Eleven University College Cork STEM students were recently presented with scholarships at a virtual awards ceremony as part of the Johnson & Johnson Ireland Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Award Programme. Now in its fourth year at UCC, the WiSTEM2D programme will provide the scholarship recipients with extensive industry mentoring and leadership training.
WiSTEM2D refers to Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design. The WiSTEM2D programme underlines Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to developing and implementing high-impact strategies to support female students undertaking STEM2D degree courses at UCC and in universities around the world.
Currently, there are approximately 117,800 people across Ireland who are working in jobs that require STEM skills. However, the CSO reports that just 25% of these roles are performed by women, with just 5% in leadership roles.Whilst there has been a general upswing in the number of students choosing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects on their CAO applications, uptake among females remains low.
The eleven students who were selected to receive scholarships following a rigorous application process and one-to-one interviews are:
- Celine Tan; Computer Science; Cork City
- Emily Whitaker; Physics and Astrophysics; Cork City
- Emma Sheehan; Biomedical Science; Douglas, Cork
- Gillian O’Donnell; Data Science and Analytics; Adare, Co. Limerick
- Jennifer McCarthy; Biochemistry; Kinsale, Co. Cork
- Kate Kearney; Biological and Chemical Science; Tralee, Co. Kerry
- Lauren Turner; Biomedical Science; Waterford City
- Niamh McGrath; Financial Maths and Actuarial Science; Bandon, Co. Cork
- Rose Delaney; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Mountrath, Co. Laois
- Sarah Kate Sweeney; Physics and Astrophysics; Blarney, Co. Cork
- Sinéad Marsh; Biological and Chemical Science; Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Anna Rafferty, Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D University Lead and Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland, said “At Johnson & Johnson, we recognise that women are still under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland. Since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has supported nearly 300 female students across Ireland through the WiSTEM2D programme. Over the last two years, we have worked very hard to ensure that the recipients of this award have not missed out on any opportunities despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. We have carried our virtual mentoring sessions and site visits, and continued to help these students build vital support networks. As employers in the STEM2D industry, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to support these young women who will become future STEM leaders.”
Professor Sarah Culloty, Head of College of Science, Engineering & Food Sciences, at UCC, said: “We are delighted to partner with Johnson & Johnson again this year to support our female students in a range of leadership initiatives designed to empower and improve female representation in STEM. The programme really helps prepare them for leadership roles, as we are seeing in our graduates who have been part of the programme.”
Lauren Andrews, a University College Cork graduate, is a past recipient of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Award Programme. Speaking about the impact that the programme had on her career progression, Lauren said: “I was very fortunate to be awarded a WISTEM2D scholarship in the final year of my degree in UCC in 2020. I was lucky to receive support from Damien Leahy, my programme mentor, who I am still in touch with today whilst I am on the Johnson & Johnson GOLD Programme. The WISTEM2D Programme has come full circle for me, to the point where I am now doing what I can to give back and ensure that other students have the same opportunities that I have had.”
This year’s virtual awards ceremony was also attended by Professor Sarah Culloty, Head of College, Science, Engineering and Food Science UCC, Dr Hannah Daly, School of Engineering & Architecture, UCC; Academic and Professional Services staff, UCC; Bill Walsh, Senior Operations Director, Janssen Sciences Ireland; Gillian Morgan, Business Excellence Manager, Janssen Sciences Ireland; families of the scholarship recipients; and student mentors. Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Award scholarship were also presented with bespoke framed glass artwork created by Fermoy-based artist, Suzanne O’Sullivan.