June 2015

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Mary Mulvihill 1959-2015

Mary was our founder, friend and supporter. Twenty five years ago she called women together to set up WITS and we were launched on November 3rd 1990 with Mary as our first Chair.
Mary’s passion for and commitment to science and to women in science was part of her. She edited two volumes of biographies of our ‘scientific grandmothers’. She wrote in Lab Coats and Lace (2009);
  • The women honoured here include several who rose to the highest possible positions, holding professorships, leading university departments and winning international recognition for their work. Many of them fought not just social conventions but also institutionalised discrimination to make their way in the predominantly male world of science, technology and engineering. We salute their dogged determination and perseverance, and the fine example they set us. We are indebted to them all, for they paved the way for the current generation of women scientists, making it possible for young women today to choose whatever subject and career they want.
This is Mary’s legacy to us. From WITS, thank you Mary, we will continue your work.

These were WITS words at Mary's service in Mount Jerome. Mary passed away after a short illness on 11 June 2015. WITS was honoured to take part in her service. We extend our sympathy to her husband Brian and her sisters Anne and Noirin as well as WITS members Aileen McGrath and Kitty Kelly, Mary's cousin and aunt.

There have been so many tributes to Mary. Her Irish Times obituary reflected so much of her life as did this Huffington Post tribute. Thank you for the lovely tributes on the WITS Facebook page. We have appreciated them.

WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS June 2015.
The next WITS newsletter will be in late August. Enjoy the summer.

Dates for your diary - WITS events July 2015

WITS Executive meeting  1 July 2015 6.30 pm
The next meeting of the WITS Executive.

MinT launch Monday 6 July NCH
MinT Mentoring in IT is a collaborative project led by Hays Recruitment with WITS and CoderDojo among the partners. The project is developing a mentoring initiative/platform for women working in technology. To attend the launch please book here.

WITS Events
18 July WITS Event #9
Event:                          HOME/SICK Post-Domestic Bliss WITS tour                
Venue:                         Science Gallery, Dublin 2
Date and time:             Saturday 18 July  2.30 pm
Number of places on tour: 12
Book your place here. Booking will open shortly.

This is the second last day of the current exhibition. Do come along, meet WITS members and enjoy the tour. After the tour do stay have a tea/coffee in the cafe afterwards and a chat.

Advance notice
26 September WITS Event #10
Workshop Title: Developing a strategy
Presenter; Mary Carroll Growth Potential and WITS Vice-Chair
Venue; Jury's Custom House Inn, D1 @ 10 am - 1pm
There will be a charge for this workshop. Members
Booking will open in late August.

WITS will be at:
  • 1 July 30% Group and Vodafone Women in Business meeting
  • 8 July Successor to Science Technology and Innovation Policy Stakeholder Consultation at Farmleigh  WITS response to the issued policy is here.

WITS Events May-June 2015
It was great to meet WITS members at all the recent events. Thanks for coming along and for your feedback. It's great to know that workshops such as the presentation and the scial media workshops are useful. Thanks to Barbara Moynihan, On Your Feet and Carol O'Kelly Redstorm for facilitating them. The Women in STEM wikipedia editathon was most enjoyable thanks to Rebecca O'Neill.

WITS was at:
  • 5 June Phoenix Radio Mary Carroll WITS Vice-Chair interview on Women in STEM is here.
  • 20 June 2015 Soapbox Science Ulster Museum Belfast.  Congratulations to Triona O'Connell and WITS Exec member for her talk on sugar.
  • 22 June 2015 WISER event – International Conference - 15th June ‘STEM in Higher Education’ Eithne McCabe WITS Exec member attended.
  • 25 June – SFI Event – ‘Promoting STEM to young females’ This was a meeting of many of the groups working with young women in STEM. WITS was represented by the Chair Marion Palmer and Laura Tobin WITS Exec member who does great outreach work in science and Dublin Maker. 


SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Programme
This programme is now open for early and mid-career researchers. All the information is here. What is welcome is that an institution may submit a maximum of 12 candidates of which no more than six may be male. We look forward to the outcome.
Information on SFI Women in Science is here.

STEM Events

Ellen Hutchins: Ireland's first female botanist
Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Ellen's life at the Ellen Hutchins Festival in West Cork this coming August. All the information, including the unveiling of a plaque commemorating her work as a scientist is on the website here.

STEM newsletters and reports
  • SciFest Ezine, Volume 6, Number 4, May 2015 - thanks to Sheila Porter WITS member and congratulations to SciFest on an excellent year.
  • Science It’s a girl thing June newsletter here.  
  • Accenture research launched 18 June 2015 Attracting more young women into Science and technology 2.0 is reported here.

Gender news

National Women's Council of Ireland NWCI AGM 11 June
Maria Delaney WITS Exec attended the NWCI AGM and seconded a motion on STEM. The motion proposed by Symantec and seconded by WITS was passed. The motion was:
  • Nurturing, promoting and supporting women in the technology industry. Symantec calls on the NWCI, in cooperation with interested members, to identify over the next twelve months strategic opportunities to nurture, promote and support women entering and operating in the technology industry. Proposed by: Symantec  Seconded by: WITS

Participants sought for Women Going Solo research
This research by Middlesex University aims to explore the experiences of Solo Women (here defined as 55 or older, without children who are single, divorced, separated, widowed or in a relationship but not co-habiting). If you are interested in taking part please email the researcher Eileen Reilly at or

Members' news

Association of British Science Writers Awards - Best Newcomer
Congratulations to WITS Exec member Maria Delaney (@mhdelaney) on being awarded the best newcomers in the Association of British Science Writers Awards this June. Maria's work was recognised for her special interest in science and health. Maria's work is online at

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

InspireFest2015 Update


Congratulations to Ann O'Dea and Silicon Republic on InstpireFest2015 the two day International festival of science and technology on 18-20 June. It was amazing, so many interesting and challenging speakers and panels. Ann opened with a lovely tribute to Mary Mulvihill.

The WITS panel Celebrating 25 Years of WITS at the InspireFest2015 Fringe Headpsace in Merrion Square on Thursday 18 June went well. There was a lively debate with the audience. Thanks to our panellists Professor Dervlilla Donnelly, Julie Hogan, Maria Delaney and Laura Tobin. Marion Palmer WITS Chair chaired the panel. Professor Donnelly is a  long time WITS member and WITS Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2011. Julie, Maria and Laura are members of the WITS Executive. We began the panel with a minute's silence to honour and thank Mary Mulvihill WITS founder.

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