Showing students the multitude of pathways into STEM careers

Through I’m an Engineer, Aisling Lee was able to show school students a different pathway into STEM.

Aisling Lee, a Technical Architect and part-time Masters student, didn’t expect to become an engineer: “I liked maths, but I was terrible at it. I knew you had to be good enough at maths to go to college, and I didn’t know about any other routes into engineering.

Even though Aisling eventually got the grades she needed – and an offer from her first-choice college – her head was turned when she found out about a route into engineering via an electrician apprenticeship with ESB. She chose the apprenticeship, and loved it.

Now a Technical Architect at the consultant level, Aisling is open about having been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult: “I won’t sugarcoat it, having ADHD did make it harder to become an engineer to a degree, because you have more things to work through.”


I want to be the representation that I didn’t have when I was younger.”

Having had her own experiences taking a non-conventional path into engineering, she’s keen to show students that not only is there room for women and neurodivergence in STEM, there’s room for people who have taken different paths into it too.

“I went to an all-girls primary school and an all-girls secondary school,” Aisling explains, “and it was constantly a battle against stereotypes.

“I heard a statistic that if before the age of 8 a young girl hasn’t interacted with someone in a STEM role they’re less likely to consider it.

I’m an Engineer is brilliant for that because I can wear a lot of hats: I’m neurodivergent, I’m a woman in STEM, I’ve taken an apprenticeship path. I can give some visibility to kids who might have thought they couldn’t be an engineer.”

The engineer first wanted to take part in I’m an Engineer to test herself and her ability to communicate her work to students. She says, “I thought, if you can’t explain your own work to a 5 year old, then you don’t know it well enough.

Soon, Aisling had caught the bug – she’s now taken part twice. “The live Chats are so invigorating – the students bring a degree of excitement that you lose as you get older in a 9-to-5 job. It gives you a bit of a pump, like, ‘These kids are asking me questions!

“It’s always amazing to think that you might have helped one person to think, ‘Hey, this might actually be for me.’”

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Posted on May 17, 2022 by modjosie in News, Scientists. Tagged , , , , . Comments Off on Showing students the multitude of pathways into STEM careers