3,000 Students Attend 10th Annual I Wish STEM Showcase Empowering Girls in STEM

I Wish, the social enterprise inspiring girls globally to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), is welcoming almost 3,000 female students to its 10th annual Showcase today (February 8) in the RDS, Dublin. Over the past decade, I Wish has engaged with over 60,000 students, hosted close to 1,000 speakers, and partnered with over 50 industry leaders. 

This year’s event boasts a line-up of over 50 influential speakers including former President of Ireland and current chair for elders Mary Robinson. Irish science communicator and entrepreneur Ciara Judge; VP of Mid-Market Global Business Group, EMEA Meta and Head of Meta Ireland, Anne O’Leary; global diversity and inclusion leader Furkan Karayel; aeronautical engineer Dr Norah Patten, and Irish Olympian hockey player and biomedical engineer Katie Mullan will also share their insights and experiences, igniting inspiration among the young attendees. 

Mrs Robinson, who will speak at a session today on climate justice and the challenges in achieving gender equality globally, outlined the importance of “seeing is believing”, with female role models inspiring girls to think bigger. In the recent I Wish Survey of Female Students’ Attitudes to STEM, 51% said a barrier to STEM was a lack of female role models while 66% cited poor gender equality in STEM careers.  

Mrs Robinson said: “I am delighted to join I Wish again this year,?marking?their 10th?anniversary. It’s an honour to be part of an event that ignites the spark of possibility in the hearts of young women. As a staunch supporter of ‘girl power’, I witness its transformative impact every day through my work.  

“I recognise and applaud the profound influence that organisations like I Wish have on teenage girls, assisting them to embrace their power, and enabling them to forge paths in careers they are passionate about. Seeing is believing for young minds. Together, let us inspire and pave the way for a generation of fearless trailblazers, breaking barriers and shaping a world where every dream is within reach.”?]

Echoing Ms Robinson’s sentiments, I Wish co-founder Caroline O’Driscoll highlighted the significance of providing access to inspiring role models, stating: When we founded I Wish 10 years ago, our guiding ethos was to give ‘Choices, Chances, Changes’ to girls and ensure that they have every opportunity to take their place in the economies of tomorrow and not be left behind by broken stereotypical biases of the past.

“In our annual survey, time and time again girls tell us that they want more information about STEM and report that access to female role models positively influences them. At our Showcase, over 3,000 teenage girls get the opportunity to listen to the lived journeys of some amazing trailblazers. This in turn allows them to see what a career in STEM is truly like, understand the variety of careers and pathways available and the positive impact that STEM has on our world.”

This year’s event sees the introduction of the inaugural Podcast Hub, in association with Amy Jane Keating, founder of the Go Do You podcast, featuring insightful conversations with leading female STEM voices. These recorded podcasts will be rolled out over the coming months, further amplifying the impact of the event. Also, as part of an extended partnership, Iarnród Eireann and Bus Éireann are providing free rail and bus transport to almost 1,500 girls from 15 locations across Ireland to the event.

I Wish co-founder, Gillian Keating extended her thanks to the 40 leading companies from pharmaceutical, technology, and engineering sectors taking part in the event, from speakers to interactive exhibitions. “We are fortunate in Ireland to have so many multinational and indigenous companies committed to showcasing STEM pathways to the next generation of female leaders and innovators. They understand that their future and the sustainability of their business are inextricably linked to the career choices young women make today.  

“We applaud the STEM leaders such as Deloitte, Dell, PepsiCo, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Regeneron, Qualcomm and AWS who inspire our female talent every day to explore the power of STEM to make a real difference to the world we live in.” 

Gillian added: “The I Wish Showcase event has expanded exponentially over the last decade as a true coalition supported by the public sector, private industry and the higher education institutes and hundreds of selfless volunteers all committed to listening to the next generation of women, understanding what they want in a future career and telling the STEM story in a way that resonates with them. Change is happening, we are at the cusp of real transformation.”

I Wish is a multi-faceted STEM community committed to showcasing the power of STEM to teenage girls. They run outreach activities, mentorship, twinning, entrepreneurship programmes and education programmes along with showcase events reaching a global audience. Later this year I Wish expect to roll out a Pilot Primary programme. For more information see iwish.ie.

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