UCC launches women in STEM programme

University College Cork (UCC) has launched its inaugural WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design) programme to address the need to support young women to succeed in their STEM2D careers.

In Ireland, almost 60 per cent of 30 to 34-year-old women have a third level degree, yet women are continuously and disproportionately missing in the STEM workforce and STEM disciplines in higher education. According to Science Foundation Ireland, out of almost 118,000 people working in STEM-related fields, just one-quarter are women.

Developed in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, the WiSTEM2D programme aims to address the shortage of women in STEM2D careers in Ireland and increase undergraduate women enrolling in these fields. Key elements of the programme include research into barriers to retaining women in STEM disciplines and grants to support students studying STEM disciplines while ongoing mentorship will be provided to female STEM students by Johnson & Johnson leaders.

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The programme launch in UCC follows on from the success of a similar programme in UL, which is now in its third year. Over 50 students have participated in the programme so far and the UL WiSTEM Society has over 180 student members. Johnson & Johnson has entered into such 13 partnerships in universities worldwide to build a diverse WiSTEM2D community.

Speaking at the launch, Liz Dooley, Director of Operations at Janssen Supply Chain Ireland said: “Where there is under-representation of women, there is under-representation of diversity of thought and opinion. We want to build a diverse STEM2D community and the next generation of female role models, and we believe the mentorship offered to students who partake in the programme is invaluable. It builds confidence and belonging and gives young women the practical and active example of what they can do while also ensuring they see the variety of careers on offer to them.”

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Pictured in UCC at the launch of the WiSTEM2D programme are Liz Dooley, Director of Operations, Janssen Sciences UC; Liz Markus, Director, Reignite Programme, Johnson & Johnson; and Deirdre Clune, MEP (Picture: Clare Keogh)