Inspirational Careers Advice for Science Week

The Midlands Science Festival has been hosted a large number of science and technology career talks throughout the week in partnership with a number of companies such as Accenture, Arup, Energia, IMR and 3M with topics ranging environmental science to science jobs of the future, toxicology and climate change.

We would like to thank all of the  speakers who came to the region (virtually this year) to deliver these high value presentations to students. It is fantastic to see how science can be brought to life when someone new and inspiring comes into the classroom and tells a science story from a different perspective.

We were delighted to see hands up after every talk and lots of questions. Thanks again to all who participated and to the regional schools for hosting.
#believinscience

Innovate and Inspire with Science and Technology Role Models

What does it mean to pursue a career in science or engineering?  What job opportunities are available to those with degrees in these fields? What skills do you need to have a career in science or to become an engineer? As part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival, which takes place across the region this November as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s national Science Week, a series of careers talks will take place virtually in local schools to hopefully answer some of these questions. The theme for Science Week 2021 is Creating Our Future, directly supporting the national research conversation. ‘Creating Our Future’ is a conversation between the people of Ireland, to gather your ideas on what problems you’d like research and innovation to deal with, to create a better future for all.

Volunteers for this careers initiative are from life sciences organisations, engineering and technology companies, as well as from academia. A number of role models with science or technology backgrounds will deliver career talks to secondary students online to demonstrate why a career in science is a good choice. Some of the speakers are past pupils of the schools they will virtually attend during Science Week 2021. Midlands Science is also pleased to once again partner with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) to pre-record a unique STEM careers event called Innovate and Inspire with STEM. This event will be available for secondary school registration and will include interviews with STEM professionals and a Questions and Answer session also.

Isabel Meza Silva, from Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) said,

‘Many challenges still exist when trying to attract young people into science and technology roles so IMR is delighted to be a part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival and we look forward to talking to as many students as possible to spread the message that there are so many potential opportunities in the worlds of science, technology and engineering. As part of Science Week 2021, we are pre-recording a STEM careers event which will feature a relaxed interview with three young people working in the following roles; a female product engineer, a female software engineer and a male Virtual reality specialist. Join us for this thought-provoking discussion and find out how advances in technology are changing the world around us and gain insight into how different people can have their own individual routes to STEM which might not always take a traditional path.’

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science CEO said,

“ We know from talking to the students we visit every year that they want to see how their learning connects to the world after school so we are really grateful to all of the companies participating in this year’s festival. Their input is vital in helping us in our goal to inspire and empower the next generation of creative young minds to consider a career in STEM. More needs to be done to ensure that STEM is being promoted as a viable career path for everyone so we are also delighted to collaborate with IMR to host this special virtual careers event and look forward to showing students how exciting and dynamic STEM can be.

We have a wide variety of career talks this year; some will be pitched at students from Transition Year upwards and some will be delivered to younger students who haven’t yet made specific future subject choices.  It is so important that we provide speakers who can talk to young people about their own experiences and also about the wide variety of careers on offer. In the past we have had zoologists and botanists, science marketing managers and toxicology experts! This year we also have a wide variety of STEM roles up for discussion from environmental and software engineers to life sciences consultancy and STEM recruitment.”

 

 

Offaly Past Pupils to Deliver Inspiring Career talks

As part of Science Week 2021, Midlands Science is delighted to be teaming up with Arup; an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, project managers, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment. This year’s Science Week, which is managed by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Discover Programme, will take place from 7-14 November and is focused on Creating Our Future, the national conversation on research in Ireland. As part of the Midlands programme, Debbie Flynn (Environmental Consultant) and Una O’Grady (Senior Civil Engineer) will deliver virtual presentations to schools in Offaly.

Ahead of the virtual event, Debbie Flynn of Arup commented,

‘Arup is delighted to partake in this year’s Science Week by virtually visiting a number of local Midlands schools. We hope that sharing our stories about how we chose our career paths and the variety of projects we work on every day will shed some light on what it means to work in STEM. It is an honour to partner with Midlands Science and hopefully inspire the students to follow their interests and choose careers where they can make a difference.’

Debbie, who is originally from Kilcormac in Co. Offaly, will share how her degree in Environmental Science has enabled her to work in a role where she assesses and advises on environmental impacts, develops environmental management plans and scopes planning and permitting requirements for engineering projects around Ireland. She will share the key pieces of advice she has for the students as they begin making decisions about third level education.

