A Chat with a local Engineer!

To celebrate STEPS Engineer’s Week which takes place nationwide over the next week, we caught up with local Engineer, Brian Daly who works in Integra LifeSciences in Tullamore…

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in Integra LifeSciences?

I am a Mechanical Engineer within the sustaining engineering team at Integra LifeSciences Tullamore, where we support and manufacture surgical medical devices for neurosurgery including tumour removal, neuro monitoring and surgical headlights. The lifesaving products we make in Tullamore are used by Neurosurgeons throughout the world in over 180 different countries.

My role within Integra Lifesciences Tullamore is largely project based, involving collaboration with multiple departments in Tullamore, the U.S. and Europe and spanning a wide range of activities.

  • Introduction of new products and processes.
  • Maintaining existing designs and implementing upgrades.
  • Validations of products and processes.
  • Compliance projects to ensure our devices meet the latest international requirements for safety and efficacy.

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I have always been interested in how things work and during my schooldays preferred subjects which were practical based and required learning of principles rather than volumes of text, Engineering therefore seemed to be an obvious choice.

Where and what exactly did you study at third level?

I completed a degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Athlone Institute of Technology (A.I.T), followed by an honour’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Waterford Institute of Technology (W.I.T). I am also currently enrolled at W.I.T to complete my final year of an MSc in Innovative Technology Engineering.

 Why do you think national events like Engineer’s Week are important?

If you stop and think about any product, from your mobile phone, to medical devices, to the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, at some point in their development process, engineers were required to make them a reality and in order for these fields to make future advances engineering is also required. Initiatives such as Engineers week and STEM play an important role in providing an insight into principles of engineering and the many career paths available, that previously may not have been considered by younger generations.

What are the main qualities you think a person might need if they are thinking of becoming an engineer?

Engineering encompasses such a wide range of disciplines, for example within our engineering team alone we have Production, Electrical, Mechanical, Software, Electronics, Project, Validation and Quality engineers along with many other departments who are all instrumental in achieving our objectives.

As Engineering is so diverse, it is difficult to suggest specific qualities required. I would say that misconceptions related to high levels of maths and other subjects don’t apply to all fields and instead if a person is naturally curious about how things work, enjoys working in teams, problem solving and logical thinking, engineering should be considered as a great career path with unlimited options.

 

Integra LifeSciences partner with Midlands Science for STEPS Engineers Week 2021

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

Midlands Science is delighted to once again have support from Tullamore based medical technology company, Integra LifeSciences in the local, virtual roll out of events for this year’s STEPS Engineers Week. This annual, national event promotes engineering and the importance of the profession to children in Ireland. Last year marked the largest ever celebration of engineering in the community with over 92,000 participants taking part in 980 activities nationwide. The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students in the Republic of Ireland through a portfolio of projects.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“For this year’s STEPS Engineer’s Week, Midlands Science will come together on a digital platform along with a host of sponsors and presenters to present a range of interactive online activities. Our overall aim is to inspire young people of all ages to think about the vibrancy of engineering as a career and to demonstrate what an important role it plays in so many aspects of everyday life. It’s important to provide thought-provoking activities for children and their parents about engineering and technology, despite not being able to physically attend events or give students a behind-the-scenes taste of engineering as we would have done in previous years.’  

 Here in the Midlands, Engineer’s Week usually offers young people and teachers to engage directly with a variety of inclusive and diverse engineering experiences, so that they can make that important connection between school learning and real careers. In past years, Integra Life Sciences has addressed students in person in schools in the Offaly area to demonstrate the breadth of creative and innovative careers on offer and even though we are not in a position to do that this year due to the pandemic, we feel it is vital to continue to engage with the future generation in a fun and meaningful way that explores engineering in its many forms. The digital events being run by Midlands Science with support from Integra LifeSciences for Engineer’s Week is a really effective way to do this.

John O’Donovan, Plant Manager, Integra LifeSciences Tullamore commented,

“Integra LifeSciences is delighted to continue to support Midlands Science. We look forward to supporting the celebration of all things Engineering in the 2021 STEPS Engineers Week. It is going to be a fun filled event that will develop further awareness of the impact of Engineering on all of our lives and hopefully inspire the next generation to see the potential of a career in an Engineering field.”

