WITSWORDS May/June 2016
May/June 2016

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WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS May/June 2016. 

WITS update
We hope you like the new WITS banner above. You'll see it at our next event.

Mary Carroll WITS Vice-Chair and Oonagh Monahan launched the new WITS Sligo group on 11 May. Mary introduced WITS and then led her great Unconscious Bias workshop. There was a good turnout, thanks to our WITS Sligo members and friends with special thanks to Oonagh and Mary.

The Dublin WITS talk by Dr Fiona Blighe on 3 May was great. Fiona outlined SFI's approach to research funding and the rationale for gender initiatives in research funding. Watch out for the SFI reports on these funding models. Thanks to WITS members and friends who attended.

Thank you to our 2016 members for renewing your WITS membership or for joining WITS. Your membership fee supports WITS activities and our free student affiliate membership.

WITS was invited to the unveiling of a plaque celebrating Mary Ward on 23 May. Thanks to Amanda Pedlow Heritage Officer Offaly County Council via Rebecca O'Neill WITS member of the National Commemorative Plaques Committee for the invitation. Read about the event here. Congratulations to Offaly County Council for celebrating one of our 'scientific grandmothers' who was also profiled in WITS 1997 book Stars, Shells and Bluebells, now out of print.

Mary Mulvihill WITS founder 1959-2015
We remember Mary Mulvihill our founder and friend on 11 June, her first anniversary. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. We celebrate Mary with the Mary Mulvihill lecture in November.

WITS Executive Update
The Executive met on 4 May and again on 1 June. The focus this year has been on WITS events, with a total seven events to date, five in Dublin, one in Galway and one in Sligo. Apologies to our Cork members we hope to work with you on a Cork event later this year, as well as one in Kilkenny. Our current list of future events is below. The WITS policy sub-committee continues to develop WITS policy, to review national STEM policy and to develop an overview of current women in STEM issues. There has been five newsletters since the AGM in December. There will be short newsletter at the beginning of July with the next full newsletter at the end of August.
Finally we have been working on corporate membership and membership renewals.

WITS Events survey
To help us plan future WITS events please take the short WITS events survey here.


Dates for your diary - WITS events June 2016

WITS Social Party: 15th June 2016 17:30 - 20:00
Upstairs in the UCD Clubhouse Dublin 4.
Come along to the first University College Dublin based social event of the year! Hosted upstairs in teh Clubhouse of UCD (beside the gym) there'll be some food, an insightful talk about what WITS is as well as networking and a general chat with other WITS members from UCD and beyond. Everyone is welcome, it's a great opportunity to meet others in STEM.
For more information and to book your place click here.

Dates for your diary
Events planned for the rest of the year:
  • 29 September WITS pizza party for students UCD
  • 12 October Talk Dr Julie Phukan on Alzheimer's Research, venue tbc
  • 20 October Workshop Career Planning for STEM Sinead Cullen venue tbc
  • 4 November. The Mary Mulvihill Lecture, Louise Phelan PayPal, Science Gallery 6 pm. This is our major event celebrating women in STEM and our founder science journalist Mary Mulvihill. We are delighted that Louise Phelan Vice President for Global Operations EMEA for PayPal has accepted our invitation to speak. Details will follow later in the year.
Information and booking will be on the WITS website.


Forthcoming events
InspireFest2016 30 June-1 July
This is the major women in STEM event this June. It was set up by Ann O'Dea of Silicon Republic and has an amazing line up of speakers. Congratulations to Ann and her team for such an inspiring programme. Do book your ticket and come along. There are special rates for start ups, students, teachers and the over 55s. If you'd like to volunteer click here.

Other news
Tech Excellence Awards
Congratulations to Yvonne Goff, chief clinical information officer on being the IT Professional of the Year at the Tech Excellence Awards on 12 May. What an interesting career path from radiographer to IT!

SFI Science Rising
Congratulations to SFI for the Science Rising website. It's a great resource with lots about Irish science and technology. You can download the SFI Little Book of Irish Science. There's a theme a month on the website. In May it was health with everyday health myths. In June it's theme is women in science., watch for the stories.

