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Equality & Diversity News
Award for E&D Committee undergraduate member
Congratulations to our E&D committee undergraduate student representative, Deborah Malone, who was awarded a University Scholarship at the recent annual Student Awards ceremony.
10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education
On August 20th, 2018, Miriam Byrne, Chair of our Equality and Diversity Committee, participated in a panel discussion ‘Women in Physics - Where are they and who is supporting the pipeline?’, at the 10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education, held at Trinity College Dublin.
The panellists are pictured above (L-R: Dr Regina Kelly, UL; Niamh Kavanagh, Tyndall Institute, UCC; Dr. Miriam Byrne, NUIG; Prof Prof Nicola Wilkin, University of Birmingham; Dr. Yvonne Kavanagh, Carlow IT (and panel chair); Deirdre O Neill, DCU; Dr. Sheila Gilheany, IOP Ireland).
Each panellist described their own career path in Physics, and Miriam told the audience how, in 1999, she had been the first female member of permanent academic staff appointed in the NUIG School of Physics; happily, our gender representation is much improved today!
We warmly welcome our newest academic staff member, Dr. Patricia Scully.
Patricia joined us this summer from the University of Manchester, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Sensor Instrumentation in The Photon Science Institute and the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science. She has extensive experience of leading industrial and research council/government funded research projects at national and international level, and in teaching Physics (and associated subjects) to large and small classes. Her research interests include optical sensing and measurement, photonic devices, femtosecond lasers for photonic structuring, and assistive technology for healthcare applications. At NUIG, Patricia will be developing a research laboratory in optical instrumentation.
Patricia’s arrival boosts our female academic staff number from three to four (an increase from 17% to 22%), which is a welcome development!
Mental Health Assist Training in the School of Physics
The E&D committee warmly congratulate Conor McBrierty, School of Physics Senior Technical Officer, who has been nominated by the Students’ Union for a Mental Health Activist Award.
Conor is one of the first trained Mental Health First Aiders in NUI Galway, and has been a long-time advocate for mental health training for staff and students. Conor has been knocking on many doors around the university, and a joint approach by Conor and Deborah Malone (E &D committee student member) to the Student’s Union has paved the way for the planned inclusion of Mental Health Assist ½-day training in the Staff Training and Development schedule.
Prior to this training being available as standard, and inspired by Conor’s work in this area, the School of Physics E&D committee have organised and are hosting a Mental Health Assist workshop, facilitated by Lisa Shanahan, Senior Clinical Psychologist, on April 25th 2018, and have had an excellent response from colleagues in other disciplines who have been invited to participate. We look forward to a very successful and beneficial workshop!
SoP Poster to celebrate International Women’s Day
How successful are women in Physics in Ireland?
This poster, mounted in the School of Physics to celebrate International Women’s Day, will answer this question!
Members of the School's Equality and Diversity Committee are shown here at the poster "unveiling", near the 2nd Year Physics labs. From left to right: Ray Butler, Deborah Malone, Tara Shanahan, Miriam Byrne, Jurgita Ovadnevaite, Aoife Cook, Alison Connolly, and Gerard O'Connor.
Our Jurgita provided the Nature cover story!
Many congratulations to Jurgita Ovadnevaite, postdoctoral researcher, and member of our Equality and Diversity Committee, for her first-authored (AND the cover story!) Nature paper (Vol 546, June 2017), on the subject of “Surface tension prevails over solute effect in organic-influenced cloud droplet activation”. Jurgita is pictured here with co-authors Darius Ceburnis and Colin O Dowd
Institute of Physics awards Mary Somerville Medal to our Jessamyn!
We warmly congratulate our colleague Dr Jessamyn Fairfield who has been honoured with the Mary Somerville Medal from the Institute of Physics in what they have deemed her “stellar work as a public speaker and writer on physics for a popular audience, and for having organised and hosted many innovative events bringing physics to the Irish public.”
You can read more about the award and about Jessamyn’s work here: http://www.iop.org/about/awards/early-career/mary-somerville/page_69687.html
July 2017: A Busy Month for Gender Equality!
The GIREP-ICPE-EPEC 2017 conference took place in Dublin City University, 3rd-7th July with the theme - "Bridging Research and Practice in Physics Teaching and Learning", and Miriam Byrne, Chair of the NUI Physics Equality and Diversity Committee, participated in a special symposium on Women in Physics. Miriam spoke about Project Juno in Ireland, alongside Eilish McLoughlin (DCU), Hideo Nitta (Tokyo Gakugei University Japan); Silvina Ponce Dawson (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Yvonne Kavanagh (IT Carlow), Miriam Byrne (NUI Galway), Charles Tracy (IOP), Sheila Gilheany (IOP), Cait MacPhee (University of Edinburgh)
Miriam was also a member of the Irish team, led by Yvonne Kavanagh (IT Carlow), who presented a paper and a poster at the 2017 International Women in Physics Conference, held at the University of Birmingham. Malala Yousafzai was a distinguished guest at the conference, and she is pictured here with the Irish poster in the background!
