10 young women engineers receive SFI/Dell scholarships

26 Nov 2009

Ten young Irish engineering students are to receive an annual award of €2,000 each throughout their undergraduate careers as well as Dell technology, an active mentor and internships in university or industry.

This is the fourth year of the SFI/Dell Scholarship Awards, the aim of which are to encourage more female students into engineering as an undergraduate degree and future career.

What’s included in scholarship package

The scholarship package comprises an annual award of €2,000, a Dell notebook computer, together with the assistance and support of a research active mentor throughout their undergraduate career and the opportunity to spend summer months in a research internship in university or industry.

“The Government is committed to economic recovery by making Ireland’s Smart Economy real. This is about better jobs, higher productivity and increased competitiveness. The Smart Economy will require more engineers in all disciplines,” Science and Innovation Minister Conor Lenihan TD said while congratulating the winners.

“These awards play an invaluable role in helping to raise the profile of engineering among women, to encourage wider female participation within the profession in Ireland. Considering the impact of science and technology on society, it is essential that women contribute to, and bring the perspective of women to the design and development of future production and innovation.”

The 10 recipients

The 10 winners were Triona Byrne of St Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge, Co Kildare, who is studying at Trinity College Dublin; Deirdre Doody of Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Co Cork, who is studying at University College Cork; Clare Dunne from Patrician College, Portlaoise, Co Laois, who is studying at University College Cork; Fiona Edwards-Murphy of Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork, who is studying at University College Cork; Helen Fletcher from Muckross Park, Dominican College, Dublin, who is studying at Trinity College Dublin; Clíona Flood of Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, who is studying at National University of Ireland, Galway; Kate Gillen of Manor House School, Dublin, who is studying at Trinity College; Fiona Malone from Scoil Mhuire, Greenhill, Co Tipperary, who is studying at University of Limerick; Anne O’Connor from Loreto College, Foxrock, who is studying at University College Dublin; and Rhoda Wade from Loreto College, Foxrock, who is studying at University College Dublin.

Fiona McCarthy, director HR, Dell Global Operations, said: “One of the reasons for Dell’s success as a company globally is that we have a diverse workforce to meet the needs of our extremely diverse customer base. It is incredibly important that women continue to enter disciplines like engineering, science and technology, because if Ireland is truly to develop as a Smart Economy, we need the people working in it to represent different backgrounds, disciplines, ethnicities and sexes. I congratulate the graduates today who are role models for girls at school who are thinking now about what they want to study and I would strongly encourage them to consider careers in science, technology and engineering.”

Year 4

This is the fourth year of the SFI/DELL agreement to provide 10 scholarships annually to women starting designated four-year engineering degree programmes in third-level institutions in Ireland. The designated courses are among those where women have traditionally been under-represented at the undergraduate level. The universities have supported the programme through the mentors working with each of the scholars, providing them with a key contact within the faculty.

This year SFI received 58 eligible applications compared with the 46 eligible applications received for the 2008 competition.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years