WITSWORDS November 2016
November 2016

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WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS November 2016.

This month we are sad to announce the loss of WITS Honorary member and former Treasurer Jane Hanly, you can read about Jane below.
We have updates on WITS events, the launch of the Mary Mulvihill Memorial Award and other news.

WITS update
12 October WITS Talk: Dr Julie Phukan Life as a Neurologist: Things I've Learnt from My Patients. The Charles Institute, UCD
Thanks to Julie Phukan for a great talk on life a a female neurologist what it's like for her and how she learns from her patients. She told us how her career developed from her student days in Dublin through her PhD on ALS and dementia around Ireland, to being a consultant neurologist in London. Giving back through training young neurologists in Mozambique and making sense of the world through writing about science were other themes of her most engaging talk. Thanks to Lara Cutlar WITS exec member for organising the event.

20 October 2016 WITS Cork Women in STEM panel
Thanks to our stimulating panel members Dee O'Brien, Jacqueline Murphy, Celine O'Donovan and Jane O'Hara for a great discussion on women in STEM chaired by Marion Palmer. This, the first WITS event in Cork for a long time, was great fun and it was good to meet WITS members and friends in Cork. Thanks to Jane O'Hara for organising the event. Also to Eoin Gallagher and the Camden Palace Community Arts Centre for hosting it, and to all who attended on the night.

10 November 2016 2016 Mary Mulvihill Lecture
We continue to be delighted to celebrate our founder Mary Mulvihill with an excellent lecture by Professor Jane Grimson long-time WITS member and founder of WiSER (the Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research) at TCD. The lecture was titled
Targets, quotas, carrots and sticks – eliminating gender inequality in academia and it was a compelling myth-busting and evidence-based lecture that explored the nuances of the issues and identified the complexity of reaching a solution. Thank you Jane.

16 November 2016 WITS Galway Speed Networking The PorterShed. 
Sandra Riordan and Mary Kerins led a vibrant evening of speed networking in Galway. Brenda Romero the games designer who is based at the University of Limerick joined the evening along with a range of others from across the areas of STEM. Thanks to Brenda, Sandra and Mary for a good evening, great fun was had by all who attended, we heard many stayed long after the official end.

WITS Executive Update
The Executive met on 2 November. The WITS Policy Subcommittee met on 7 November.  Thanks to all the Executive members for their commitment and work.

WITS was at:
  • 15 October 2016 Career Zoo Women in STEM panel compered by Arlene O'Neill. Thanks to our compere and our panelists Marion Palmer WITS Chair, Mary Carroll WITS Vice-Chair, Pauline McCaffrey Accenture (WITS Corporate member) and Mairead Hurley Science Gallery Dublin (WITS Corporate member). You can watch the panel here. Thanks to Vicky Twomey Lee for organising the panel and Career Zoo for hoisting it.
  • 26 October 2016 WISER Lecture Trinity College, Dublin. Thanks to Professor Dame Ann Dowling for her interesting lecture titled Diversity & Inclusion: a value proposition for engineering. The lecture was organised by the Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in conjunction with Engineers Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy. Do listen to the podcast on why we need more creative women in engineering here.

Dates for your diary - WITS events November 2016 - January 2017

Tuesday 29 November 2016 6 pm Science Gallery Dublin.
Be Your Own Recruiter - Career
advice for STEM students and new graduates. Sinead Cullen Science Gallery Dublin 6 pm.  Booking is open here.

Saturday 10 December 2016  11 am Science Gallery Dublin.
The WITS AGM will run from 11 am to 1 pm, watch out for the emails. Come along for coffee at 10.30am, book your place here.
We have had a great year and there is much to discuss for next year’s plans, so we hope many of you can make it!

January 2017
Tuesday 17 January 2017 6 pm Science Gallery Dublin
The Imposter Syndrome Pauline Sargent of DigiWomen and WITS member is running her excellent Imposter Syndrome workshop. Information and booking opens shortly here.

