STEM Teacher Internships
In 2016, Dublin City University, Accenture and the 30% Club launched a pilot internship programme aimed at highlighting the careers available in STEM to pre-service STEM teachers as well as giving them hands-on experience of STEM careers in a corporate environment. Through the support of the 30% Club and Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) group, the programme has been expanded to more companies and to date, eleven third year students from the BSc Science Education at Dublin City University have completed a twelve-week paid internship in Accenture, AIB and Intel.
In 2018, the programme will see further expansion with more companies including Vodafone offering internships and inclusion of students from the B.Ed Primary Teacher Education specialising in Digital Learning. The long-term aim is to introduce the STEM Student Teacher Internship to all teaching programmes on offer at DCU and make this Internship a formal part of course accreditation.
Objectives of this programme
The interns are recruited as a part of the team and given a variety of roles in data analysis, coding, testing and project development. The authentic, first-hand experience of applying STEM in work environment as well as exposure to other STEM professionals empowers the teachers to confidently articulate the breadth and vast range of possibilities from a STEM career. It enables them to draw upon their own experience and the personal relationships they establish with other STEM professionals when it comes to advising their student’s career choices.
Feedback from programme partners:
“At DCU our student teachers engage with educators who are at the cutting edge of knowledge and practice in 21st Century education, particularly in the area of STEM education. Our students, the educators of tomorrow, will have a key role to play in sparking and encouraging interest in STEM subjects, particularly amongst young female students. This initiative is an important step in tackling the negative stereotypes and challenges that exist when helping young women to explore the potential and opportunities of STEM careers.” Brian MacCraith, President, DCU
“The 30% Club works with business leaders to increase the representation of women at senior levels. While the reasons behind the current gender imbalance are varied, in certain sectors STEM backgrounds are important to career advancement. Take-up by girls and young women of STEM subjects is, therefore, an important challenge. We believe increasing teacher appreciation of STEM-related career opportunities will support teachers in encouraging girls to study these subjects. The internship programme is a particularly effective way to do this; we are grateful to DCU and Accenture for their leadership and strongly welcome other companies taking part”. Brid Horan, 30% Club Steering Committee
“The reports of latest research by Accenture highlight the challenge that continues to exist in trying to equip teachers with the knowledge to inform younger females of the opportunities presented by a STEM career. As Ireland continues to position itself as the epicentre of the world’s digital economy, we need to future proof the talent pipeline, so that half the population is not excluded from the opportunities that STEM presents and to this end, industry has a role to play. As the first cohort of interns taken on by Accenture in 2016 have started their teaching careers, their exposure to hands-on industry experience has started to translate into them being better positioned to provide guidance, encouragement and bring their experience to life in the classroom”. Paula Neary, MD, Accenture
“Intel’s contribution to STEM education in Ireland has been enhanced by our collaboration in this Internship Programme. Intel are currently involved in a collaborative project to deliver the ‘Coding in Action’ short course for Junior Cert students and our contribution to this initiative was strengthened by having a future STEM teacher involved in this process. We are now strongly connected with this Intern and hope to continue this relationship with Helen, and with her future school(s) as well as her network of teacher colleagues. We believe these connections are very beneficial to our STEM outreach programme and value the opportunity to work directly with the teaching community”. Sarah Sexton, Communications Manager, Intel Ireland.
“I was delighted to see this programme deliver successfully because it supports diversity in STEM and brings technology and education closer together. It is definitely something I would like to see more of”. Tim Hynes, Chief Information Officer, AIB
What the educators have to say:
“This programme offers pre-service STEM teachers a unique opportunity to gain experience of working in STEM and deepen their awareness of careers and the variety of roles that STEM graduates take on in organisations. The impact of this programme is such that it extends pre-service teachers competences and knowledge of STEM and enhances the teaching and learning of STEM in their classrooms/schools. Eilish McLoughlin, CASTeL/School of Physical Sciences, DCU.
” This intern programme is a wonderful example of a Smart Partnerships which enables our student teachers to experience and understand at first-hand how STEM principles are used to design and develop innovative solutions for living and thriving in the globally connected complex world of today. By engaging with this innovative programme our students can come to appreciate the key challenges and range of expertise necessary in solving real-world problems whilst developing important skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, team-building and skilled communication. Deirdre Butler, CASTeL/Institute of Education, DCU.
“Overall, I believe that the internship allowed me to broaden my knowledge and scope on the industries that are out there to students who study STEM subjects and also understand why there is a lack of females in this area. The stereotype is slowly being broken down about STEM being best suited towards males and the jobs/careers that are available to graduates are both surprising and endless. It has allowed me to change my way of teaching and develop my classes into situations of both learning and working as teams which happens in real life”. Sean O’Donnell, Teacher In Adamstown Community College / Accenture Stem Teacher Intern 2016
“While most schools in Ireland operate a broad based curriculum, many are increasingly facilitating STEM linked subjects. This provides choice for students and their parents who recognise that excellence in these areas will open opportunities for learning and employment in the future. There is an increase realisation that skills in coding, applied mathematics and technology will greatly assist students who move on to take further education in these areas”. Des Newton, Principal Of Adamstown Community College
What the interns have to say:
“My overall experience throughout my internship with Accenture has been incredible. I f part of the community within Accenture, getting to meet amazing and inspiring people and learning so much about the corporate and STEM world. For me as a teacher, I think it’s so important that I had this experience and got involved in the company, both professionally and socially. It’s been such a memorable and enjoyable experience throughout the entire summer and I’m really glad I took part“. Chloe Carroll, Accenture Stem Teacher Intern 2017
“I found the STEM Teacher Summer Internship in Intel extremely beneficial. I was placed in a real industry project and settled in straight away, learning from the word go. I felt that it helped me to develop skills that will be a tremendous help in my future career. I’m so glad that I took part and I would encourage for anyone given the opportunity to grab it with both hands”. Helen Keenan, Intel STEM Teacher Intern 2017.
One of the most important things I learnt from my internship in AIB was the significance of technology applied to banking. I had the opportunity to work in many different departments where I learnt a range of different skills. I think the STEM internship is a huge opportunity for teachers, it gives us the chance to understand the wide variety of careers that subjects like science and maths offer. It has also highlighted to me skills that I can pass on in the classroom which can be of benefit to students who wish to pursue these careers”. Julie Robinson, AIB Stem Teacher Intern 2017
For further information:
Please reach out to the STEM Internship Programme Coordinator at Dublin City University firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if you are interested.
Download the 2018 Programme Brochure: STEM Teacher Internship 2018