Career Mathways Awards Night
On February 26th 2019, EPISTEM hosted an awards night for the Career Mathways initiative which ran in six schools across Ireland from September 2018 until January 2019. Career Mathways was a novel and exciting, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded project designed for Transition Year students. The project was designed by a team of mathematics education researchers based in EPISTEM, the national centre for STEM education, based in the University of Limerick. The project received funding under the SFI Discover scheme, SFI’s Education and Public Engagement programme which seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). According to SFI “...the mission of this programme is to catalyse, inspire and guide the best in STEM education and public engagement”.
Career Mathways aligns with the goals of the Discover Programme as it seeks to promote STEM, and in particular mathematics, among Transition Year students; their parents; their mathematics teachers as well as career guidance teachers. The initiative aims to highlight the mathematics underpinning a variety of careers, as a way of enhancing student engagement across all STEM subjects. To achieve this goal the project team engaged with several well-known, high profile personalities (e.g. Jacqui Hurley [RTÉ Sports Correspondent]; Lizzie Lyons [TV3 Chef & Entrepreneur]; Dean Strang [‘Making a Murderer’ Lawyer]; Joanna Donnelly [Meteorologist, Met Eireann]) and other professionals, who all kindly volunteered their own time to act as STEM Ambassadors. In their role as STEM Ambassadors these professionals recorded an interview with the Career Mathways research team in which they explored the different types of mathematics they use in their careers and highlighted how important is it to have a good understanding of mathematics and be proficient in the subject. As such, the project sought to make mathematics more visible and fascinating to students and it is hoped that it will help teachers when faced with the common question “Where will I use this again?” For more information on the initiative visit: https://epistem.ie/research/funded-projects/career-mathways.
As part of the initiative, students in participating schools were invited to conduct an interview with a professional in their locality to investigate where and when this person uses mathematics. They then submitted a video containing excerpts from this interview and a poster designed around the interview to the Career Mathways competition which was seen as the culmination of the project. The professions investigated included surgeons, accountants, farmers, baristas, opticians, among others, and the quality of competition entries was extremely high. On February 26th school winners and national winners were recognised at a ceremony held in UL. On the night four students from Ardscoil Rís, Tadhg Cunniffe, Barra Coffey, Alexander Gniazdowski and Ben Murphy, were crowned National competition winners. These students had investigated the role of mathematics in the work of a surgeon. Other winners that were awarded on the night were:
- Alex Knowles, Tadhg Everett, Ciaran Smith, Kevin McGrane (Coláiste Phádraig, Lucan School Winners and Third Place in National Competition)
- Eoin Wood, Alex Walsh, Hamza Bana, Trofim Cernica (Coláiste Phádraig, Lucan Highly Commended);
- Aaron O’Sullivan, Gerard Quaid, Kieran Richardson, Mark Twomey (Ardscoil Rís, Limerick, Highly Commended and Second Place in National Competition);
- Laura Tallon, Abbie Phelan, Leah O’Regan, Kayla Gates (St Leos College Carlow, School Winners)
- Ciara Nolan, Tara Murphy , Caitlin Chapman (St Leos College Carlow, Highly Commended)
- Ella Feenane, Maria Horan, Niamh Ryan (St Brendans Community School Birr, Joint School Winners)
- Grainne Nolan, Lisa Grimes, Emma Miller (St Brendans Community School Birr, Joint School Winners)
- Kate O’Meara, Ciara Dermody, Sarah Brophy, Claire Murphy (St Brendans Community School Birr, Highly Commended)
- Kate Dalton, Teagan Nolan (Crescent Comprehensive School, Limerick, School Winners)
- Emma Hynes, Aisling Reale, Cara Quinlan, Caoimhe Griffin (Crescent Comprehensive School, Limerick, Highly Commended)