Jane Hanly 1930-2016 WITS Honorary Member

WITS is saddened by the loss of our honorary member Jane Hanly. Jane joined WITS at its inception in 1990, was the Treasurer and a stalwart member of the WITS Executive for many years. She was one of the first honorary members of WITS and we valued her greatly.

Jane was born in Canada in 1930 after her parents met travelling across the Atlantic. She returned to England at a young age and she went to school and university in Cirencester and Bristol. Taking up a research post in Nottingham she met Dubliner Joe Hanly, they then married and moved to Dublin. Jane lectured in the Botany Department of UCD for many years, reared a family and developed her many interests. Jane was a devoted wife and mother and the loss of her beloved husband Joe in 1996 was a challenge in her retirement.

When WITS was founded Jane joined the new executive and was one of the amazing founding women with Mary Mulvihill. She quickly became essential to WITS. Jane challenged us, supported us and provided that determination, intellectual rigour, passion and caring that her family noted at her funeral. Many a copy of WITSWORDS was posted from her dining room table. We are deeply indebted to Jane for her care and commitment to WITS.

In ill health in recent years Jane died on 8 November 2016. Her passing was marked by a minute’s silence at the 2016 Mary Mulvihill lecture on 10 November 2016. WITS sends its sympathy to her daughters Sinead, Orna, and Aoife and her son Cuan.

Thanks to Caitriona Lambert for the photograph.


Internet of Things IoT 21-22 November 2016 Dublin's Convention Centre
You're invited to Internet of Things World, taking place 21-22 November at Dublin's Convention Centre. The event will bring together IoT professionals and will cover case studies including Connected Cars, Smart Home, Energy, Environment, Manufacturing, IoT Architecture and more. Beyond the conference, there will be over 100+ exhibitors and start-ups showcasing innovation. Register for a Free Expo Pass here

Science Communication
Lots of news in science communications this month.
  • The first Mary Mulvihill Memorial Award of €2000 for science journalism was launched in early November. Third level students are invited prepare a submission on women's' contribution to science. Submissions are due next March 2017. Read about the award here.
  • SCI:COM, Ireland's all-island science communications conference runs with talks, panels and workshops this December 7th at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin. More information and the speaker list is available here.
  • Congratulations to Suzanne O'Sullivan Irish neurologist based in London on winning the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 for her book It's All in Your Head on psychosomatic illness. Read about her award here. Thanks to Dr Julie Phukan for reminding WITS about the award.

Science Week 2016
Congratulations to SFI and all who took part for Science Week. Here's some things WITS enjoyed.
  • Silicon Republic ran the Science 50 series - the women ushering the world into a new scientific era here. Good to see Maria Delaney WITS executive member in the list of science communicators as well as WITS members Niamh Shaw, Norah Patton and Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain.
  • Science Gallery Dublin ran an amazing series of events based on the current Design and Violence exhibition - congratulations.
  • RTE had an excellent series of programmes for Science Week. We particularly liked 10 Things to know about on the theme of staying young and the drama documentary Ladies of Science dedicated to Mary Mulvihill both broadcast on Monday 14 November. Episode 2 of 10 Things to know about is on smarter living is being broadcast on Monday 21 November.

Dates for your diary
  • 9, 10 February 2017  iWish Cork City Hall and 13,15 February 2017 iWish RDS, Dublin. iWish runs again this year in Cork and Dublin next February aiming to reach 4000 schoolgirls. Cork is sold out but there are places available for Dublin. The theme is shaping a better world. Have a look at the website to see why STEM matters and to find out about the event. WIT Corporate member ESB is an iWish event partner. Congratulations to the IWish team on a fantastic initiative for girls and STEM.
  • 15, 16 February 2017 Dublin Tech Summit The Convention Centre, Dublin.
  • 23 March 2017 USI Student Summit, Dublin Castle.  Over 600 students will be in attendance, from across Ireland, to hear from 30 start-ups, 16 speakers and six workshops. Students with their own start-up ideas will be able to speak to our gurus, as well as pitch their ideas, before a panel of judges, to be in with the chance of winning a cash prize! USI would be delighted to welcome any start-ups, affiliated with WITS, to join us at next year's Student Summit. If any would like to get involved, they can contact Eric Fitzgerald at or on 086 8165498. 

