Lucan students get access to STEM inclusion programme

13 Jun 2023

Lucan Community College students Tracey Obeng, Deborah Otun and Erin Cooper with Microsoft Dream Space lead Amanda Jolliffe. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

The joint initiative includes Microsoft Ireland and aims to help 5,000 women from underserved communities get equal access to STEM education.

Students from Lucan Community College took part in a programme to help present new career paths in STEM fields.

The students joined the STEM Passport for Inclusion Programme, a mentoring initiative that aims to provide 5,000 young women from underserved communities with equal opportunities to access STEM education.

A study from Maynooth University suggests 16pc of woman students from socially disadvantaged areas were not studying a leaving certificate science subject at higher level. Maynooth also claims that in 2019, only 55.7pc of all-girls secondary schools offered STEM-related subjects outside of maths and science, compared to 95pc of all-boys secondary schools.

The STEM inclusion programme is a joint initiative of Maynooth University, Microsoft Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills. The initiative was established in 2021 and has engaged with 1,250 students so far.

The transition year students from Lucan travelled to Microsoft’s campus in Leopardstown to get an accelerated version of the programme. The students engaged with Microsoft’s Dream Space team and learned about subjects such as coding, engineering and maths.

“It was an amazing opportunity that I’m glad we could all partake in,” said Lucan Community College student Chloe Bonete. “Everyone was very welcoming, and we all came out of the experience confident with what we had learned.”

The students also met women who are working in various STEM fields to learn more about their careers and what their jobs involved. Lucan Community College teacher Audrey Byrne said the programme was very “engaging and interactive” which inspired many of the students who joined.

“Students really enjoyed visiting Microsoft Dream Space and the company’s building in Leopardstown where they met with women who work in STEM and see first-hand the doors that can be unlocked by considering a course and career in technology,” Byrne said.

“I’d encourage schools across Dublin to take part so that every student has the opportunity to engage in STEM learning.”

The STEM Passport programme was featured in a six-part documentary series called Change Makers, which explored university research projects.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic