A group of female secondary school students last Friday visited Beckman Coulter’s site and met with senior management and scientists and got a close-up view of the company’s work.
St Joseph’s secondary school in Tulla has developed a unique collaboration called GiftED with the biomedical devices maker to encourage girls to consider science and engineering careers.
The Tulla school’s Science and Maths Teacher Mairead O’Brien explains: “The aim of the GiftED programme (Girls Inspired for Technology) is to encourage young female students to consider opting for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at senior cycle and third level.”
Studies have shown that early intervention is key to guiding female students into the technology and science based areas of education. Having support from mentors, teachers, peers and parents is proven to counter gendered stereotypes and create spaces for girls to build confidence in their ability to succeed in maths and science.
Beckman Coulter Senior HR Manager Karen Kelly welcomed the students to the site. She said: “We are committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in supporting girls to explore STEM careers. We were excited to facilitate the students having an informal lunch with their future female mentors from Beckman Coulter who will provide support to the girls as they embark on science projects in the coming weeks.”
Mairead O’Brien added: “Stage one of the programme consisted of a guided tour around the laboratories and grounds of Beckman Coulter. The girls witnessed first-hand how the company manufacture a unique range of diagnostic solutions which help medical professionals assess, diagnose and monitor conditions such as cardiac disease, metabolic functions, infectious diseases, blood disorders, cancer and many more.
“The students also witnessed the low environmental impact the company has on our local landscape by disposing of their own organic waste using their sewage treatment system and wormery along with their low carbon footprint. This is supported by the site opting for a wood-chip burner to harness renewable energy. We had a most enjoyable day. It has definitely inspired our young ladies to consider a career in science and engineering.”
Beckman Coulter is situated at O’Callaghan’s Mills, near Tulla and employs approx. 400 people including scientists, laboratory technicians and engineers. Beckman Coulter’s Irish site is a successfully gender balanced workplace with a 54pc to 46pc ratio of females to males at the site, and a 50pc to 50pc representation of men and women in senior management roles.
Beckman Coulter Site Director Orlaith Lawler, said: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome the girls from St. Joseph’s to our home. It’s the first step in what we hope will be a fruitful and rewarding collaboration with St. Joseph’s. With the GiftED programme, we want to highlight the pathways open to girls through STEM, to open their eyes to the many possibilities that a career in science can offer, and to give them an opportunity to hear first-hand from and be inspired by some of Beckman Coulter’s talented female scientists.”