I Wish, the social enterprise inspiring teenage girls globally to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), is delighted to host more than 15,000 teenage girls from Ireland and across the world for the 9th annual I Wish STEM Showcase hybrid event. I Wish is hosting an audience of 3,000 teenage girls in-person with up to 15,000 attending the virtual TV style live broadcast in Ireland and globally. Female students attending on the day have the opportunity to engage with over 60 influential STEM role models.
A Students’ Voices session features Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson in an interview with Sarah Bryant, environmentalist and climate change activist. Mrs Robinson answered questions submitted by students from schools around the country. During the interview, Mrs Robinson said: “I want to say how pleased I am to be back with I Wish. I’m a great fan of girl power, in fact I’ve seen it in action in the young girl climate activists all over Ireland, some of them I’ve come to know quite well and they are all giving a lot to leadership, so I really feel today is an important opportunity for you to realise your power.”
STEM entrepreneurs and co-founders of payments start-up Xelda, India Healy O’Connor and Portia Healy O’Connor will also give a headline address at the I Wish STEM Showcase event. The I Wish STEM event may be viewed by visiting www.iwish.ie/
Caroline O’Driscoll, co-founder of I Wish commented: “Today is about two things. It’s about giving girls access to inspiring female role models in STEM and showing the girls what it’s like to work in STEM, and we do that in our exhibition zone. We have some amazing exhibitions like 3D printing, cyber security, how to design an antigen test. It’s such a fantastic opportunity for girls to learn more about this fast growing area.”
Second year students Muireann Coyne, Bláithín Clarke and Sinead Ryan from Tullamore College, County Offaly were announced as the winning team in the first I Wish Stripe Entrepreneurship Programme.
The programme is designed to ignite creative thinking, give teenage girls the skills and confidence to develop their business ideas, and lay the groundwork for more female-founded businesses. Five groups of female students worked with mentors from Stripe over a three-month period, building an initial idea into a business proposal that was presented to judges in a Dragon’s Den style pitch. The winning team receives €5,000 to support the further development of their idea, and their school.
John Collison, co-founder of Stripe, said: “Studying maths and learning how to code opens up a whole world of opportunity. You could play a crucial role in solving generational challenges like climate change, responding to the next pandemic, expanding economic opportunity, and much more. Inspiring more young women to pursue careers in these fields—and better yet start their own businesses–is one of the most obvious ways to accelerate progress. Stripe’s entrepreneurship programme with I Wish is a small part of this effort, and I’d encourage any female students who like solving problems to have a crack!”
Gillian Keating, co-founder of I Wish commented: “The world needs more innovation, at I Wish we want to ensure that the next generation of women are fully empowered and enabled to deliver it. The girls have demonstrated that with the right support, young women with great ideas will deliver revolutionary technologies.”
She added, “I Wish is committed to giving teenage girls the best chance to succeed through STEM pathways, providing vital access to female role models and addressing issues of a lack of information or opportunity in order to create a level playing field. This is particularly important in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th.”
Speakers at the 9th annual I Wish STEM Showcase hybrid event include Ambassador at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington DC Geraldine Byrne Nason; and international hockey star and mechanical engineer Nicci Daly.
Additional speakers at today’s event are STEM enthusiasts Leticia Portella, Software Engineer at Stripe; Jessica Dino, Senior Automation Engineer and Certified Machine Safety Expert at Johnson & Johnson Vision; and Arushi Doshi, Manager in Cybersecurity and Forensics with Deloitte.
Over 30 companies from some of the leading technology, engineering and pharmaceutical industries such as Deloitte, Arup, Stryker, PepsiCO, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Alexion, Qualcomm, AWS, Stripe and many more, are attending the 9th annual I Wish STEM Showcase.
I Wish was delighted to partner this year with Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus who offered free transport for female students travelling from Munster, to the annual I Wish STEM Showcase event 2023. As part of the partnership, Iarnród Éireann put on dedicated I Wish STEM return trains to Dublin, for students departing from Cork, Mallow, Killarney, Tralee, Limerick and Thurles. The Iarnród Éireann chartered trains for female students attending the annual I Wish STEM showcase 2023 also featured talks from female STEM influencers.
I Wish aims to continue to provide access to female STEM role models, and STEM work experience opportunities; to develop policies that address gender differences in STEM after graduation, which deplete the pool of role models; to improve and better inform access to STEM subjects for all Senior Cycle students; and enhance focus on STEM-related careers in the Junior Cycle curriculum. I Wish advocates for engagement in STEM from early years education.
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