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What do a GAA star, a foodie, a fashion lover and a Forbes ‘30 under 30’ entrepreneur have in common? Answer: STEM

Dublin, Thursday15th June 2017 – Smart Futures, the Science Foundation Ireland-managed government-industry programme, has released a short video series about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), aimed at Leaving Certificate students considering CAO* change-of-mind forms this month.

Smart Futures, which provides secondary school students, teachers and parents in Ireland with information about STEM careers, developed the video series to help convey some of the less well-known aspects of working in these careers. The videos profile four young people working in different areas of STEM, including well-known GAA player Jason Doherty who, when not playing for the Mayo Senior Team, works as an engineer with the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI).

Speaking about the video series, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications for Science Foundation Ireland said: “Many secondary school students may not be aware of the broad range of exciting career opportunities that science, technology, engineering and maths can offer a young person. We created these videos to show that STEM offers not just the chance to have a fulfilling career that can positively impact on people’s lives, but also a career path that is creative, flexibile and varied. We hope they will help give students insights into the kind of people who work in STEM.”

Meet the scientists

In the series we meet Aimee Hynes, a Research Chemist working for Terraco, who talks about her love of colour and the creative element of her work. She might be designing molecules one day, and inventing new products the next. We also meet food scientist, Ruairi Robertson, a researcher working for Teagasc and the SFI-funded Research Centre APC in University College Cork, who talks about his passion for nutrition. Ruairi’s work is focused on helping to prevent and treat disease through food.

Edel Browne, a biotechnology student in the National University Ireland Galway, is also an entrepreneur who was selected last year to pitch her medical device business at the Forbes ’30 Under 30’ Summit in Boston. Edel talks about being motivated to help improve mobility and quality of life for people suffering with Parkinson’s disease, and encourages students to look beyond stereotypes when it comes to choosing a career.

The four talk about their experiences of STEM in school, about who has influenced their study and career choices and the things they are passionate about. When asked what challenges they would solve if they could, answers range from major global issues such as climate change and world hunger, to preventing mobile phones that fall down the toilet from becoming waterlogged by creating super hydrophobic coatings for textiles and electronics! The key message is – explore STEM and find out if it might be for you.

Talking about the benefits of engineering, Jason Doherty, SEAI said: “Engineering offers so many career options to graduates and it’s great for people who are creative and interested in finding practical solutions to every day problems. Working in SEAI, we’re always looking at new ways to be more energy efficient, and how to generate clean sustainable energy solutions. This work has a positive impact on people, helping them to save money on energy bills, making their homes and buildings more comfortable, as well as helping the environment.”

The five-part video series is available to view on YouTube at: goo.gl/1C2z2H

The Smart Futures STEM careers programme, which is co-managed with Engineers Ireland, works with over 200 industry partners, including Vodafone, Zurich, IBM, and Pfizer, to provide young people with access to hundreds of STEM professionals and STEM career stories on www.SmartFutures.ie.

All of the video participants advised students to use online platforms, such as SmartFutures.ie, Careersportal.ie, university websites and even YouTube videos, to find out more about STEM careers.

*Students and parents are remdinded that the CAO change-of-mind closing date is 1st of July – for more information, visit www.CAO.ie.