Newbridge girls mission to Mars

STEM

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Newbridge girls mission to mars

Helen Concannon, Chief Commissioner Irish Girls Guide, Rosemary Steen, Director External Affairs EirGrid with Caoimhe Brady, Elizabeth Meehan and Abigail Coates, all from Irish Girls Guide, Newbridge

Three Newbridge girl guides took part in a Mission to Mars Lego Robotics Summer Academy in Dublin City University this week.

The girls, Abigail Coates, Caoimhe Brady and Elizabeth Meehan joined members of Irish Girl Guides from around the country at the week-long course organised by the DCU Lego Education Innovation Studio.

During the academy the girls, aged 14-22, had hands-on experience making Lego robots, which they learned to manoeuvre using programming. They gained a range of skills in computational thinking, engineering and programming during the course, which was engaging and hands-on.

The course was designed to encourage the girls to take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and college and to consider pursuing careers in STEM.

Rosemary Steen, Director of Public Affairs at Eirgrid, had some good advice for the girls.

“To work in STEM you have to be open-minded, not afraid of change. Keep learning and growing. Try to manoeuvre around until you find what might work for you as a career,” she said.

The girls also had a Skype call with Dr Niamh Shaw, who recently took part in a simulated Mars mission in the Utah desert. Dr Shaw is lecturer at the International Space University’s annual Space Studies Programme in Cork.

Abigail Coates (17) said she really enjoyed the week.

“We got to do hands-on physical work where we have seen the process take place; we got to make the magic happen with the robots.”

Caoimhe Brady (16) added that she found the week really interesting and quite fun.

“I’ve always been really interested in STEM but I go to an all girls’ school so I never really got the opportunity to pursue it as a subject; I like to do it after school. So I thought this week was really interesting to see what it’s like to pursue a career in STEM as a woman.”

And Elizabeth Meehan (15) said her highlight was researching about space and learning about how human life can survive in space and about astronauts’ daily routines.

“I enjoyed building the Lego and programming the robots.”