Una, hailing from Birr in Co. Offaly, will tell the students about her career delivering energy and sustainability projects in Ireland and abroad. As a member of Arup’s Energy team, she is currently working on projects to transition the energy sector to lower carbon emissions and help meet climate change targets. She is looking forward to telling the students about the myriad of opportunities STEM careers provide to contribute to solving the challenges faced in today’s world.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman said, ‘We are really looking forward to virtually visiting schools across the Midlands during Science Week to give students the opportunity to learn more about the latest in science careers and to talk to them about the world of opportunities associated with it as a sector. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Arup and our many other corporate speakers who will be giving their time to help us celebrate and showcase all things science.’

The Degree is only a part of the wider picture!

With Science Week only weeks away, we have been catching up with some of the people who will be delivering inspirational STEM career talks to students all around the Midlands this November, including Charlotte Weever, Life Sciences Consultant with Accenture…We spoke to Charlotte about her own career so far and what she would advise young people who are currently considering their career options….

What inspired you to pursue a college course in STEM.

There was no one thing that inspired me to pursue a STEM degree in university. I have always been very passionate about art and design actually (definitely one of my best subjects!). Reflecting back to when I was little, one of my main personality traits was insatiable curiosity about how things worked and why. As I continued through secondary school, I realised that maths and sciences held a lot of very interesting topics to explore and helped answer a lot of questions I had about how the world works. That hunger to learn more plus my interest in art and design led me to pursue engineering. After all, the word ‘engineer’ has roots in the Latin word for ‘to create’- the perfect route for a wannabe curious designer!

Was there a good focus on STEM in your school?

My schools offered the science subjects and even a class in applied maths. My focus was on physics and applied maths primarily, but I spent a lot of time on the internet watching tutorials and other educational videos diving deeper into the concepts we learnt in class. I would encourage anyone who feels like they aren’t satisfied with just their in-person classes to jump online and take a look at all the amazing resources available to students to learn more about STEM – especially if you have an interest in programming.

What led you specifically into Life Sciences consulting?

Ireland boasts a wonderfully strong Life Sciences industry with over 50,000 people directly employed within the industry and six of the top seven diagnostic companies in the world hosting their operations on our shores. I joined consulting out of university because I wanted to focus on sharpening my people skills. It was just by chance I was placed in their Life Sciences division and I have never looked back. I am very lucky to have a job where I can learn something new every day and utilise some of the knowledge around manufacturing I picked up during my course. The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an exciting new era for life sciences, where markets demands have changed, and products are only becoming more complex. We won’t be short on interesting problems to solve for a long time to come!

What was the most interesting aspect of your third level studies?

The most interesting aspect of my third level studies was discovering brand new subject matters I had no experience with (I’m looking at you fluid mechanics and 3D printing!) and also the opportunity to study abroad in another university or institution. I took every opportunity I could to travel abroad and experience something new through internships or other student programmes. It was an excellent way to make new friends all over the world as well as study in my field of interest. I’d highly recommend that any incoming university student look out for these opportunities and take them!

 

What does the future hold for you career wise in a perfect world post pandemic?

I try not to worry about having a concrete career plan these days. I used to think, while finishing up my studies, that I had to follow a purely technical STEM career because that’s what I studied. I could not have been more wrong. I am enjoying my time in Life Sciences consulting at the moment. I’m discovering that I love working with people from a range of STEM and non-STEM backgrounds as the collaborations are much more creative and engaging. Going forward I will be looking for opportunities that allow to me collaborate like this without hyper focus on only technical activities.

What advice would you give to a young person still at school who is considering a future in science or engineering?

My advice for a young person considering their future in science or engineering is to understand that the degree is only a part of the wider picture. What I mean is that as a developing person coming out of secondary level education, it is easy to assume that all you need to do is get a degree in STEM and that will be enough on your CV to land you a great job. This is not correct. Employers and academic institutions these days want to see that their potential candidates had a balanced experience in university, enjoyed sports or other extracurricular activities, like joining a society. This demonstrates that you understood you are not just represented by a final grade on your exams but you are an individual that will thrive in any environment and will be up for all challenges you face.

STEM Career Focus! Science can take you places!

Choose your Future is the theme for Science Week 2020 and today for the Midlands Science Festival we have a number of career talks taking place in Midlands schools with topics ranging from Technology and innovation to Nanotechnology and Girls in STEM.
We would like to thank our speakers from Intel, Accenture and Trinity College Dublin who are virtually delivering these high value presentations to students. It is fantastic to see how science and technology can be brought to life when someone new and inspiring comes into the classroom or onto the screen and tells a science story from a different perspective.
Lucy Prendeville, our speaker from Trinity College Dublin said,
‘Science can take you places. I would highly recommend studying a science-related course at university level to any student that enjoys Biology, Physics or Chemistry in Secondary School. There are so many options out there and many general science courses where students can really discover what areas they are most interested in. Of course, studying science at university will require long hours in the library and a lot of dedication! But it’s such an exciting career path that can take you anywhere.’
Thanks again to all of those participating and to the regional schools in Laois, Offaly and Westmeath for hosting.

