Irish-American scientist Returns to her Roots and Inspires Locals

2016-05-24 Dr Mary Guinan-8417Local development company Atlantic Corridor in collaboration with the ‘United States Embassy Creative Minds Series’ was pleased to welcome a most inspirational speaker and author, Dr. Mary Guinan to the region earlier this week.

During her time in the Midlands, Dr. Guinan addressed a number of secondary schools students in Westmeath and Offaly, telling stories about her barrier-crossing career in science and worked to encourage more young people to consider science as a future course of study and work. Mary Guinan, PhD, MD, was the founding dean of the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is now professor emerita. She was the first woman to serve as the chief scientific advisor to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has roots in Co. Offaly and was proud to be taking part in a series of public events in schools and other venues to promote science and technology education in the region. This was all carried out through her association with the Midlands Science Diaspora, a network that is being developed by Atlantic Corridor.

Dr.Guinan commented,

‘A key focus of Atlantic Corridor’s work is placed upon deepening relationships with diaspora members with a background in science, engineering or a related industry discipline so I was delighted to come to the Midlands this week to share some of my own experiences and background with people here of all ages. There are many Irish and Irish American people who have made a significant contribution to science abroad but future success will be achieved through collaborations, sharing of knowledge and working together. The Midlands science diaspora project provides a platform for like-minded people to connect and hopefully create mutually beneficial opportunities, particularly those with a STEM related focus and I was delighted to be a part of that this week in Offaly and Westmeath.’

In addition to school visits and meetings with like-minded public health and science professionals, a special public interview was held in the Tullamore Court Hotel where Dr. Guinan talked about her fascinating career in science, her brand new book, ‘Adventures of a Female Medical Detective’ and this was followed by discussion, debate and learnings. A visit to Integra LifeSciences was also arranged as part of the visit. Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology, is dedicated to limiting uncertainty for surgeons, so they can concentrate on providing the best patient care. Integra offers innovative solutions in orthopaedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, and reconstructive and general surgery. The Tullamore facility opened its doors in December 2006 and has grown from 5 employees to over 105 employees in its 10 successful years of operations.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Atlantic Corridor said,

‘We have enjoyed a very successful week-long programme of events with Mary Guinan and feel it has been really beneficial, particularly towards our quest to encourage and excite more young people about the wide range of career choices science can offer. We would like to thank everyone for supporting the various events that we provided during the week and we look forward to connecting with many other members of the global Irish who may be able to make that valuable educational difference here in the Midlands in the future.’

Public interview with Dr Mary Guinan, May 24th

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In her career in public health, Dr Mary Guinan was at the forefront of the eradication of small pox. Today, smallpox is the only disease that mankind has eliminated from nature and it is a disease that killed at least 2 million people per year until its eradication. During her barrier-crossing career, Dr. Guinan met arms-seeking Afghan insurgents in Pakistan and got caught in the cross fire between religious groups in Lebanon. She treated some of the first AIDS patients and served as an expert witness in defence of a pharmacist who was denied employment for having HIV—leading to a landmark decision that still protects HIV patients from workplace
discrimination.

Since the emergence of HIV, almost 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million people have died. Randy Shilts’s best-selling book on the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On, features her AIDS work.

Mary Guinan, PhD, MD, was the founding dean of the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is now professor emerita. She was the first woman to serve as the chief scientific advisor to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has roots in Co. Offaly and is proud to be taking part in a series of public events in schools and other venues to promote science and technology education in the midlands region, through her association with the Midlands Science Diaspora, a network that is being developed by Atlantic Corridor.

If you wish to attend a public interview wuith Dr Guinan please contact jgorman@atlanticcorridor.ie for details.

Excitement is Building!

_DSC0117It is still early days but we wanted to share some exciting news! Much to our delight, we have confirmed that some of our favourite events such as Exploration Dome, the Junior Einsteins Science Club, Reptile Zoo Village, Rediscovery Centre and Marine Dimensions are all coming back to the region for this year’s Midlands Science Festival.

There will be lots more booking and allocating of events taking place over the coming weeks so if you are a school that would like to host a science event this year, feel free to get in touch and we will do our very best to help!

Science for Everyone!

SM science 2There may still be six months to go but as usual, we are already steeped high in ideas and exploration for this year’s Midlands Science Festival and as always, we want to makes sure that this one is even bigger, better and most importantly more fun than ever!

We’ll be serving up a whole range of exciting activities and events for all ages so please keep an eye on our blog features and events page for updates and news which will be coming your way very soon.

As in the past, this year’s festival will provide something for everyone and we are very keen to shout our message from the rooftops; Science is not just for scientists! In particular, we want to ensure that we are really focusing on younger audiences again as our research demonstrates and experts tell us that the earlier we can get into classrooms to start promoting science, the better. In fact, this is a good time to start thinking about whether you have had a science event in your school before and if you would like one this year; if so please get in touch by clicking on our ‘Contact’ page. Of course, you can always run your own school science event or even explore the joys of science at home by doing simple experiments and by remembering that even when you wash your hands to get rid of the germs, that’s science!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported and attended our science festival events over the past few years as together we are spreading the science story across the Midlands and beyond. We are working hand in hand with some of the most amazing speakers and performers to communicate the key message that science is all around us in everyday life and is a fantastic career option for young people to consider. Every year we set out to show people from four years old upwards that science can be fun, inspiring and eye opening as well as educational and necessary.

Director of the Midlands Science Festival, Jackie Gorman said,

“We are so grateful to all of our sponsors, partners, teachers, speakers and the community for their support. Without the enthusiasm of schools and the hard work and creativity of our performers and event providers, our festival would not be possible. Last year, more than 4500 visitors participated in all events and this year we are hoping to see even more people so please mark your diaries – Science Week takes place across the country from November 13th -20th and we look forward to celebrating with you all at this action packed annual event.”