STEM Teacher Internship Programme – Inspiring Future Generations, Building the STEM Pipeline

Teachers are key influencers of students’ subject choices, second only to parents. The STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme aims to give future teachers hands-on experience in STEM careers to empower them to inspire future generations of their own students to build STEM skills and pursue STEM careers. Developed by Dublin City University together with Accenture and the 30% Club, the STInt Programme pairs pre-service primary and post-primary STEM teachers with host employers for a 12-week paid summer internship.

With the support of Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) and Science Foundation Ireland, the STInt programme has grown and to date 115 students from DCU, Maynooth University and UCD have completed STInt internships across 33 host employers, including Accenture, Ericsson, ESB, IBM, Microsoft, MSD, Takeda and Intel.

Jennifer McKenna, Research and Development at Intel and the CWIT Lead for the STInt Programme, describes Intel’s longstanding involvement in the STInt programme and the benefits she sees for business:

“Teachers are in a very influential position informing, inspiring and motivating the future young talent to become curious, interested and engaged with STEM. As most businesses will be underpinned by technology in the future, it is necessary to address the challenge of increasing the number and quality of STEM graduates in Ireland. The STint programme provides the opportunity do just that.

Intel Ireland has been active in this programme since 2017, hosting 11 pre-service teachers over the last 5 years in the Intel Movidius and the Manufacturing and Product Engineering groups. For 12 weeks the teacher interns have a truly immersive experience – they are assigned a buddy, given technical training, work on coding projects, attend group meetings, and get involved in the wider activities within the company such as employee resource groups, charity events and intern activities. This gives them a holistic view of a STEM career and they see what skills are necessary for the modern workplace- collaboration, communication, innovation, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Our 11 interns have all had very positive experiences and each have come away with different realisations about STEM. For Intel, involvement in this programme is beneficial in many ways: the teacher interns, skilled at education and presentation, have provided input into in-house and outreach learning content, they have brought a diversity of thought to their host groups enriching the experience for everyone. The programme has enabled Intel to expand its own outreach network and to actively support future teachers in their development of STEM. The continued expansion of this programme will enable more teachers to provide relevant and inspiring careers advice to students, providing them with an inspiration to take up STEM subjects at Leaving Cert, at Third Level and to enter the exciting world of the tech industry. Intel is proud to support such a novel and valuable initiative.”

This year the STInt Programme is aiming to place 75 future teachers in businesses across Ireland and expand opportunities to students in new universities. To find out more information about the programme or to register your interest in becoming a STInt host in 2022, please visit the website or email info@stemteacherinternships.ie.

Source: IBEC.

Dr. Jennifer McKenna is a Research and Development Manager at Intel and leads STInt Programme in CWiT. She has nearly 20 years experience in STEM and the technology sector. Her keen interest in science and technology and extensive experience in engineering and management help CWiT drive building the bridge between education and the tech sector.

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