Adults and children across the Kerry region are gearing up for what promises to be a busy week of exhibitions, experiments and workshops, as the inaugural Kerry Science Festival is almost upon us. The jam-packed programme of events, which runs from Sunday 13th November to Sunday 20th November, includes free activities and public engagement events to intrigue and enlighten people of all ages. Aside from encouraging young and mature minds across the board to delve into the complex world of science in a fun and engaging way, one of the key objectives of the festival is to appeal to young women who may be considering a career in the field of science and technology. There is currently an obvious and worrying lack of gender diversity within the industry, with only 10 percent of women occupying positions within the engineering sector. This alarming statistic also filters through to the ICT sector in Ireland, with the current ratio of male to female employees lying at 81:19. Given the fact that ICT continues to prove itself as one of the most resilient industries in terms of employment opportunities and remained relatively unscathed during the 2008 financial crisis, this imbalance becomes all the more difficult to understand. However, with the recent development of the EU’s ‘Digital and Jobs Coalition’, which encourages ease of access to digital skills across a wide range of education levels, the range of possibilities and opportunities available to both genders continues to increase. In order to highlight the exciting job opportunities for women in STEM, Kerry Science Festival will host the very first Girls Hackathon in Kerry, which will take place in association with Microsoft. This event aims to enlighten more young women about the opportunities in the digital technology sector and encourages them to get creative with code.
A number of schools across the county have been twinned with local companies and will jointly host events. Companies operating in the STEM sector are also encouraged to consider hosting their own events as part of the festival, showcasing where STEM can be found in their business activities. IT Tralee’s STEM Showcase, which is one of the highlights of the week, takes place on Saturday 19th from 11am-5pm. This day will feature a range of activities from company career talks and panel discussions facilitated by Lecturer and Broadcaster Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin to free interactive childrens workshops and shows. A full day of family fun is guaranteed!
Details on all of the events as part of Kerry Science Festival can be found at www.kerryscience.com.
Kerry Science Festival events are free, but many will require registration as places on interactive workshops are limited. If you are interested in hosting such a Local Kerry Science Festival event, please contact Dr. Noel Mulligan, Head of Department Biological & Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee by emailing **firstname.lastname@example.org*