Engineer’s Week celebrations in the Midlands

Engineers Week is a week-long festival of nationwide activities celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland and events kicked off on February 29th in a number of schools, libraries and other venues around the country.  The annual event is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme – funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and TII.

Midlands Science was delighted to host a range of activities across the region this week to celebrate engineering as a profession and to demonstrate to students of all ages just how much engineering is all around us in so much of what we do in everyday life. Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience is a fun, educational exploration kitted out to allow participants to explore the world and history of quantum physics.  It takes place in a specially designed caravan which rolled into Athlone as part of the annual Engineer’s Week celebrations. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Institute of Physics this takes a gaming approach to learning so each choice that people make determines what will happen next. We had a great day at the Aidan Heavy Library in Athlone with Dr. Mindflip and look forward to seeing this event back in the Midlands again soon.

In advance of Engineers Week, Midlands also teamed up with a range of local and national partners recently to host a special week of career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks from companies such as ORS, Robotics and Drives, Shay Murtagh, Waterways Ireland, Steripack, and Cpl resources. A number of transition year students from Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar participated in the week to ‘Experience Engineering’ which also focused on other various key learning aspects such as, CV preparation, interview skills and internship opportunities.

Gillian Murtagh of Shay Murtagh Precast Concrete commented,

‘Shay Murtagh was delighted to recently team up with Midlands Science to help inspire local students and enable them to make that all-important connection between in-class learning and real-world engineering careers. We are passionate about our role of encouraging the workforce of the future and while we are all seeing plenty of new job opportunities and career paths for graduates within the engineering profession, the skills shortages continue. Therefore, we must all work together to build awareness and of the industry and showcase to students the vast diversity of both science and engineering fields in a practical and easy to understand manner and events such as this provide the ideal opportunity to do so here in our own region.’

For something a little bit different this year, Midlands Science arranged for engineering films to be shown in secondary schools across the region. Students had the chance to watch inspiring productions such as ‘Dream Big’ which uses a series of surprising human stories to expose the hidden world behind the most exciting inventions and structures across the world.

The aim of each Engineers Week event is to positively showcase engineering as a rewarding and creative career choice to children in all communities. In 2019, there were over 850 activities organised in the community. Midlands Science also presented a hands-on, interactive workshop for a number of students in association with Edenderry Library in Co. Offaly. This workshop gave students from St. Mary’s Secondary School and Oaklands Community College in Edenderry a chance to explore the worlds of electricity, magnetism and semiconductor devices (the building blocks of computers) in a hands-on and relaxed environment. The workshops were delivered by Dr. Dan Nickström from Maynooth University Dept. of Experimental Physics and we are looking forward to lots more fun and engaging events with Dan in the weeks ahead.

#EngineersWeek

@engineerireland

#STEPS

 

 

 

Mullingar Students ‘Experience Engineering’ with Midlands Science

Midlands Science teamed up with a range of local and national partners recently to host a special week of career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks from companies such as ORS, Robotics and Drives, Shay Murtagh, Waterways Ireland, Steripack, and Cpl resources. A number of transition year students from Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar participated in the week Experience Engineering which also focused on other various key learning aspects such as, CV preparation, interview skills and internship opportunities.

A primary objective for Midlands Science is the development and implementation of awareness-raising initiatives designed to increase science capital in the region. For this to succeed, there needs to be a more joined-up approach within the many sectors of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This includes the sharing of expertise, participation in out-of-school science learning contexts, for example how often a young person participates in informal science learning contexts and continuing to highlight the message that STEM subjects are relevant for everyone. With this in mind, participants were briefed and given the opportunity to work  as part of a project team which involved planning ideas and looking at the diversity of the field and the types of engineers that would be needed for specific engineering projects.

John Brennan, Managing Director of ORS in Mullingar commented,

“Engineers and surveyors are in increasing demand in Ireland and a supply of talented graduates from both professions is fundamental for our social and economic future. ORS was delighted to support and participate in this innovative initiative to increase knowledge and understanding of the world of engineering and surveying and encourage more of our future generation to consider them as potential third level and career choices. By setting the students a hands-on challenge we hopefully encouraged them to really think about how vast engineering and surveying can be, to get creative and have fun while at the same time learn about how to find solutions to the many urban and environmental challenges that we face in society today.’

