Heather Murphy

Engineering Student, Trinity College Dublin

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If someone like me can be a ‘person’ in STEM - so can anyone else.

What do you do?

Identify and solving ‘real’ world problems using engineering methods and scientific research both in university and in personal
projects.

Why did you choose this field?

Throughout school I knew I wanted pursue a career in something that would make a difference and could use my maths skills - then I entered the BT young scientist and technologist exhibition which opened up countless doors to opportunities and gave me an insight into how much more there is to STEM than the lab coat and coders. Picking up an award along the way and getting involved in other extra curricular tech projects confirmed to me that engineering was the route I wanted to go. Instead of helping one person at a time, why not find a solution to a problem experienced by hundreds or even thousands - and you’ll help entire populations at a time instead.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Being named a Naughton Scholar and receiving the Google Women Techmakers award 2020.

As 14 year old girl, and watching a bit a few years ahead of me in school recieve the Naughton Scholarship that educators and professionals speak so highly of - I placed it as a dream , something I would aspire to achieve but never actually believed I could get it. This dream remained in my mind for a number of years but as time went on, my belief and ambition to attain this dream dwindled. However recovering the phone to call from the Naughton foundation some 4 years later what equally a shock as well as a dream come true. Without this boost in confidence and sense of fulfillment I would have never had the confidence or self belief to push myself and dream to achieve bigger and better things - such as being named a Google women Techmakers awardee. It just goes to show - have the self confidence and self belief. You set your own limits to what you can achieve and don’t let anyone else set them for you.

Why do you love working in STEM?

As I mentioned before - helping one individual at a time is brilliant and can give a great deal of satisfaction. But solving a problem that affects more than one person, your making that one persons life easier, simpler, saving time and making an impact. No matter how small or how big. The STEM industry is ever evolving and more than likely 10 years from now I will be working in a job that doesn’t exists today - that’s the most exciting thing about STEM to me. We many more know what the problem is that we will solving or the technology that we will develop and discover - but we are learning new things day in and day out to prepare us best for what’s to come next.

Best advice for next generation?

One of the biggest challenges facing women in stem is the label itself.
Gender should have no mention in your success or failings. As a girl, don’t focus on being a ‘Girl in Tech’ or ‘Woman in STEM - but instead focus on the work you are doing and achieving those goals and dreams you want to. We are working, studying and advancing in the world of STEM, whilst just so happening to be a girl also.

So don’t let the label scare you away from a job, a project, taking a class, or pursuing a degree because you’ll be only Woman in the room - you are as equal as any gender in that room and prove that there is zero difference between the work of technologists, scientists, engineers and mathematicians of different genders. If someone like me can be a ‘Person’ in STEM - so can anyone else.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

(Very hard to chose a favourite so I have 2:)

“If you cant fly...run. If you can’t run... walk. If you can’t walk....crawl” - Martin Luther King Jr

“What would you do if
you weren’t afraid?” - Sheryl Sandberg

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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