Offaly sisters take part in Mission to Mars

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Helen Concannon, Irish Girls Guides, Rosemary Steen, EirGrid, with Irish Girls Guide, Nora-May Pearman Howard, Longford, Aisling and Aoife Guinan from Offaly

Helen Concannon, Irish Girls Guides, Rosemary Steen, EirGrid, with Irish Girls Guide, Nora-May Pearman Howard, Longford, Aisling and Aoife Guinan from Offaly

Two Birr sisters took part in a Mission to Mars Lego Robotics Summer Academy in Dublin City University (DCU) last week.

Aoife (15) and Aisling (22) Guinan joined members of the Irish Girl Guides from around the country at the week-long course organised by the DCU Lego Education Innovation Studio.

During the academy the girls had hands-on experience making Lego robots, which they learned to manoeuvre using programming. They gained a range of skills in computational thinking, engineering and programming during the course, which was engaging and hands-on.

The course was designed to encourage the girls to take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and college and to consider pursuing careers in STEM.

Rosemary Steen, Director of Public Affairs at Eirgrid, told them: “To work in STEM you have to be open-minded, not afraid of change. Keep learning and growing. Try to manoeuvre around until you find what might work for you as a career.”

The girls also had a Skype call with Dr Niamh Shaw, who recently took part in a simulated Mars mission in the Utah desert. Dr Shaw is lecturer at the International Space University’s annual Space Studies Programme in Cork.

Aisling said: “I actually work in STEM - I am a web developer - but I have never had the chance to get hands-on with the hardware side of things, with robotics, so it’s been a really cool week to learn about the robotics, engineering side of things and a little about space; it’s been really cool.”

Aoife said: “I really enjoyed this week because I got to learn a lot of new stuff about coding and programming and building robots, which is something I’ve been really interested in since I was about 7 or 8, and I got to make a lot of new friends who have the same interests as me. I’d be really interested in having a STEM career because I love practical work because everything makes sense, everything has its place and I really like engineering – I like working things out and problem-solving.”

Irish Girl Guides welcomes new youth members from age 5+ and adult volunteers from age 18+. To find out more, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or tel: 01 6683898.

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