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iWISH founders honoured for encouraging female secondary school students to pursue careers in STEM

Pictured at the presentation from left to right: Kelvin Flanagan, Lexus Cork; Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, AM O’Sullivan PR; Gillian Keating, Partner Ronan Daly Jermyn; Ruth Buckley, Head of ICT & Business Services, Cork City Council; Caroline O’Driscoll, Partner at KPMG; Michael Lynch, AV3 Productions; Manus O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser; Pat Lemasney, Southern. Pic: Tony O’Connell Photography.

The March ‘Cork Persons of the Month’ are the three remarkable social entrepreneurs and prominent Cork businesswomen – Ruth Buckley, Gillian Keating, and Caroline O’Driscoll – whose vision in establishing iWish (Inspiring Women in STEM) to encourage female secondary school students to pursue careers in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been recognised.

Founded in 2014, iWish is an initiative that combines the very best of industry, academia and the public sector, in order to inspire and encourage young female students to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. The visionary businesswomen were motivated by the challenges being faced by multi-national and indigenous businesses in accessing a steady supply of STEM graduates in the Cork region.

From the very first iWish event in 2015, the initiative has grown exponentially. To date, more than 7,000 students have participated in the events in Cork and Dublin, while campus days have expanded the reach of the event further over the past three years. Thanks to the support of Cork and Dublin based local authorities, together with a number of other sponsors, the award-winning iWish initiative expanded to take in a national footprint in 2017 at the RDS, Dublin, ensuring that as many female students as possible are able to explore the exciting opportunities of a career in STEM.

Each iWish event features a conference and interactive showcase exhibitions, all within a supportive, holistic environment. It combines talks and interaction with female role models and mentors, where industry experts engage directly with the students opening up a world of opportunities to them.

iWish is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, it@cork, Cork County Council, Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, UCC, CIT, American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin, Dell EMC, ARUP and many more organisations.

‘Cork Person of the Year’ Awards Organiser, Manus O’Callaghan, paid tribute to the founders of iWish as they were named March ‘Cork Persons of the Month’. “I’m delighted to announce that Ruth, Gillian and Caroline have been acknowledged for their vision in setting up the iWish initiative and their dedication to encouraging young female students to consider a career in a STEM. Despite having extremely demanding careers themselves, these three business leaders and social entrepreneurs are committed to shaping and nurturing the next generation of highly educated, highly motivated, young women.”

Ruth Buckley, Head of ICT & Business Services, Cork City Council, Gillian Keating, Partner Ronan Daly Jermyn, and Caroline O’Driscoll, Partner at KPMG, will join this year’s other monthly award winners for possible selection as overall ‘Cork Person of the Year 2017’. The winner will be announced at a Gala Awards Lunch due to take place in January 2018.

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