Carrigaline’s Lauren Andrews Leads WiSTEM School Visit & Brunch
To mark international Women’s Day the UCC WiSTEM society led by Carrigaline native Lauren Andrews, held a series of events in the build-up to showcase the ethos of the society, reaching all ages from primary and second level to both university and professional level.
Initiatives included a Brunch hosted by the society in The River Lee Hotel where €1600 was raised for the Women’s Aid charity. An event like this doesn’t happen overnight and required a lot of planning and the attention to detail and efforts put in were visible on the day due to the calibre of the event itself. The UCC WiSTEM society is into its second year and were joined by the newly founded CIT WiSTEM society co-founded by Douglas native Orlaith McGowan.
The day began with guests being welcomed by the musical talents of Shane Downey (Douglas) and a glass of prosecco or orange juice. Guests consisted of members of the respective WiSTEM societies, UCC alumni, faculty of UCC and CIT along with distinguished guests from industries who have supported the UCC WiSTEM Society since it was founded almost 2 years ago. It was great to see so many local industries such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, PepsiCo, Claran, ThermoFischer Scientific and TeamWork attend and contribute to the success of the day. Lauren Andrews, chairperson officially opened the event with a keynote speech to the 100 guests present. Guests were treated to a delectable 3 course brunch and a raffle, with prizes kindly sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, Accenture, O’Sullivans pharmacy amongst many local businesses. Gillian Dennehy, (a native of Kinsale), of Women’s Aid addressed guests on the work done by Women’s Aid and the support and training the organisation can offer whilst also acknowledging how funds raised from the brunch will be of great benefit to the charity.
Organiser Lauren Andrews thanked all who made the event a success.
In the same week Lauren returned to her alma mater, St. Johns Girls National School in Carrigaline with the UCC WiSTEM Society, where she addressed 180 girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class to report on what she has done since leaving the school almost 11 years ago, how STEM has made an impact on her life and the opportunities STEM holds for the girls in years to come. St. Johns GNS Carrigaline is accredited as a STEM school of excellence with an ethos of ‘meas ar chách’ (respect for all) which in turn resonates with the principles of the UCC WiSTEM society.
It was very nostalgic for Lauren to return to St. Johns whilst very encouraging to receive such a warm welcome from the girls who were all so enthusiastic and engaging on the day and a credit to their school. Lauren held an interactive presentation where the girls had numerous questions about her experience and STEM. The girls’ minds were opened to a world of opportunity that lies ahead of them thanks to STEM along with a message that through hard work and belief in yourself they can go on to do and be whatever they want, regardless of preconceived ideas due to unconscious bias. Due to the collaborative support the UCC WiSTEM society receives from Johnson and Johnson Lauren was able to facilitate a tour for Ms O’Regan’s fifth class to their neighbours Janssen over in Ringaskiddy. The tour was supported by UCC WiSTEM alumni Chloe Aherne and Alysha Walsh, (currently working in Janssen), who brought the girls on a tour of the labs and operations whilst also holding a fun quiz. The girls were blown away by the facilities and learned so much that could never be achieved in a classroom.
Lauren firmly believes in the message ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ and hopes to be a role model to future generations to achieve their dreams and aims to open a door to the opportunities STEM has to offer.