Science is not something abstract!

We are really excited about welcoming Dr. Patricia Heavy to Tullamore College tomorrow for her talk during Healthy Living Week. Patricia is Course Co-ordinator for the Bsc Health Science and Nutrition at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and she will be talking to students about science courses, nutrition, wellbeing and potential career choices.

 

What inspired you towards a science related career?

When I was in secondary school many of the subjects I studied looked at how food and a person’s diet can have a huge effect on health and disease. I thought this was fascinating so I applied to do a nutrition degree in the University of Ulster. This was a brilliant way to explore how nutrition influences all aspects of our lives. Studying nutrition involves understanding the factors that influence the food we eat, what nutrients that food contains, what happens to those nutrients in the body and the effect of the diet on health and disease. What we eat and what we choose to eat can affect how our body works, how well we perform, our mental wellbeing as well as being an important part of social interactions. I found it all so interesting and over the years, I have worked in a variety of nutrition roles- research, communication, nutrition advisor and lecturing. I am now working in AIT as a lecturer and course co-ordinator for the Health Science and Nutrition degree. Students on this course gain an understanding of nutrition and health. We are very keen that students can translate that knowledge into practice so on the course students undertake placements as well as getting involved in different nutrition projects and working with the community to promote nutrition and health messages.

What types of jobs can students apply for with a Nutrition qualification?

Students with a nutrition degree can work in a variety of areas. Many students go on to work in health promotion or community nutrition- working to improve nutrition and health knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and health outcomes among individuals, families or small, groups. Some students go on to work in nutrition and health research- investigating the links between diet, food and its impact on health and disease. Another career option is to work in the food industry- there are new products constantly developed and Nutritionists can be part of these teams. For example, many nutritionists have worked with other scientists to develop healthier food options, supplements and nutritional aids for athletes. Communications is another interesting area- many companies and organisations have Nutritionists who will talk to the media and the public about healthy eating as well as developing nutrition education tools such as leaflets, books and websites/blogs. If you are interested in working with patients (people with a specific disease/illness) you can go on and train to become a Dietitian. Students who complete a nutrition degree can go on and do postgraduate training to become a Dietitian- this usually takes a further 18-24 months.

What are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?

I think it is a great opportunity to explore the world around us- it is so important to be curious about why things happen and how they have an effect on us personally and on the environment. Science is all around us- events like the Midlands Science Festival provide students with the opportunity to explore the vastness of science in a fun way.

What else can we be doing to encourage more young people to consider a third level option and career in science?

It is important that young people realise that science is not something abstract but a part of everything we do. I think that helping students to understand this connection will encourage them to consider a career in science. I also think it helps if students are aware that science is so broad – there are so many different careers out there.

Midlands Science and AIT to Participate in Healthy Living Week

Local development company Midlands Science is delighted to be participating in the 2017 Annual Tullamore College Healthy Living Week. Healthy Living Week in Tullamore College focuses on all aspects of health; physical, emotional and mental, with talks, workshops and activities running all week. A series of these talks have been organised in partnership with the region’s third level education provider, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and these talks will cover a range of subjects from health and wellbeing advice to careers and course information across the fields of health and nutrition, sports science, physiotherapy and others.

Kelly Doolan, one of the co-ordinators of Tullamore College Healthy Living Week commented,

‘This is a really important week for students and staff of Tullamore College and it makes a big difference to its success when we provide a different range of events and activities every year. The talks provided by Midlands Science and AIT will offer students not only some very valuable advice on better nutrition and well-being during the busy academic times in their lives but will also provide an insight in to the types of relevant courses of study that are available at AIT and other colleges and universities as students start to think about what line of study they will pursue after secondary school. I’m really grateful to everybody taking part and we are very much looking forward to holding similar events in the future.’

The week is an opportunity for students to focus and build their knowledge around healthy eating, being active and personal wellbeing, as well as to consider making positive changes in health behaviours and attitudes towards what we eat and physical activity.

Jackie Gorman of Midlands Science said,

‘As part of our ongoing work to promote science education across the region, it is important for us to not only roll out a wide range of workshops and events during Science Week itself but to also aim to have ongoing activities that continue to spread the message that science is all around and is a good third level and career choice for so many reasons. Participating in Healthy Living Week gives ourselves and our academic partner, AIT the opportunity to meet a number of students, educate them on the scope of courses available here in the Midlands and also to encourage them to explore the many different career options that may be available them should they choose a science related course in the future.’

Healthy Living Advice for Midlands Students…

As part of an ongoing new collaboration with the region’s third level provider, Athlone Institute of Technology, we are really excited to be participating in this year’s Healthy Living Week at Tullamore College. We caught up with one of our key speakers, Dr. Aoife Lane to find out more….

Aoife, we are delighted to be partnering with AIT this year on our science promotion initiatives and we are really grateful for the career talks that you will be providing to senior Midlands students later this week..Can you tell us a bit about your role at AIT?

I am Head of Department of Sport and Health Science here in AIT. We have approximately 16 staff and 400 students in our Department with an additional 12 students studying at postgraduate level.

