Former President of Ireland and current chair for elders Mary Robinson will speak to over 3,000 female teenage students at the 10th annual I Wish Showcase at the RDS Dublin on 8 February. Joining her at the annual event that inspires teenage girls towards careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) will be Irish science communicator, scientist and entrepreneur Ciara Judge, who spoke at the first I Wish event in 2015 after her BT Young Scientist Award and Google Science Fair wins.
Over the last 10 years, I Wish has engaged with over 60,000 students along with partnering with over 50 industry partners and 80 I Wish ambassadors.
Speaking ahead of the event, Ciara Judge said: “As a young girl I benefitted hugely from my involvement in youth science. I found my passion and future career and have had the opportunity to travel the world and make a difference. Showing these young women that there is so much more to careers in STEM than just being stuck in a lab all day, is an absolute privilege and I am so grateful that I Wish has invited me back.”
Multi-award-winning diversity and inclusion speaker and author, Furkan Karayel will also speak at the event while MC is 2FM DJ and the new host of Ireland’s Fittest Family, Laura Fox. More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. There will also be over 30 exhibitors including Deloitte. Registration for the event is still open at iwish.ie/register.
The upcoming 2024 I Wish Showcase aims to shift the narrative surrounding careers in STEM. In their recent report, I Wish identified a significant gap where many girls struggle to connect their work-related values with the perceived values of a STEM career. The Showcase will address this by featuring inspiring STEM role models who exemplify how careers in STEM can fulfil the work-related values these young women seek, including opportunities to travel, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and making a positive contribution to the world they inhabit.
Speaking on the event, I Wish co-founder Gillian Keating said: “Just weeks out from our 10th Showcase, we reflect on how far we have come in the past decade. We started with a dream to deliver change by positively influencing the next generation of young women to increase female participation in STEM. We never thought I Wish would evolve in the way that it did.
“We have seen significant positive change, we have seen increases in uptake in STEM college courses, and we have seen improvement in gender equality in STEM. However, it is clear that we need to continue to deliver I Wish to girls — both in secondary school and in primary — to ensure they make an informed choice about their future. Knowledge is key to the gateway to their future. How we deliver it to the next generation is certainly on us.”
Beginning with an annual showcase, I Wish has now expanded its activities to a year-round suite of programmes, including a Tech for Good programme and entrepreneurship programmes. This year it will pilot an I Wish Primary programme.
I Wish has extended its partnership with Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann for 2024, with complimentary train services from multiple locations across Ireland along with busses from Cork and Kildare. Busses will also be transporting students to and from Heuston Station on the day.