CHOICES, CHANCES, CHANGES

Theme of I Wish

Our Theme for I Wish 2017 is how STEM can change our world.

A key flavour coming out of our 2016 survey is how girls are trending towards the social sciences or biology. Indeed 75 % of the girls felt that helping other people was important when they choose their career. They want a career which has a world purpose – they get it in the fields of medicine ( which is why 80 % of them do biology ) but only 16% physics – because they cannot relate physics to a job with ” purpose ” .

Rather than fight against this, we are going to work with it.

We have so many world problems to solve  in the next few decades – over population, food shortage, food wastage how do we feed many more billions of people using the same land, the same food, the same water ? Climate Change. Sustainability. Ageing populations. Urbanisation. How do we solve these problems ? The answer will be in STEM. Technology meets medicine. Drones finding animals lost on farms. The opportunity of Artificial Intelligence. 3 D Printing limits. Rather than fight girls perceptions of STEM, why not work with what they do want – a job with purpose – lets explain to them how big the worlds problems are – and lets show them the real jobs in STEM where they can help solve them.

The I WISH Conference 2017

I Wish is an initiative to inspire, encourage and motivate young secondary school female students to pursue careers in STEM. I Wish ( inspiring women in STEM ) 2017 will feature a conference and interactive exhibitions. The conference consists of workshops, daily keynote and engaging talks by women who are at the top of their field in STEM. The showcase event combines talks and interaction with female role models ( superstars and graduates ) with interactive exhibition spaces where companies engage with the students directly with experiments and demonstrations of what they actually do.

The Background

Three years ago, 3 women living and working in Cork became concerned about the STEM skills gap bubbling up in the region. When they discovered the shockingly low levels of women participating in STEM, the answer became obvious. We need more women. So over a cup of coffee on South Mall, I WISH was born. With the support of Cork Chamber, IT@Cork, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, UCC and CIT a whirlwind year followed, full of planning, detail, cups of coffee, drama, new wrinkles, friendship, insanity and laughter. On 12 February 2015, with huge support from wonderful sponsors, I WISH was unleashed to 1,000 transition year girl students and in 2016 we doubled our reach to 2,000 girls. In February 2017 I Wish is expanding nationally hosting the event over 2 days in Cork and 2 days in Dublin and will double our reach again to 4,000 students.

Core objectives of I WISH

Encourage participation of young women in STEM

 

Build a sustainable talent pipeline in Ireland.

 

Influence subject choices in transition year

 

Improve STEM branding among young women

 

Inform parents and teachers about career choices

 

Provide role models for young women interested in STEM

 

Inspire girls to pursue careers in these essential fields

I WISH FOUNDERS

Gillian Keating
Partner RDJ

Gillian is a partner with Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors. Gillian is on the Board of Cork ETB, the

Governing Body of UCC and Fota Wildlife Park, and is a member of the Audit Committees of various public entities. Gillian served as Cork Chamber President from 2013 to 2015.

Gillian is passionate about ensuring that the next generation of women know all about the opportunities in STEM. A key element to Ireland’s success on the world stage is and will
continue to be the availability of a strong talent pool to meet the requirements of
multinational and indigenous companies.

Gillian wants girls to be fully informed on how STEM changes lives, improves our environment and solves world problems so no young woman ever says “I wish I knew… I could have been…”!!

Choices Chances Changes.

Caroline O’Driscoll
Partner KPMG

Caroline is a tax partner with KPMG. She has a passion for all things tech, and is vice-chair of it@cork. She is a regular speaker at conferences from West Cork to Web Summit and everything in between. Caroline is a recent winner of the national Boots WMB Empowering Women Award 2015 and was awarded as one of Irelands Top Ten Outstanding Young People 2016 for her work on I Wish.

Ruth Buckley
Director of ICT & Business Services Cork City Council

Ruth Buckley is the Head of ICT and Business Services in Cork City Council. As a director on the senior management team, Ruth is responsible for the direction and growth of technology across all Directorates, which includes the roll out of business process improvement and identifying cost saving initiatives. Ruth has over 25 years’ experience of working in the ICT sector in Ireland in both the private and public sectors.