Irish Research Council
The Irish Research Council celebrates Irish research with the hash tag #lLoveIrishResearch. Read Eanna ni Lamhna's blog post on the importance of research for Irish wildlife here.

Thanks for SciFest for their latest newsletter. Congratulations to Sheila Porter and her team, the competition goes from strength to strength. Look our to SciFest@School in your local schools. Teachers may glad of support for both projects and for judging, find out more here.

Gender News

Fingal Enterprise Women Summer Social 16 June
Fingal Enterprising Women network supports women in business and enterprise in the Fingal area of Dublin. To book for their summer social on 16 June click here.

News and Items of Interest
A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT

This classic study by Nancy Hopkins is well worth reading. Thanks to Fiona Blighe for highlighting it in her May WITS talk. Have a good look at the graph.

EDGE Economic Dividends for Gender Equality
Good to hear of this initiative for gender equality in business. Companies can apply for EDGE Certification and are assessed on areas such as equal pay for equivalent work, recruitment and promotion, leadership development training and mentoring, flexible working and company culture. There don't seem to be any Irish companies or companies based in Ireland with this certification according to the impact map.

Irish Software Association (ISA) and the gender imbalance in tech
The ISA is very concerned about the gender imbalance in tech. As part of the Tech Manifesto it has set a target of Ireland being a world leader in addressing the gender imbalance. They have set up a working group Tackling the Gender Imbalance in the Tech sector and Mary Carroll WITS Vice-Chair has been invited to the meetings. The group is working with SFI and women in STEM groups such as WITS.

Women speakers at conferences - always an issue
You might like this 2012 post about the statistics for women speakers at STEM conferences, has it changed? The female conference speaker bingo cards provide a range of reasons! It's good to see the 50/50 pledge for tech conferences, an excellent initiative. 

START TLV 2016 Competition
This is a new competition to find Ireland's most innovative female-led start-up. Click on the link to find out how to enter and about the prizes which include attending Israel's leading tech conference in Tel Aviv this September.

Dates for your diary

Members' News

New course in Entrepreneurship: Scaling a business
Thanks to Mary Kerins Galway member for news of this 8 day course from June 10-17. It leads to an NUIG Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Entrepreneurship  and is run by the Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development. For more information click here.

Understanding Unconscious Bias Engineers Ireland 15 June 2-5 pm
Mary Carroll WITS Vice-Chair is running her excellent unconscious bias seminar for Engineers Ireland on 15 June. To find out more click here.

Events from Vicky Twomey Lee with a call for volunteers and mentors
  • Wed 29 June (09:00-14:00) @Dogpatch Labs - Astia Access Entrepreneur Program . Book here.
  • Saturday 2 July (10:00-13:00) Inspirefest Fringe Festival
    • Family-friendly coding session in Python/Scratch/HTML - call for 2 more mentors
    • Family-friendly game jam - call for 2 volunteers
  • Saturday 6 August (10:00-16:00) Alterconf.
    • Call for Ambassadors, speakers and sponsors (dealine 29 June). More information here.

Corporate members' news
Accenture support science teacher education with summer internships.
Accenture, DCU and 30% Club have launched a summer internship programme for students on teh DCU science education degree. Five trainee teachers will spend the summer as Accenture interns working on real-life client projects. This will give them hand-on work experience in STEM and support them as they support students about careers in STEM. Congratulations to our corporate member for this initiative.

An Cosan and Young Women in Technology
An Cosan run their Young Women in Technology (YWIT) programme at their centre in Jobstown, D24. This innovative programme develops women's confidence and digital literacy skills and has become a gateway to access training and education opportunities with An Cosan's corporate partners including Accenture. An Cosan is running its first Tech Showcase on 10 June and WITS is delighted to take part. For 2016/2017 An Cosan has recruited a STEM panel of women, the 'tech army' to offer taster courses and workshops and other programmes for new students. Thanks to Sinead Kelly for this update. For more information email

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 before 25 June 2016 and we'll include it in the next newsletter.
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