Women who changed the world - Nobel Prize winners
For International Women's Day...a video on women who have won the Nobel Prize:
Literary mastery, pioneering science, life-saving discoveries and actions for peace and human rights – achievements of women around the world awarded the Nobel Prize. Learn more about the impactful work of these Laureates at Nobelprize.org.
Photos: Ulla Montan, Alexander Mahmoud, Nobelprize.org. Music: Epidemic Sound.
Applications open for the IOP Carers' Fund
Any IOP member can apply to the IOP Carers' Fund for up to £250 to help with the costs of additional caring for children or other dependents that may be required if you were to be attending a physics related conference or event.
The application process is short, and favours early applicants because the total grant fund available each year for awarding to successful applicants is limited and each application is reviewed by date received. In any one year, £2500 will be allocated between January and June, and the same amount between July and December.
Gone in 2016: 10 notable women in science and technology we lost last year
There are four physicists among the ten remarkable women featured in this article from Scientific American.
All are sadly missed, but their contributions and discoveries live on.
Physics Xmas Party 2016: Karaoke!
A few snaps of the fun Karaoke at our school's Xmas Party at the Cellar Bar in Galway. Thanks go to the postgrads for organizing the party!
NUIG Equality & Diversity Update Newsletter, December 2016
The first newsletter from the new Office of the Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, with updates on a wide range of recent achievements and initiatives from across campus (including a number of mentions of our Juno work), can be viewed by clicking on the banner image below:
We will link to this series of newsletters here as they are published.
Juno Champion Application - Submitted!
Our Juno Champion Application was submitted on November 18th, after many weeks and months of hard work.
We are proud of our submission, and eagerly await the assessor’s review.
Meanwhile, our work on Project Juno continues!
Conor McBrierty receives Teaching Award
The Juno Committee is delighted to congratulate Mr. Conor McBrierty, Senior Technical Officer in the School of Physics, for receiving a Teaching Excellence Award at the October 2016 conferring ceremony. Conor is the first ever technical officer to receive a teaching award at NUI Galway, and he was nominated by 3rd year undergraduate students, who greatly appreciate how he enriches their laboratory learning experience. Well done, Conor!
Physics Dodgeball Tournament 2016
The annual staff vs. postgraduate Dodgeball tournament took place on October 7th, 2016. This is a friendly sporting event, accompanied by refreshments, that promotes collegiality across the School. This year, the postgrads teams had the upper hand, and the photos show Niamh Fitzgerald receiving the trophy on their behalf from Prof Andy Shearer, Head of School. Congratulations postgrads!
Juno Committee welcomes Vice President for Equality and Diversity
The Juno Committee is delighted to welcome Professor Anne Scott to the role of Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. Professor Scott is formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Community in Liverpool John Moores University. She has worked as an academic and academic leader in the Scottish, Irish and currently the English Higher Education Systems. She held the post of Head of the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University (2000-2006), and in February 2006 was appointed Deputy President and Registrar of DCU, a post which she held until late 2012.
During this time she led many initiatives across DCU including a review of the academic promotions process. She has a proven track record of transformational leadership in academic environments in both Ireland and the UK.
Professor Scott is an active mentor for the Aurora women only leadership development programme in the UK; she was recognised by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) through the Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Awards for her leadership in public service; she has also mentored emerging women leaders and high potentials via the WXN.
Welcome, Anne - we look forward to working with you!
Physics student wins NUIG Excellence Award
The Juno Committee would like to congratulate Jennifer Quirke, 1st year Denominated Physics student, who was awarded an NUIG Excellence Scholarship for her Leaving Cert performance at Seamount College, Kinvara. The threshold for winning a scholarship is a minimum of 560 Leaving Cert points, and awardees receive a specially designed scroll, and a cheque valued at €1,500. Well done Jennifer!
Juno Champion Application
We are working on a Juno Champion application for 2016 submission. In this application, we will present the good practice that we have worked hard to embed in the School of Physics in recent years, and also present a detailed Champion Action plan, so that we can further enhance our positive working environment for the future.
The School of Physics gets festive!
December coffee morning, showing the creators of an array of gingerbread houses!
On the first Friday of each month, the School of Physics holds a coffee morning for all staff and postgrads; this event is extremely popular (not least because of the outstanding home baking that is provided by the postgrads!) and is an excellent opportunity for new staff and students to meet everyone.