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ESTeEM celebrates the end of another triumphant year

Posted: 1 April, 2019

The sun was shining as ninety female students of Computer Science, and Engineering at TU Dublin arrived in Gleeson Hall for their final mentoring gathering as part of the TU Dublin ESTeEM programme.

TU Dublin ESTeEM (Equality in Science and Technology by Engaged Educational Mentoring) was founded in 2017 and aims to attract and retain more women in STEM courses.

Leslie Shoemaker, Coordinator of the ESTeEM Mentoring Project, says the programme provides young women with an extra layer of support in the male-dominated engineering and technology sectors. "The programme has tripled in size since we began in 2017, with approximately 100 young women receiving mentorship from working professionals in Arup, Schneider Electric, SAP, ESB and MasterCard. Through a number of informal mentoring sessions, student participants get a practical understanding of their industry and the career opportunities available to them. Many students report feeling more confident about beginning a search for a job once they finish University, and they enjoy building their networks with other young women participating in the programme.”

Speaking at Thursday’s event, Grainne Wafer, Global Vice President, at SAP SuccessFactors said it was a pleasure to spend the last six months surrounded by the exceptional talent of TU Dublin students of Engineering and Computer Science. She also spoke of how achieving a gender balance in the workplace was just one aspect of encouraging diversity, and that programmes supporting LGBT+, older and neurodiverse employees were also at the top of SAP's agenda. 

The theme of the final ESTeEM gathering was Building your Personal Brand with Communications and Events Lead at SAP, Jenny Kavanagh giving a fascinating talk about the subject. Jenny also encouraged the ESTeEM participants to start building their networks while in college through the Students’ Union, societies and clubs, and by fully grasping the opportunities presented by initiatives like ESTeEM.

This year, ESTeEM also expanded to secondary schools with the hugely successful Building ESTeEM event taking place in Grangegorman on International Women’s Day. Building ESTeEM, coordinated by the Access and Civic Engagement Office at TU Dublin, aims to challenge myths around STEM by exploring the diversity of career opportunities for girls and offer fun, meaningful confidence-building activities aimed at increasing participation in higher education.