Science and engineering fields play an ever-increasing role in Ireland’s future within the global economy. Continued focus on education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will open doors to today’s students in jobs they might not yet have even heard of. Change is happening all around us at an alarming pace in workplaces, the economy and our everyday and most of this change is driven by developments in STEM.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said, ‘Through specially designed programmes like ‘Experience Engineering’  we are aiming to ensure that as many young people as possible understand the economic, cultural and environmental impact that engineering can have. We are most grateful to all of our partners who helped to make this programme so worthwhile and with their assistance and support, we hope to be in a position to continue to provide opportunities like this to more students around the region into the future focusing on other sectors. Pauline Nally, Business Development Executive with Midlands Science played a key role in the development of this pilot, based on feedback from students that they faced significant difficulties accessing STEM based work experiences which would help them to decide on college courses and careers for the future.’

Visit to Local Medical Device Company for Science Week

Midlands Science was delighted to team up with local company Europharma Concepts Ltd (EPC) during this year’s Science Week to demonstrate to a number of Midlands students what it is like to work in a medical device company. A group of pupils from Ardscoil Chiarain Naofa visited the plant last week to learn all about the inner workings of a company like this and to explore a range of science related careers.

Declan Lenahan of EuroPharma Concepts said,

‘Europharma Concepts was delighted to join forces with local development company Midlands Science and the Midlands Science festival team for Science Week 2019. It is important for Europharma Concepts as an employer to provide the local student population with encouraging experiences of real-world science and we were delighted to host a number of young people from Ardscoil Chiarain Naofa for a plant tour here in Clara last week. Allowing them to see the internal workings of our company is an ideal way to explain the diverse range of science and technology jobs out there. The aim is to generate an increased interest in science fields and work towards inspiring the next generation of scientists in the Midlands and beyond.’

Founded in 2007 as the only oral healthcare manufacture in Ireland, Europharma Concepts Ltd (EPC) has growing from strength to strength and has become an industry leader in the development and manufacturing of Oral Care, Cosmetics and liquid filled Medical Device products.

The Midlands Science Festival which took place across the region last week celebrates science with original programming that includes lively debates and lectures, film productions, hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations for people of all ages.

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science CEO said,

‘One of the main objectives of this week-long event is to demonstrate the many exciting career opportunities available within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths disciplines. There is a real urgency in society today to ensure that young people are getting the best type of careers advice possible and by taking it beyond just the classroom and into real working environments, we hope we are going in the right direction. We need to increase interest in these fields and work towards inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The festival team places a strong emphasis on mentoring from role models and champions from those in the science education and corporate sectors and it is also wonderful to have opportunities such as site visits to pharmaceutical or medical technology companies during Science Week in order to reach as many students as possible and to encourage them to consider these all-important fields and the related course options.’

Jazz Pharma Career Talks…

We were delighted to welcome Sean and Denis from Athlone based  company, Jazz Pharma to meet a group of senior cycle students in Tullamore today for a talk all around pharma careers. Feedback from students has been excellent and they are looking forward to another STEM careers talk already!

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘ We are extremely committed to remaining focused on growing high level industry-education collaboration across the Midlands region in order to inspire the next generation of scientific and digital leaders. There is a real urgency to ensure that young people are getting the best type of careers advice possible and by taking it beyond the classroom into forums where students have the opportunity to hear from experts working in these fields, we hope that we are going in the right direction. The Midlands Science Festival provides plenty of stimulation for those who are undecided about their future career choices and will hopefully help people to make more informed decisions.’

 

 

Teamwork Tuesday!

Barry W. Fitzgerald, BW Science, author of Secret Science of Santa Claus & Secrets of Superhero Science.
photo: Bart van Overbeeke

It really is all go today across the Midlands for Science Week today! We are starting out in Tullamore for a careers talk with Jazz Pharma before heading to the library for our spectacular Foodoppi shows! Then we go across to the students in Tullamore College for some climate change science and we are really excited about that!

There is plenty happening in Laois also with Marty Jopsons ‘Invisible worlds’ show and ‘The Secrets of superhero science’ is also taking place today..Moving down to Longford we have Mary Wards’ World of Wonder;  an inter-active workshop with artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway exploring the life and legacy of Mary Ward, one of Ireland’s first female scientists.  And in Athlone, we ‘Travel to Chernobyl’ for a unique event which will explore the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986.

#stem #believeinscience #science week