Junior Achievement Ireland alongside MSD celebrates women in science and works to increase the talent pipeline

Aoife KellyNational

To celebrate women in science, Junior Achievement Ireland was delighted to host volunteers from MSD who delivered JA Inspires talks to girls from 1st to 5th year at St Joseph’s of Cluny school, County Dublin.

‘It is so beneficial for the girls to hear the career paths of others and get inspiration.”

JA Inspires is a career talk followed by a Q&A which showcases the important stories JA volunteers have to tell. Students learn from role models from the world of work about their career and educational paths – inspiring students to see themselves in similar careers and to realise that skills they acquire at school are transferable to the workplace.

”It made me realise how we have all struggled with the same worries or challenges in our careers.”

Junior Achievement Ireland was joined by 5 successful women from MSD Women’s Network each delivering a virtual presentation to the students of St. Joseph’s.  There was a huge range of careers and roles for the girls to listen to and understand different trajectories; Triona Doherty – Vaccines Communications Manager, Caoimhe. O’Riordan, Senior Scientist, Sterile Drug Product Commercialisation, Ingrid Miller – HR Operations Specialist Maureen Prendergast – Veterinary Technical Manager of Integrated Livestock for MSD Animal Health and Eva Gallagher,  Site Lead, MSD Dunboyne. As Ciara O’Riordan, teacher at St Joseph of Cluny told us “It is so beneficial for the girls to hear the career paths of others and get inspiration.”

The event was inspiring to all with Triona Dohertystating“It was great to connect with the students of St Joseph of Cluny as part of the International Women’s Day event. Even though I was there to share my career story, I learned so much from my colleagues and their individual journeys. It was a great reminder that no one has it all figured out, whether you’re 17 or 87! We are always learning and evolving – say yes to the opportunities that scare you, trust the process and it always works out for the better.”

Caoimhe. O’Riordan, Senior Scientist, Sterile Drug Product Commercialisation, reflected that “It was such a unique experience to be able to hear the career journeys of lots of amazing women working in our organisation. Sometimes it can feel like you are alone in how you are feeling, however hearing us all share our stories made me realise how we have all struggled with the same worries or challenges in our careers.”

Their wealth of experience and stories showed that, despite their different roles, there were some common messages and advice for the girls such as that your whole life is a learning journey that doesn’t stop at school or college, and that often the greatest learning comes from mistakes or the unexpected.

Eva Gallagher,  Site Lead, MSD Dunboynesaid “What an honour and privilege to share our career stories with the students of St. Joseph of Cluny on International Women’s day. We really hope to see these fantastic girls working in MSD in the not too distant future”

Many thanks to our dedicated volunteers at MSD, to Shauneen Strong at MSD for making this event happen, and to Sinead Tuite, head of the European Women’s Network at MSD, who summed up the day by saying “What a wonderful way to kick off our International Women’s Day celebrations, sharing stories of challenge and achievement with our young leaders of the future. Our path in life is winding so take heart girls, try things out and over time your path will become clear, have fun and invest in your friendships along the way, together we are stronger.”