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘We firmly believe that now more than ever, we need to continue to encourage young people from all backgrounds to consider a career in engineering and to provide them with the knowledge they need to learn about and to progress into the sector. We are delighted to once again celebrate STEPS Engineer’s Week which shines a light on the profession and helps students to make informed decisions about their education and careers.’

For more information on STEPS Engineers Week and to access free resources and activities, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/schools/engineers-week

 

About STEPS

The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach scheme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and has four industry sponsors including ARUP, ESB, Intel and TII.

 

 

 

 Virtual Events to Inspire Future Engineers

Get Ready for STEPS Engineers Week 2021 in the Midlands

Local development company, Midlands Science has unveiled details of a range of activities which will take place online to celebrate national STEPS Engineers Week 2021, which runs from February 27th – Friday March 5th. The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS Engineers Week is Ireland’s largest celebration of engineering in the community with participants taking part in activities nationwide. This year, it will be a virtual event for the first time ever as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but there will still be plenty of inspiring online engineering workshops on offer in the Midlands.

The programme includes a family event exploring space exploration and engineering with Ireland’s best known science communicator Dr Niamh Shaw who even brough a Stargazer Lottie doll with her during her time at DRMARS, a simulated Mars facility! The week also includes workshops building Marble Runs with Christine Campbell from Anyone 4 Science. Marble Runs are a great way to explore engineering and children have lots of run learning that by making your track just steep enough to overcome friction, you can keep your marble rolling for a long time ! The ever-popular Dr Barry Fitzgerald of Superhero Science will be running workshops on how to build an Ironman suit and how to become an engineer. A special episode of the Midlands Science series Science at Home will explore engineering with Dr Dan Nickstrom. Also, workshops with sensors for air quality, temperature and humidity will be taking place in Abbeyleix as part of a Climate Action project that Midlands Science is involved with, supported by Creative Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“STEPS Engineers Week is a very important week in our calendar every year and one which usually involves teaming up with a number of local and national partners to host career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks. It is usually a packed programme of events in schools and other local venues to celebrate engineering as a profession and to demonstrate to students of all ages just how much engineering is all around us in everyday life. We are looking forward to interactive, virtual engineering workshops . This year will no doubt be different, but we have plenty of activities planned for people to access online and we hope that the move to a virtual platform might actually create greater opportunities for participation than ever before.’

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland commented,

“By engaging in the wide variety of engaging events and activities developed by Midlands Science for STEPS Engineers Week 2021, the fascinating world of engineering will be brought to life in homes across Ireland and will provide students with the opportunity to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the engineering sector can offer. I would encourage families and teachers to sign up for Midlands Science activities and take the opportunity to dream, invent and create like professional engineers.”

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘Midlands Science is passionate about encouraging students to make that important connection between what they learn in class and real-world science and engineering roles. We may not be able to take students behind the scenes of some most successful companies this year to see a real-world glimpse of engineering in practise but we will still continue to continue to build awareness of this diverse and exciting industry and show everyone what a rewarding and creative career choice it can be.’

For more information on STEPS Engineers Week and to access free resources and activities, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/schools/engineers-week

Ends

About STEPS

The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach scheme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students through a portfolio of projects. STEPS is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and has four industry sponsors including ARUP, ESB, Intel and TII.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Electricity and Engineering in Edenderry!

Yesterday we were delighted to present a hands-on, interactive workshop for a number of students in association with Edenderry Library in Co. Offaly. This event was an early part of a programme of activities which is being rolled out across the region by Midlands Science during national Engineers Week which takes place nationally from this Saturday.

Engineers Week promotes engineering and the importance of the profession to pupils all over Ireland and the aim of each event is to positively showcase engineering as a rewarding and creative career choice to people in all communities.

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.

Dr. Mindflip comes to Athlone for Engineer’s Week

Midlands Science is pleased to announce that ‘Dr. Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience’ will be cruising into Athlone as part of the annual Engineer’s Week celebrations which will be taking place across the Midlands in the coming weeks.

Engineers Week is a week-long festival of nationwide activities celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland and events kick off on February 29th in a number of schools, libraries and other venues around the country. Dr. Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience is aimed towards secondary students and was developed in partnership with Dr. Dan Nickström from The Department of Experimental Physics at Maynooth University and a large team of artists, designers, musicians, gamers and actors.