What inspired you towards a science related career?

I really enjoyed Science subjects in secondary school, particularly Chemistry and Biology. I was also a big fan of sport so studying Sport Science in UL was an easy choice for me. I have enjoyed learning about how physical activity and exercise promotes health from a physiological and even broader perspective.

What types of exciting jobs have some of your students pursued after courses within Sports Science?

Students are progressing to work in clinical exercise physiology, providing opportunities for exercise to people who may be overweight, have suffered a cardiac event or may be diabetic or even struggling with their mental health. Other graduates have moved into broader science related careers, in nutrition, psychology, human movement and rehabilitation.

What can we do to encourage more young people to consider science courses at third level?

I think seeing is believing in this regard. More exposure for young people to sport and health science, along with enhanced visibility of further study and career options will encourage greater engagement in this field at third level.

What is your favourite science fact?

If you meet physical activity guidelines every day, but sit for prolonged periods, you remain at risk for ill health! Sitting is bad for you!

Making Sense of Maths!

We are delighted to be welcoming Dr. Ciarán Mac an Bhaird from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Maynooth University back to this years Midlands Science Festival to deliver more local secondary schools maths talks!

Student Quotes from Dr. Mac an Bhaird’s talk last year:

“It was really interesting to see how different area of maths are linked.”
“I liked when he showed us that Pythagoras Theorem always works no matter what the numbers are.”
“I found his proofs interesting.”
“I liked the links between all the methods in the talk and the common number at the end”

Its Ploughing time again in the Midlands!

The National Ploughing Championships has made a return to the Midlands for 2017 and we would like to wish everybody involved in the management and running of the event the best of success for another year! It takes place just out the road from us in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly from today September 19th until the 21st. The total attendance figures for the 2016 Championship came to a record breaking 283,000. This marks the most successful National Ploughing Championships in history.

In recent years in particular, we are being made all the more aware of the importance of nature and the significant role it can play when it comes to our health, well-being and functioning. There is no question that getting out into nature gives us a sense of escape from the stresses and strains of day to day life. Doing something as simple as going for a long walk can really help to put things into perspective; to help us learn not to worry so much about the smaller things. Exploring nature is also a way of creating memories that can be cherished forever by children.

Everybody is so busy these days and many of us forget about the importance of play, exploration and family time but there really is a lot to be gained by taking a step back and remembering how important it is for the whole family to unwind and therefore refresh.

There are over 1,700 exhibitors at the event featuring exhibits in Energy, Forestry, Livestock, Machinery, Construction, Agri Business, Auto Arena, House and Home, Food and Beverage, Health and Wellness, Lifestyle and Tourism, Information Technology, Business and Education.

And the good news for children; there are picnic areas, a playground,  a funfair and bandstand entertainment. Why not take advantage of this glorious day and head to the Ploughing Championhsips with your family. There is fun and learning in it for everyone!

Photo: Tracey from one of our most popular events, Junior Einsteins Science Club, visiting the NPC with our own Curious Kim in 2014!

 

 

 

 

Mini Scientist Fun!

Excitement is building as we are getting very close to finalising our programme of events for this years’ festival which takes place in just 8 weeks time!

We are as always making it a priority to ensure we have as many events as possible which target young children as feedback and research has told us that early-childhood education is a perfect time to introduce future generations to the joys of scientific discovery in a fun and interactive way. We really enjoy bringing lots of innovative activities to primary schools and this can include everything from introducing them to reptiles and sea life to opening their minds to experiments, explosions and easy to understand demonstrations. It is our hope that this will help ensure we have a rich population of STEM enthusiasts here in this region for the future economy.

Keep an eye out for lots of new workshops and activities we have planned for the mini scientists of the Midlands coming very soon!

Looking back on 2016!

We are now busy preparing for our fifth annual Midlands Science Festival but we just wanted to take a quick look back on some of the key highlights of last year’s event to give you an idea of how people were inspired by science in a variety of different ways!

One of the things that we always tend to discover through feedback is that people love being able to speak to scientists and to meet people who have a similar mindset to them so this is something that we try to ensure happens every year by bringing in scientists such as Dr. Craig Slattery of University College Dublin, career advisors like Anne Scally from Pro-Activ Management and experts in particular fields such as ornithologist Ricky Whelan from BirdWatch Ireland.

We also seek to engage a number of postgraduate research students to come and speak at our festival each year as it’s a great opportunity for them to hone their communication skills and have the chance to let people know what area of science they are involved in, to explain their work and of course to talk about why they’re doing it. With this in mind we had talks about nutrition from Food Health Ireland, engineering insights from Intel, maths workshops from NUI, Maynooth, technology lessons from iConnect and lots more!

Younger audiences were entertained and informed by our friends from the Exploration Dome, the Reptile Zoo Village, Anyone for Science, GSI, Sustainable Energy Ireland, Go Fly Your Kite and a number of other fun and exciting performers last year.

We cant wait to fill you in on what’s being planned for this year so keep an eye out for more news soon!