Two people talking to each other at theSTInt Meet and Greet 2024. A STInt banner is also to the right hand side of the image.

DCU STInt Programme 2024 launched at Meet & Greet event

On Thursday 4 April the STEM Teacher Internship Programme (STInt) launched with its annual Meet & Greet event at Dublin City University, St. Patrick’s campus. This event provided an opportunity for 75 STInt interns to meet with over 40 host representatives for the first time.

Since 2016, the STInt team has provided pre-service and early career primary and secondary school teachers with paid summer internships in STEM roles across several sectors, including, technology, financial services, medtech, pharmaceuticals, astronomy, and bioeconomy. Starting as a Dublin City University initiative, the programme has expanded to include interns from seven universities across Ireland - Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University, University of Galway, University of Limerick, and University College Cork. 

The goal of the programme is to provide teachers with unique opportunities to gain industry experience and skills to complement their academic expertise, to inspire their students to build STEM skills and perhaps pursue a STEM career. There are also benefits for the STInt host organisations as they have shared how STInt interns have made positive contributions to their teams and organisation, including broadening their diversity of thought. By the end of summer

2024, through collaboration between universities, schools and industry, STInt will have provided over 300 STint internships for primary and post-primary teachers - with the potential impact on over 1.2 million learners across their teaching career. 

At the 2024 Meet and Greet, hosts engaged in collaborative discussions and feedback, exchanging experiences and practices focusing on the benefits and challenges in hosting a STInt intern. The early career and pre-service STEM teachers from across the country gathered for the STint intern session, which took place in DCU’s Lego Studio and discussed programme requirements and preparations for their internships.

A group shot of the attendees at the STInt Meet and Greet 2024, taken outside on the DCU St. Patrick's Campus

During the Welcome Ceremony, Dr. Eilish McLoughlin, STInt Director and Head of the School of Physical Sciences at DCU, spoke about the importance of the STInt initiative in bridging the gap between teaching STEM and day-to-day activities in the STEM industry and the influence STInt has on teacher professional learning. With the support of industry and strategic partners, STInt has positively influenced young people’s engagement and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers. 

Prof. Brien Nolan, Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Science and Health at DCU, discussed how engagement in the STInt programme by prospective and early career teachers will enhance a teacher’s ability to excel in their career, thus crafting a well-rounded, confident and qualified educator. 

Four STInt Alumni reflected on their experience of completing STint internships in previous years. Niall Mullally, who interned at Microsoft, enjoyed honing his time management skills, getting to work in the Microsoft Dreamspace, learning that scrum wasn’t just a play in rugby and how he has been able to bring these skills into his teaching and learning practices.

Emma Duffy, who interned at Eirgrid, enjoyed working with new colleagues, enabling her to broaden her opinion of what it was like to work in industry. She enjoyed learning from colleagues outside of academic environments, and eagerly took part in the company extracurriculars, like pilates, and department socials. This experience has allowed her to think about the ways in which her experience of working in industry will influence how she supports her student learning in the future. 

Siobhan O’Riordan, who interned at Vistamilk, began her summer tentatively as the company focuses on agricultural sciences, and she wasn’t confident her biological sciences background would align well. Within a couple of weeks she acknowledged that her host match was a success. Her academic background allowed her to tackle the internship projects with vigour, she broadened her understanding of how to use a biology degree and is now confident to approach challenges with optimism. Her main message to other interns, “Just say yes”. 

Seán Smyth shared his experience of interning at Xilinx (now AMD) in 2020, and the exciting news of the all-girl team from his sixth class had recently won Ireland’s national FIRST Lego League tournament. He highlighted that it was his STint internship that developed his understanding of what engineering is. He is now able to better teach his students about the variety of opportunities and classes in engineering, inspiring them to seek a STEM career.

Prof. Deirdre Butler, Director of the STInt Programme and Professor of Digital Learning at DCU Institute of Education, advised interns to use the time with the hosts wisely. She encouraged them to think outside the box and to consider how to bring concepts from the STEM industry to life in their own classrooms. 

Prof. Anne Looney, Dean of DCU Institute of Education, encouraged both the hosts and interns to enjoy their time together. She highlighted the importance of unifying teachers and industry with the goal of ensuring future generations continue to show eagerness and excitement for STEM subjects and careers.

To learn more about STInt, please follow this link.

A photograph of the STint Team (from left to right) Angela Lally, Caprise Perrineau, David Farrell, Dr. Eilish McLoughlin, and Prof. Deirdre Butler.