How do we sell careers in STEM to young girls?

Posted in Governance and administration on October 3rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Girls can do anything boys can do, right? Not according to the 29% of parents and teachers who still perceive STEM subjects as fitting more closely with boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 3 October]

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STEM: from harmless acronym to dangerous idea?

Posted in Research, Teaching on September 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Before I start I want to mention something about the School of Biotechnology because it has had an impact on a lot of my thinking around STEM. The signature programme of our school is the BSc in Biotechnology …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 21 September]


One third of parents and teachers think tech is ‘for boys’, study finds

Posted in Life on September 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The gender stereotypes of parents and teachers play a large role in putting young girls off careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) careers, a study has found. The study found 53% of girls in secondary school drop Stem subjects due to pressure from parents …” (more)

[Jack Power, Irish Times, 6 September]

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Why Men Don’t Believe the Data on Gender Bias in Science

Posted in Research on August 29th, 2017 by steve

“Earlier this summer Google engineer James Damore posted a treatise about gender differences on an internal company message board and was subsequently fired. The memo ignited a firestorm of debate about sex discrimination in Silicon Valley …” (more)

[Alison Coil, Wired, 25 August]

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Women in STEM: a better way

Posted in Governance and administration on August 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“One of our summer duties in DCU is to visit our students who are out on work placement – what we call our INTRA programme. I generally find it to be an interesting experience especially when I visit the big multinational pharma companies …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 2 August]

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Women in STEM

Posted in Governance and administration on June 29th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“2015 data – enrollments in Irish Universities (Mater Dei and St Pat’s included as they are now incorporated into DCU). Note: gender balance in science reflects male dominance in physics and maths and female dominance in biology. Interestingly, there is parity (more or less) in chemistry …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 28 June]

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With a Rethinking of the Arts/Science Distinction, Trinity has the Opportunity to be Pioneering

Posted in Teaching on June 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“With some exceptions, Trinity’s degree structure is divided on clear lines. Much like the campus itself, with its hubs of the Arts Block and Hamilton Building, most students take a course that’s neatly labelled under ‘Arts’ or ‘STEM’, with courses that bridge the divide often finding themselves lost in a confusing and bureaucratic maze …” (more)

[University Times, 25 June]

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Why we need to get rid of STEM

Posted in Research, Teaching on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“On the surface, ‘STEM’ is a harmless acronym, a handy and catchy way of promoting disciplines that, let’s face it, are pretty important in this technological age. But, to an engineer like me who has worked in a science faculty for my whole career, the idea of lumping science and engineering together, along with maths and ‘technology’, seems a bit … simplistic …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 23 June]

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Careers in science and technology

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I have to say that the recent blitz of ‘Stem’ (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) articles in your newspaper (June 20th) gave me pause for thought. Amidst all the hype about successful scientists and high-tech companies, I found myself returning to one of the Higher Education Authority’s reports on what graduates actually do when they leave college …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 21 June]

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Stem courses key to Ireland making gains post-Brexit

Posted in Governance and administration on June 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The British general election result has done little to assuage Irish fears for industry here post-Brexit but with a booming Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector, Ireland is well placed to make gains. According to leading economist Prof Alan Ahearne of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, the Brexit ‘divorce’ negotiations will likely last for at least two years, with trade deals possibly taking considerably longer to complete …” (more)

[Aine McMahon, Irish Times, 20 June]

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Placing gender equity in Stem on the radar

Posted in Governance and administration on June 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The skills shortage in science, technology, engineering and maths is deepening. There are plenty of jobs in the industry, but there are not enough people to fill the roles. The problem is, to a significant extent, caused by the failure of Stem to attract women. Fewer than 25% of people working in Stem are female …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 20 June]

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Figuring out the challenges of being a scientist and a mum

Posted in Life on April 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation to give a talk at an event about the challenges of being a woman working in the field of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem). However, not only am I a woman working in Stem, I’m also a parent working in Stem, and this event started at 6pm, clashing with a meeting at my child’s school …” (more)

[Jane Stout, Irish Times, 24 April]

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More compulsory math lessons do not encourage women to pursue STEM careers

Posted in Teaching on March 28th, 2017 by steve

“The demand for employees in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math) is particularly high, as corporations compete to attract skilled professionals in the international market. What is known as ‘curriculum intensification’ is often used around the world to attract more university entrants – and particularly more women – to these subjects; that is to say, students have on average more mandatory math courses at a higher level …” (more)

[AlphaGalileo, 28 March]

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The skills shortage paradox

Posted in Governance and administration on March 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“This is the era of STEM. Youngsters are constantly exhorted to forge careers in STEM because, apparently, STEM is where the jobs are. This is the 21st century after all. The STEM campaign has been broadly ‘successful’ and the number of CAO first preferences for STEM subjects has risen from around 18.7% in 2008 to 23.7% …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 13 March]

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The problem with Stem

Posted in Teaching on February 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Anyone who reads this blog regularly probably knows that I have a bit of a problem with the term ‘Stem’. ‘Stem’ covers everything from botany to theoretical physics to mechanical engineering. ‘Stem’ is more than a harmless acronym; it represents an attempt at a unification of the various science and technology disciplines to create a sort of super-discipline …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 13 February]

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To get more women in STEM little girls need better role models

Posted in Teaching on February 4th, 2017 by steve

“I recently went to my great-niece Sophie’s fourth birthday party, where her friends – both boys and girls – ran around without a hint of prejudice or discrimination. They were equals. It occurred to me how this idyll of equality disappears as boys and girls grow into adulthood …” (more)

[Hilary Lappin-Scott, The Conversation, 3 February]

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Are parents to blame for the lack of women in Stem?

Posted in Life on January 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Blame the parents. They may want the best for their children, but many end up directing them away from certain areas of study based on outdated notions of ‘acceptable’ careers. A major Government-commissioned report into the shortage of female graduates in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) found that parents are heavily influencing their daughters’ career choices in particular …” (more)

[Nora-Ide McAuliffe, Irish Times, 31 January]

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Performance in key subjects is not adding up

Posted in Teaching on November 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Science, technology, engineering and maths are critically important areas for modern society. Expertise in these so-called Stem subjects is vital to supporting future economic growth. The quality of our education in these subjects, then, needs to be of the highest quality …” (more)

[Irish Times, 29 November]

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Comments on the STEM report

Posted in Teaching on November 24th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“As far as I can make out, the STEM report arose out of a belief that: Students entering college lack basic STEM skills, especially in mathematics (True); Even college students lack ‘higher order’ skills like problem solving, analytical thinking etc. (Only partly true) …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 November]

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Major concerns emerge over students’ basic maths skills

Posted in Teaching on November 24th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Serious concerns over the basic skills of students in maths have emerged in a major review of so-called Stem subjects taught in Irish schools. The quality of graduates in so-called Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – is considered crucial to the country’s economic future …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 November]

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