Gender News

Making women visible
Here are some ways women in STEM are becoming more visible globally:
  • Women need to be seen and heard at conferences. Congratulations to Bias Watch Neuro, they track neuroscience conferences, looking at numbers of women attending vs women working in the field. Read about them in Nature  here.
  • Women on Walls - read the update on this Irish project in members' news below.
  • A letter from a role model boosts female science students’ grades
  • Symantec are planning to name half of their meeting rooms after female role models and half after male role models in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Read about it here.
  • Women in the Workplace - have a look at the key findings of this American survey.
  • The GEM project Tailoring Organisational Practices to achieve Gender Equality A Best Practice Guide can be downloaded here.
  • CWIT Connecting Women in Technology 20 October 2016. Congratulations to CWIT on their recent seminar hosted by Analog Devices in Limerick. Read about the event here.
 European Gender News EIGE European Institute for Gender Equality
EIGE’s new tool for academia and research: it’s time to shift GEAR!
The GEAR tool provides guidance on how to set up and implement a Gender Equality Plan in research organisations. Watch the video
GEAR Making a gender equality plan for academia and research.   

News and Items of Interest
NWCI #FemFest
Best wishes to the National Women's Council of Ireland for the #FemFest conference for women aged 16-24 on the 2 December 2016. It is sold out, see here.

Inspirefest2017 is running from 6-8 July 2017.
It is an amazing festival of technology, science, design and the arts, which places diversity and inclusion at the centre. Keep an eye on the website to see the speaker list which includes Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh the inventor and CEO Sugru. Tickets available.

Members' News

Coding Grace November newsletter
Thanks to WITS Exec member Vicky Twomey Lee for the most recent Coding Grace newsletter. This is a good read and captures forthcoming tech and female friendly events. 

WITS Computer Science Student member requests some help
Ailish McCarthy is a final year student of Computer Science and German at Trinity College Dublin. For her final year project she is developing a template structure for a support programme for women undergraduates studying computer science and related degrees. Ailish writes:
If you have any experience with mentoring/support networks of any kind or even have any recommendations or ideas for what you think could be included in the programme I'd be really grateful to hear from you. I'm also interested in hearing from former students of computing in relation to challenges they may have faced during the study of their degree and what they feel may have helped them if such support had been available.  If you have any questions, comments, or ideas I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at 
Thanks, Ailish. 

Women on Walls Accenture and the Royal Irish Academy
campaign by Accenture with the Royal Irish Academy to make female leaders visible is making great progress. Five portraits will be unveiled next month at the Royal Irish Academy. There are portraits by Vera Klute of the first four female members of the Academy elected in 1949. From STEM there is the virologist Phyllis Clinch whom Eanna Ni Lamhna wrote about in Lab Coats and Lace (WITS, 2009) and Shelia Tinney the mathematical physicist. The last portrait is a group portrait by Blaise Smith of eight female scientists. The picture shows some of the scientists with the wall in the Academy that prompted the project. Congratulations to Accenture (WITS Corporate member) and The Royal Irish Academy for making women visible. More here.

Member Profiles
Do have a look at the member profiles on our website. Would you like to be featured in the rotating menu? If so please email WITS with a photograph and between 50 and 100 words about yourself. We would love to know more about you and share your profile.

We welcome news from members. If you have events, initiatives or just something you think of interest to WITS members please email WITS before the AGM on 10 December 2016 and we'll include it in the next newsletter.
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