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Thousands set for I Wish event

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4:54pm

Thousands of girls from Transition Year classes will descend on City Hall this morning for this year’s I Wish event.

Some of the high profile names lined up for this year’s event include Met Eireann’s Joanna Donnelly, entrepreneur Ciara Judge and Ireland’s first female master mariner Captain Sinead Reen.

The students will hear keynote speeches and panel discussions from the likes of Dell EMC, Accenture, Aer Lingus, Google and AIB, before exploring a buzzing exhibition hall filled with industry teams who are keen to show the opportunities STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) can offer them.

I Wish was set up five years ago by three Cork women who were unhappy at the gender divide in STEM workplaces, estimated at a ratio of 3:1 in favour of males.

Caroline O’Driscoll, a tax partner at Deloitte, Gillian Keating, a partner at RDJ solicitors, and Ruth Buckley, Head of ICT at Cork City Council, decided something had to be done and I Wish was born.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn will officially open proceedings this morning (Thursday) and the event runs for two days at City Hall before moving to Dublin’s RDS next week.

Ms Keating said: “The concept we devised five years ago has been a huge success and just as we encourage the girls to push boundaries, we’re aiming high with our ambitions too.

"As part of the event, a number of CSN College students will be on-hand to share their own success stories. Aimee Chen, a student of applied biology – food, health and nutrition said: “I enjoy the practical nature of the applied biology course, especially working with microscopes. All the modules are very enjoyable, including maths, microbiology and biology. Next year I am hoping to study Optometry in the UK or in DIT.”

Research carried out at last year’s I Wish event showed:

• 59 per cent of girls said they don’t know enough about STEM

• 93 per cent of teachers said self-belief in girls’ own ability is a major challenge to STEM promotion in schools

• The more STEM-related events a girl attends, the more likely she is to choose STEM subjects to Leaving Cert level and beyond.

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