The inaugural graduation of STEM Passport for Inclusion will take place in Munster Technological University (MTU) Friday 13th May. The STEM Passport for Inclusion is a SFI Discover Project spearheaded by Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, ALL Institute-Maynooth University in partnership with Microsoft, MTU, Accenture and the RDI Hub.
200+ Senior cycle girls from across Munster will graduate in MTU North Campus with a newly developed 5 credit level 6 certificate in 21st STEM Skills. The completion of this module has earned them a 50 points bonus on their CAO application for select STEM courses being run on the Kerry Campus of MTU. The aim of the programme is to provide STEM pathways to under-served communities across Ireland. This first group of students will be able to use the STEM credit to access STEM courses in Munster Technological University. In addition to the points bonus, the students took part in STEM lab days throughout the year and mentoring sessions- 125 women from Microsoft and Accenture spent 20 hours supporting these young women to see themselves in STEM. Having completed the module the students can stay connected to the programme through the bespoke platform created for the project which connects educational institutions and industry partners with the participants for potential study or work opportunities.
Dr Katriona O’Sullivan notes that "the graduation of the Munster cohort of girls marks a landmark day in their potential futures in STEM but also marks the significance of increasing young women’s engagement in STEM as they are currently underrepresented in STEM courses and in industry. MTU have shown leadership in the area of STEM education by providing senior cycle girls with a university accredited qualification AND attaching a 50 point Leaving Certificate bonus to the qualification. This opens the door to STEM university courses for girls in new and innovative ways, and we hope in the next phase of this programme we can build a national STEM pathway for under-served girls".
Dr. Helena McMahon noted that "The STEM Passport project has the potential be transformative in supporting and enabling girls to access STEM programs. MTUs focus on inclusion, innovation and regional development and we look forward to welcoming the girls to MTU STEM program in in September 2022 and into the future."
RDI Hub CEO Liam Cronin added "Providing early stage support to girls in the area of STEM education, will unlock significant economic value long-term. RDI Hub is passionate about talent development in the region. The STEM Passport Programme will enable us to grow and expand our vision for rural Ireland, ensuring we create a sustainable future for our children and future generations."
The graduation ceremony will see almost 150 senior cycle girls from Munster receive their certificates. The participants and their families will be welcomed to MTU North Campus by MTU President Prof Maggie Cusack and Dr Helena McMahon who has championed the project for the Munster region. Minister for Education Norma Foley has prepared a congratulatory speech for the students and Gervaise Monks COO at Salaso will be a guest speaker for the ceremony.