DePuy Ireland Unlimited Company (DePuy Ireland) has held its first Virtual STEM Academy Programme event which saw 150 students from four Cork primary schools in attendance.
The event marks the completion of DePuy Ireland’s two-year STEM Pilot Outreach Programme and launches the Virtual STEM Academy Programme for the 2020/21 academic year.
The STEM Academy Programme is designed to inspire and encourage children to engage in future studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.
Teachers and pupils of Cork schools, Scoil Bhríde in Rathcormac, Scoil Mhuire in Ballincollig, Watergrasshill National School and St Paul’s School in Montenotte attended the Virtual STEM Academy Programme launch event, which included a video event featuring testimonials of past participants, principals, teachers and volunteers.
Principal of Scoil Mhuire, Mairéad Ní Mhurchú, said that her students are “really excited” to take part in the programme which she said is “a great tool that allows our teachers to encourage students to engage in innovative thinking and explore the possibilities associated with a career in STEM”.
Over the past year, the programme has reached over 10,000 Irish primary school students, teaching STEM-related subjects including robotics, 3D printing, sustainability and virtual reality as part of our Lego Mindstorms, Dash and Dot Robotics and 3D printing programmes.
This year, the impact of Covid-19 has seen DePuy Ireland move its STEM Academy Programme to a virtual format.
A team of volunteers led by Susan Dunlea from DePuy Ireland’s Engineering, Science and Technology Group have prepared a bank of virtual lessons for the outreach programme and have allocated time for online training and assistance for schools and teachers engaging with the programme.
Participating schools have also been provided with equipment required to run their own STEM Academy Programmes, including 3D printers and consumables, wonder packs for Dash and Dot robotics and IT equipment.
Global Leader Manufacturing, Engineering, Science and Technology at DePuy Ireland, Gary Clerkin, said that Johnson & Johnson “recognise the importance of creating future generations of life changing scientists and engineers”.
“So far this year, we’ve reached over 10,000 children in a safe and socially distanced way. It is important for us to show all children, regardless of gender, socio-economic background and ethnicity, that a future in STEM is an exciting possibility, and one that we’re committed to supporting,” he said.