June 2017

In This Issue

Website Update

Check out the latest WITS news and member profiles here.

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How to Develop a Dynamic Speaking Style: a workshop with Andrea Ainsworth of the Abbey Theatre. Photo is courtesy of @AbbeyTheatre on Twitter, featuring Andrea in orange, leading the workshop at Science Gallery.

WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS June 2017!

This is what WITS was up to in June:

WITS Events:
Dublin, 21 June: 
How to develop a dynamic speaking style, a WITS event at Science Gallery Dublin (see photo above)
Andrea Ainsworth, Voice Director of the Abbey Theatre, led over 40 WITS members and friends in an active and engaging workshop on how to develop a dynamic speaking style. Focusing on posture, space and how we use our mouths, Andrea led us through a series of exercises that showed us how we speak under difference stances and seating positions. Women often minimise the space they use when seated or standing. Andrea showed us how to imagine our space and see the impact this has on how we speak. It was fun to hear how we all sounded from the start of the workshop to the end. Great to meet so many WITS members, particularly from our corporate members Accenture, MongoDB, the ESB and Science Gallery Dublin. A good evening was had by all. Thank you Andrea and the Abbey Theatre. Thanks to Mary Carroll WITS Chair for organising the event and to Science Gallery Dublin for hosting it.

Cork, 23 June: Engineer Magaly Mora, our WITS Exec member in Cork, visited a primary school to conduct an electronics activity with children as part of #INWED17, International Women in Engineering Day. Shown here are some of the children having fun and learning about what engineers do.

Former Chair and current WITS Exec member, Marion Palmer, interviewed for Silicon Republic. 
The piece, entitled "Has anything changed for the #distractinglysexy women in research?" concerns STEM representation and women researchers. Well done to Marion for speaking eloquently on this!

WITS was at:
  • The AGM of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) on 8 June in Dublin. Jane O'Hara represented WITS as a member of the Executive.

Dates for your diary - upcoming WITS events

Tuesday October 10th 2017 - Walking (slowly) towards space - a talk by Dr Niamh Shaw. Niamh is an engineer, scientist and performer and is passionate about awakening people’s curiosity, merging performance and theatre with communication, engineering, science, art, and technology.
You can find out more and register an early place for the event via our website. Venue is TBD.

Wednesday 18th October 2017 (19:30) – Final reminder! WITS Members outing to the Abbey Theatre production of Josephine K and the Algorithms - special discounted tickets for WITS available here. Please ensure you register by July 25th at the latest!


Other events of interest

2017 Mary Mulvihill lecturer November 2017
We are delighted to announce that the 2017 Mary Mulvihill lecture will be given by Professor Dervilla Donnelly in November 2017. Professor Donnelly was recently awarded the Cunningham Medal by the Royal Irish Academy and is a WITS honorary member. Details to follow later in the summer so keep an eye on the WITS Events Calendar.


Women in STEM are among 2017 winners at Ireland's Top 25 Most Powerful Women Awards. 
- Business Leaders 
WITS Corporate member ESB's MARGUERITE SAYERS Managing Director, ESB Networks Ireland
- Entrepreneurs
- Future leaders 
- Trailblazers 
PROFESSOR LYDIA LYNCH  Associate Professor, Trinity College Dublin; 
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Get the full list of award winners here.

Postdocs as Parents
This report from the U.S. examined the experience of postdoctoral fellows with children, analyses the issues they face and makes recommendations for institutional support of postdoc parents.

Article: 5 Reasons it's So Hard to Think Like a Scientist.

Women in STEM in the news

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of NUI Galway wins the Institute of Physics Mary Somerville medal and prize for 2017.
Read about Dr Fairfield's contributions to Irish physics research and outreach here.

