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Professor Sylvia Draper

Dean of the Faculty of STEM, Trinity College Dublin

Professor Sylvia Draper (pictured centre right) with the first five undergraduate recipients of the Trinity College and Three Connect to STEM scholarships.

There are potential economic and societal benefits of increasing broader participation in STEM subjects and from reaching out to those under-represented.

Reducing occupational segregation is not only a step toward greater equality of opportunity but it also fosters economic growth. An environment in which people bring their ‘whole selves’ and their ‘diverse perspectives’ to the field of work increases productivity. It ensures that goods and services are evaluated by a diverse group of creators and end-users. 

Wider talent pool 

Some undergraduate programmes within STEM find attracting diverse talent challenging; these include Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science and Statistics. Biological or Environmental fields with broader appeal, have helped us rethink why, how and what we teach from a disciplinary perspective.  

Supportive programmes 

In Trinity College Dublin, multi-disciplinary undergraduate degree programmes like Environmental Science and Engineering, and new joint honours programmes, such as Computer Science and Geography, are making a difference in increasing the participation of women.  

Some undergraduate programmes within STEM find attracting diverse talent challenging.

Trinity was one of the first institutions in Ireland to receive an Athena SWAN bronze medal award for its concerted efforts in this area. In 2022, seven of the eight schools in STEM have now attained bronze school awards. Each has developed an action plan for identifying and reducing obstacles to equality and inclusion and made changes within its structures, cultures and curricula.  

In response, we are seeing the percentage of women in the student body increasing. However, it is not just the number of students that demonstrates that positive progress is being made. It is also in the degree outcomes, career destinations and research successes of our growing participants.  

Creating opportunities  

With THREE Ireland, STEM in Trinity is delighted to offer financial and mentoring support to 25 worthy undergraduates across the four years of their STEM degree programmes. The first of these have started their career journeys, pursuing their personal ambitions while being ambassadors for diversity. As their STEM allies and supporters, we are inspired to think differently about how we view ourselves and how we seek to influence the world. 

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