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UCC students receive scholarships as part of J&J’s WiSTEM2D Awards Programme

Irish Aeronautical Engineer and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr. Norah Patten, recently presented scholarships to eleven University College Cork (“UCC”) students at a virtual awards ceremony as part of the Johnson & Johnson Ireland (“J&J”) Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Awards Programme.

WiSTEM2D refers to Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design. The WiSTEM2D programme underlines J&J’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. 

Speaking at a virtual awards ceremony held for UCC’s eleven successful students, Dr. Norah Patten congratulated the recipients of the J&J scholarship and highlighted the gender imbalance that continues to exist in STEM fields. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the successful applicants to benefit from mentorship and training with industry professionals in J&J. A recent study by the Department of Education’s STEM Education Implementation Advisory Groupfound that there are significant gender imbalances in STEM subject choices made by male and female students at the post-primary level in Ireland, and that it is critical to encourage greater participation of girls in these subject areas. This programme is an important initiative which serves to support and encourage these female students who, although still in a minority, have made it into the STEM field, and this is crucial to keep them in the sector going forward.” 

Eleven students were selected to receive scholarships at the virtual awards ceremony, following a rigorous application process and one-to-one interviews. This year’s successful students are:

  • Amy O’Reilly, Biochemistry, Minane Bridge
  • Daisy Garde, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Bandon
  • Julia Sheehan, Financial Maths and Actuarial Science, Douglas
  • Katie M. O’Brien, Biomedical Science, Buttevant
  • Niamh Lehane, Mathematical Sciences, Ovens
  • Rachel Lynch, Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds, Carrigaline
  • Rose Delaney, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Laois
  • Ruby Millet, Physics and Mathematical Sciences, Kilkenny
  • Ruth Bergin, Data Science and Analytics, Laois
  • Ruth Delahunty, Biomedical Science, Kilkenny
  • Tara Stuart Clancy, Physics and Astrophysics, Carrigaline

Speaking about the impact of the awards programme, past recipient Jessica Silva said “This programme shaped my career trajectory. With the support of a J&J mentor and the network I was able to build, I quickly found myself feeling empowered, confident and fully believing in my worth. Upon completing my degree in Biomedical Engineering, I was very fortunate to join J&J’s Global Operations Leadership Development program. I have had the opportunity to live in three different countries, experience different sectors and hold four different positions in the last 2.5 years. I will always be grateful for the WiSTEM2D programme and the role it has played in my career.”

Eleven scholarship winners and fifteen runners-up will benefit from extensive industry mentoring and leadership training as part of J&J’s WiSTEM2D programme. Now in its third year, the impact of COVID-19 sees the J&J WiSTEM2D programme move to a virtual format, providing students with virtual site visits and regular online mentoring sessions. 

Speaking about the move to a virtual format, Anna Rafferty, Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D University Lead and Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Ireland, “This year we are working doubly hard to support students as they adapt to remote learning and continue their pursuit of STEM2D careers. Women are still under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland. At J&J, we recognise the importance of supporting women early in their careers, so that we can help develop a talent pipeline of future female STEM leaders. Our Johnson & Johnson colleagues are committed to delivering this high intensity programme through virtual mentoring, virtual site visits and ensuring that these promising young women don’t miss out on any opportunities despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

Professor Sarah Culloty, Head of the College of Science, Engineering & Food Sciences, at UCC, said “This year has been truly challenging for all of our students who have missed out on so many of the usual opportunities available to them.  The continuation of the J&J WiSTEM2D programme in UCC underlines J&J’s commitment to supporting our students and the continuing endeavour to bridge the gap between male and female representation in STEM despite the restrictions of COVID-19.” 

Recipients of the J&J scholarship were presented with bespoke framed glass artwork created by Fermoy-based artist, Suzanne O’Sullivan.

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