When asked what to expect, Dan said, “Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience is a light-hearted and educational choose-your-own-adventure-game which takes place in a specially designed caravan that’s kitted out to allow participants to explore the many aspects of physics in a fun and unique way. It’s funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Institute of Physics and takes a gaming approach to learning so each choice that people make determines what will happen next. I am delighted to be coming to the Aidan Heavy Library for a drop-in event in Athlone in March and look forward to meeting as many people as possible to join in the Engineer’s Week celebrations in the Midlands for 2020. And don’t worry if you know absolutely nothing about physics, all you need is a curious mind!”

In 2019, there were over 850 Engineers Week activities organised in the community. The aim of each event is to positively showcase engineering as a rewarding and creative career choice to children in all communities. This fantastic, free Midlands Science engineering experience is being delivered in Co. Westmeath in partnership with the Aidan Heavy Library in Athlone and it will take place there from 11am until 4pm on March 4th. Each session can facilitate six people at a time and each session lasts twenty minutes. The event is suitable for ages 13 and up.

Mae McLynn of the Aidan Heavy Library said, ‘We are really looking forward to hosting this Midlands Science event and to welcoming Dr. Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience to Athlone. The library is always looking for ways to encourage more enthusiasm and interest in both engineering and science as future career options amongst second level pupils and this is the ideal way to do exactly that in a fun and interactive way.’

This is a drop in event. Please contact Mae McLynn in the Aidan Heavey Public Library, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

090 6442157 for further information.

Photo:

Dr. Dan Nickström from Maynooth University at a recent Midlands Science Experience Engineering event with Westmeath students.

 

 

 

Gaming, Intubation and Space Flight

Exploring the World of Engineering in Athlone for Engineers Week with Medtronic

Students from the Midlands got a unique insight into the world of engineering by taking part in a series of workshops at AIT organised by Midlands Science in association with Medtronic. As part of Engineers Week, the workshops explored everything from space flight to polymer engineering at this unique event at AIT. Students also had a unique chance to act as life-savers, performing an intubation procedure on a dummy patient. Many of the students were familiar with the procedure from medical TV shows, where the procedure is often shown in life or death situations in an emergency room. With some instruction from Medtronic staff, students got the chance to try out this for themselves and learn about Medtronic.  Tracheal intubation, usually simply referred to as intubation is frequently performed in critically injured, ill, or anesthetized patients to facilitate ventilation of the lungs. Medtronic produces a range of intubation products in a full range of sizes from adult to paediatric. Through a series of career talks, students also learnt about various careers in Medtronic and about how engineering is really about thinking creatively and enjoying solving problems.

Science and Technology communicator Declan Holmes delivered a series of shows exploring space exploration and the role that engineering plays in such exploration.  The Engineering Department at AIT delivered a series of engineering workshops exploring civil, software and polymer engineering, reflecting the wide variety of engineering courses available at the Institute. Students also got the chance to engage with Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience, a science outreach project with a difference! Known to many from its appearances at various locations around the country, it provides students with an immersive experience where they choose their own adventure in a game and follow the story of a mad scientist, Dr MindFlip, and his robot assistant Anustasia. This award-winning outreach project was developed by a team of scientists, film-makers, script-writers and artists with a view to making physics and engineering more accessible and engaging for young audiences. It is housed in a vintage caravan, resembling a type of metallic machine on the outside, something you could imagine out of a Tim Burton movie, which turns out to be an interactive video game about physics and engineering on the inside.

Engineers Week is a national week-long celebration of the world of engineering in Ireland. Everything from bubbles in chocolate bars to life-saving cancer treatments involves engineering. However, not enough young people, especially young girls think it’s a world for them, so industry often struggles to recruit engineering talent. It also means that young people are missing out on exciting opportunities to make a difference in their own lives and the world around them. Engineers Week is coordinated nationally by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme, which is funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme Call. Dr Sean Lyons of AIT commented that events such as this were “instrumental in encouraging the future matriculation of secondary school students into STEM subjects and, ultimately, careers.”

Medtronic

As a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, Medtronic improves the lives and health of millions of people each year. The company is committed to improving lives through its medical technologies and solutions. With roots in Ireland since 1981, the company now employs more than 4,000 people across five sites in Galway, Dublin and Athlone. Medtronic Athlone manufactures airways products and also features an R&D Centre of Excellence.