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DIT mentoring programme for female STEM students takes flight

Posted: 18 October, 2018

Ninety female students of Engineering and Computer Science in DIT will get the opportunity to be mentored by top women professionals from major multinational and Irish companies as part of the DIT ESTeEM Mentoring Programme.

Esteem - DIT Mentoring Programme

DIT ESTeEM (Equality in Science and Technology by Engaged Engineering Mentoring) aims to attract and retain more women in STEM courses and careers.

Leslie Shoemaker, Programme Facilitator in the DIT College of Engineering and Built Environment started ESTeEM in 2017 to provide an extra layer of support for female Engineering students because there are so few women in that industry. “Due to its success, we are including students from Computer Science this year. Students who participated on the programme last year reported feeling more confident and having an increased understanding of their industry and the career opportunities available to them. They really valued meeting with other female students in their field. We hope the networks they build will help them thrive and succeed in college and beyond.”

Aisling Lee, who participated on the programme last year and has since graduated from DIT, gave a glowing report, “I learned so much from my mentors and my peers. I got lots of interview tips and guidance in soft skills and engineering practices. It helped me get a job as a Business and Integration Architect at a leading company, Accenture, on graduation from DIT last year.”

Leanne Dicker, another DIT graduate who recently took up a position as a Design Engineer at Arup, says, “ESTeEM introduced me to female role models in engineering who offered fantastic guidance and support. I loved how it brought women engineers together to encourage the growth of gender balance in STEM subjects and in the workplace.”

Meda Sigeikina will give a talk at the first event on Monday 22 October on how your goals lead your life journey. Meda, a third-year student in DIT who participated on ESTeEM last year, is the recipient of the Schneider Electric scholarship, which aims to encourage female enrolment in engineering courses in DIT.

Over forty mentors will take part from across the five companies - Arup, ESB, MasterCard, SAP and Schneider Electric - all of whom completed a mentor training session this September led by Engineers Ireland.

This year, ESTeEM is also expanding to secondary schools. Building ESTeEM, a half-day workshop which will take place on November 7 in DIT, will bring professional women mentors from Arup together with transition and fifth year female students from DIT partner schools including Mount Carmel Secondary School, St Joseph’s Secondary School, Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount and Mercy Secondary School. The participating students will be invited to apply for a one-week work placement in Arup.

Edith Blennerhassett, Director at Arup, commented, “I’m looking forward to taking part in the ESTeEM programme again this year. This great initiative allows me to share my experiences and answer the students’ questions about what it is like to work in STEM. Sharing real world examples of some of the exciting work engineers do, as well as the impacts we can have, e.g. improving people’s living standards and reducing the impact of climate change, helps the students to imagine the kind of work they might become involved in once they complete their studies.”

Eszter Kortvelyesi, a BMS Project Engineer for Schneider Electric who is beginning her second year as a mentor on the ESTeEM Programme, says, “I had a fantastic experience on a mentoring programme at Schneider Electric, a company that values diversity and inclusion as integral to their culture and success. It reassured my own career path and it inspired me to get involved with ESTeEM. I’ll be continuing conversations with my mentees from last year, and meeting new talented young women who are joining the programme this year. I hope I can make a difference in their lives and guide them on their career paths by sharing my own experiences as a professional Engineer.”

Claire Whiteway, Senior Professional Civil Engineer at ESB International, says, “I got involved as a mentor for ESTeEM as my own career has been very varied; it involved different organisations, different types of projects, people from different backgrounds and I wanted to pass this on to the next generation of female students. I believe that the increasing role of women in engineering is bringing significant improvements to the delivery of projects and benefits to all our colleagues, clients and the public.”

Riana Roche, Software Engineer at Mastercard and DIT graduate, says, “Mastercard has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to grow and excel as a woman in technology and I want to be able to pay that forward by working with the ESTeEM students. I hope to bring my positive experience and accumulated mentoring knowledge to future women engineers by assisting in their pursuit of a career in technology and to shine a light on the fun side of working in a company like Mastercard.”

Alan Fahey, Vocational Trainer at SAP, says, “Creating a diverse, inclusive, and bias-free culture makes SAP a better company. Diversity fuels our innovation, enhances our engagement with both customers and employees, and helps drive business success in a rapidly changing digital world. We are delighted to participate on the DIT ESTeEM Mentoring Programme - our industry must support female students by providing mentoring and clear, accessible career paths that allow women to reach their full potential in the workplace.”


For more information or imagery, please contact:

Claire Connell, Communications Specialist, 01 402 7130 / 087 6987556 /

Editor’s Notes:

  • The structured ESTeEM mentoring programme consists of a series of lunchtime sessions which run throughout the academic year. The sessions are built around themes such as the importance of building strong connections, the benefits of diversity in the workplace, backing yourself, and how to build your personal brand. The time with the mentors is focused, with only 2-3 students paired with each mentor for the duration of the year.

Dublin Institute of Technology

At Dublin Institute of Technology, innovation is our tradition, and we have produced generations of leaders in a range of fields from science and health; business; law; tourism & hospitality; the creative & visual arts to engineering & the built environment. Our lively City-Centre campuses, including our new research and innovation hub at Grangegorman, are home to more than 20,000 students from Ireland and abroad, creating a culturally diverse and stimulating learning and research environment.


Founded by Ove Arup in 1946, Arup provides multidisciplinary engineering and consultancy services and has built a reputation for unrivalled quality, local expertise and knowledge. Arup has five offices in Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Belfast).

Engineers Ireland

With over 25,000 members from every discipline of engineering, Engineers Ireland is the voice of the engineering profession in Ireland. We have been representing the engineering profession since 1835, making us one of the oldest and largest professional bodies in Ireland. Members come from every discipline of engineering, and range from engineering students to fellows of the profession.


ESB is Ireland’s leading energy company established in 1927. Since its foundation, ESB has brought light and energy to communities in Ireland and beyond, helping them to reach their full potential. Today, ESB is leading the transition to a low carbon energy future, powered by clean electricity. This involves investing in low carbon and renewable generation, developing a smart network capable of supporting the further electrification of society and empowering customers to take more control over their energy use.


Mastercard is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. 


As the market leader in enterprise application software, SAP is at the center of today’s business and technology revolution. SAP helps companies streamline their processes, giving them the ability to use real-time data to predict customer trends across their entire business. SAP is committed to helping every customer become a best-run business.

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management and automation with operations in more than 100 countries around the world. Schneider offers a scholarship to the value of €3000 for one female student in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at DIT.