Dates for your diary
  • 5 July - Women in Research, based in Trinity College Dublin, are holding their third seminar in the 'Women Should Be Both Seen and Heard!' series. It's a free lunchtime talk entitled 'Your Best Media Self'; tickets can be reserved through Eventbrite.
  • 6-7 July - Inspirefest is happening at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin over two days this week! There are talks by inspiring leaders in their fields, as well as fringe events in the evenings and on Saturday 8 July. For more information and to nab a ticket, see their website, Inspirefest 2017. Silicon Republic has compiled a list of 10 must-see speakers, here.
  • 11 and 12 July - Bright Club, the smarter standup show, is in Dublin on July 11 and in Cork on July 12! Visit Eventbrite for details and ticket booking for Whelan's, Dublin and the Poor Relation, Cork.
  • 26 June-25 August - the International Space University's Space Studies Program is on at Cork Institute of Technology, with many interesting public events. Info and booking here.
  • 15 July - Soapbox Science Spanish Arch, Galway
  • 20-23 July - The Festival of Curiosity is on over a weekend in Dublin, featuring all sorts of family friendly events. See programme highlights. Dublin Maker is on Saturday 22 July, as part of the festival.

Gender News

Analysis of Gender in Irish Theatre from 2006-15
This report has been released as part of the #WakingTheFeminists working group, which campaigns for equality for women in Irish theatre. For more information and to download a copy of the report, see their website:

Gender Scan: take this survey to help with research enabling women and men to step up in innovation and development
Calling WITS members to participate in the 2017 GenderScan survey. Click on on your smartphone, tablet, or PC to complete the survey. Share the info on the social networks with hashtags : #GenderScan2017 #Makeadifference @genderscan. Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to express your opinion about work and education. Your opinion can make a huge difference for building up awareness of top decision makers, and make further progress. 

News and Items of Interest
  • Check out Superwomen of Science, an exploration of scientists through the medium of music composed by women!
  • The Irish Times published an article about equality in STEM in June. Read it here.
  • WITS held an event about the Imposter Syndrome in January this year. To read more about how to overcome it, check out this article on the StudySoup blog.
  • This article from Entrepreneur deals with "The 4 Mistakes we all Make to Perpetuate Gender Bias".

Members' News

WITS's corporate member, Accenture, has announced a commitment to achieving 50:50 gender equality, globally, by 2025. Read more about it here.

Launch of 2017 Women in STEM MediaPlanet campaign, featuring several WITS members!
This digital campaign to educate, encourage and empower Ireland’s next generation of Women in STEM went live in June. You can check it out on several media platforms:
- LinkedIn
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Instagram
and on the good old world-wide web. Please share and use the hashtag #WomeninSTEMie
We're delighted to highlight contributions from Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Maths Education Prof and WITS member, and Marguerite Sayers, who is MD at ESB, a corporate member of WITS, both giving fascinating insights into their STEM careers.

Funding awarded for Ellen Hutchins Multimedia Heritage Trail 
WITS were delighted to hear that the Ellen Hutchins project ( has been awarded funding under the Heritage Council’s ‘Community Heritage Grants 2017’. The project is to develop an Ellen Hutchins Multimedia Heritage Trail which will use the story of Ireland’s first female botanist to guide people to some of Bantry Bay's botanical, landscape and historical highlights. Part of the funding is earmarked for the third annual Ellen Hutchins Festival during Heritage Week in August. Ellen Hutchins was featured in Mary Mulvihill's "Stars, Shells and Bluebells" book (1997) and "Ingenious Ireland..." (2003). Madeline Hutchins (relative of Ellen) delivered a fascinating talk about Ellen's work at the recent exhibition in the TCD Botany Department. Belinda Grehan attended the exhibition on behalf of WITS. Clare Heardman (Ellen Hutchins Festival and National Parks and Wildlife Service) and Lorna Grehan (also from NPWS) were also there.

Ellen also features on a poster nicely laying out some of Ireland's top women scientists in graphical form; you can find it here.

Madeline Hutchins, pictured holding one of Ellen's botanical drawings.

Member Profiles
Reminder: Profiles for WITS website.
Please send a brief profile with an image to for inclusion in the member profiles featured on our website ( We are updating and expanding our website at the moment and want to substantially broaden our representation of women across STEM featured on the website. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

We welcome news from members. If you have events, initiatives or just something you think may be of interest to WITS members please email WITS before 21 July 2017 and we'll include it in the next newsletter.
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