As part of Science Week 2022 we are profiling local STEM role models to showcase the different careers and job opportunities available to young people interested in science. Last, but by no means least, is Georgia Kearney, a student co-op from Medtronic. We caught up with Georgia and asked her some questions about her career in science:
Tell us a little about your earliest experiences of science.
I was always quite curious about how things worked when I was younger, from what windmills where to how my mum was growing my baby brother in her stomach (still amazed by that).
However, my earliest experience of science that I recall was when I was going on holidays with my family. We had a long drive to get to our destination, so I grabbed this big old book my aunt had gifted me called ‘Children’s Encyclopaedia of Science’. It wasn’t so much the facts within the book that piqued my interest but more so the pretty colours on the front.
I remember choosing the ‘Space’ chapter and it had explained how powerful the sun was and that if you stared at it too long you could go blind – so of course I took it upon myself to shut my eyes tight every time the sun was shining in my eyes to keep them safe. Although I was cautious about looking at the sky, I began to wonder about space and how all these planets and stars were able to just exist up in the sky which led me to ask for a telescope that Christmas. I would spend hours trying to put this ‘kid friendly’ telescope together but was still unable to see the moon and stars (it took about a month before I realised I left the lens cover on the end of it). Once I reluctantly asked my parents for help on how to build it and use it I spent some nights just in awe at how there was so much up there and we just couldn’t reach it.
What did you study at college and can you tell us a little about it?
I am studying Biomedical Engineering at Ulster University and I’m currently on my placement year at Medtronic. Biomedical engineering takes the fundamentals of engineering and applies them to the body to mitigate pain and disease. It might sound a bit daunting but biomedical engineering is the development/creation of any device that is in contact with the human body, from tongue depressors to defibrillators.
What is your current role and what do you enjoy most about it?
Currently, I am a student co-op at Medtronic. I thoroughly enjoy the variety of projects going on and the constant opportunity to explore new technologies. Working with fully qualified and experienced people within industry gives a lot of opportunity for learning and growth which I feel is a very valuable aspect of beginning a career in science. Overall, the people and opportunities present really create an enjoyable work experience.
What is your favourite science fact?
My favourite science fact is probably a well known one at this stage – but we aren’t ever physically touching something, there are atoms in the very air we breathe so when you’re ‘touching’ something there are multiple atoms between your skin and the surface of the object you’re touching so when you feel that pressure of an object it’s the atoms repelling each other.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in science?
If you or someone you know is considering a career in science the main advice, I would give is to ask questions. It’s been heard from teachers constantly over the years ‘No question is a stupid question.’ Which is true! Reach out to different employers/college’s and ask about what they offer or what they do and see which one sparks your interest. If your school/college offers open days, I’d encourage you to attend and speak to actual people from different companies and get a personal view on what the companies work mainly consists of and get a broader view on the morals and goals and see if they align with your own.