Pictures: Awards programme supports women in STEM

Ten winning students on Johnson and Johnson's WiSteM2D programme in partnership with the University of Limerick were presented with bursaries during a ceremony in UL. Three runners up where also presented with an award. Pictured at the event in the University of Limerick were Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2d bursary recipient, Cliodhna OÕShea, Financial Maths, from Corbally, Limerick. Picture: Alan Place

TEN female students were presented with bursaries by Limerick-based global healthcare company Johnson and Johnson (J&J) as part of a special awards programme at the University of Limerick on Monday.

The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design (WiSTEM2D) programme is part of J&J’s commitment to developing strategies to support female students undertaking STEM2D degree courses at UL and in universities around the world.


UL is one of 13 universities worldwide to participate in the programme, with University College Cork joining earlier this year.

The students were selected for the programme following a rigorous application process and one-to-one interviews. They will shortly be assigned a J&J female role model who will support and mentor them as well as developing their STEM networks in the industry.

As the programme enters into its third year at the University of Limerick, research conducted amongst UL students revealed that 29 per cent of STEM undergraduates do not know what jobs to apply for, and of the 56 per cent of students who haven’t visited an industry facility, 66 per cent were female.

The WiSTEM2D programme offers young women studying STEM2D courses the opportunity to engage with women working in those careers. First-hand experience of site tours, mentoring, project and career workshops enable students to visualise exactly what it is like to have a career in STEM.

Anna Rafferty, Head of External Affairs at Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of J&J, said that women are greatly under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland and WiSTEM2D was designed to combat potential isolation among female students and to support them in their third level studies.

“As we look to building the workforce of the future, we are committed to supporting women in STEM, allowing us to develop the talent pipeline by nurturing and mentoring our future female STEM leaders.”

WiSTEM2D student Ciara Olsthoorn said that one of the most positive aspects of the collaboration was the opportunity to develop connections within their peer network.

“This resulted in the students setting up the WiSTEM2D Society to support women in STEM, where we can share our experiences and support each other which is incredibly positive and rewarding.”


The ten winning students are:

  • Aisling Greaney, Limerick City;
  • Alannah Aherne, Ennis;
  • Cliodhna O’Shea, Corbally;
  • Ellen Liu, Castletroy;
  • Fiona Neylon, Ennis;
  • Iva Gregovic, Raheen;
  • Jiale Ryan, Corbally;
  • Maya Brennan,Castletroy;
  • Niamh Munday, Enniskeane, Cork;
  • Siobhán Regan, Moycullen, Galway.

The top three runners-up were:

  • Jane Quigley, Rhebogue;
  • Emer O’Brien, Clarinbridge;
  • Ruth Butler, Monaleen.