents with valuable insights and examples of STEM role models.

(iv) It is also important to help your child attend college open days so they can gain a better understanding of what each third-level institute offers.

(v) Getting involved with your child’s school work not only helps you identify your child’s development but also gives you an insight into their curriculum.

(vi) Attend science and engineering festivals and events - there are many free activities and clubs all over the country for students to get involved in.

There’s more advice and information for parents, students and teachers available at smartfutures.ie.

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