11 January 2022
By Elaine Murphy
San Francisco meets Balllyphehane
A global STEM twinning initiative between Ireland and the USA is being piloted in a Cork school by I Wish, a multi-award-winning programme dedicated to showcasing the power of science, technology, engineering, and maths to female students internationally.
The I Wish partnership with the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) will see transition year students of Presentation Secondary School in Ballyphehane, Cork connect virtually with sophomores from Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, USA. Loreto Community School in Milford, Donegal are also twinning with Owen J Roberts High School in Pennsylvania as part of the I Wish IVCA Twinning Xchange programme. The programme is set to be rolled out in further US and Irish schools in the future.
Caroline O’Driscoll, co-founder of I Wish explained: “This twinning of schools in Ireland and the USA will increase awareness of the various STEM opportunities and practices across the globe along with featuring international STEM speakers. By creating a network of global schools with different approaches and experiences, we are giving students on opposite sides of the Atlantic the opportunity to connect, explore and imagine.”
Speaking on the twinning initiative, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Colm Kelleher said: “The San Francisco and Cork sister city relationship was formed back 1984. Over the past 38 years, this partnership has evolved and we are delighted to welcome this new venture, which focuses on young people’s engagement in STEM, the broadening of horizons, and relationship building between these two great cities.”
Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, London Breed stated: “We are honoured to salute I Wish for their collaborative programmes that bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to High School girls across the globe. San Francisco is proud that our Archbishop Riordan High School will be one of the initial I Wish Xchange Programme schools twinning with the Presentation School in Cork in 2022 and we look forward to the young women of San Francisco and Cork creating innovative collaborations in the STEM fields.”
Noeleen Tobin-Pattison, Executive Board Member of the San Francisco Cork Sister City Committee added: “The committee is delighted to champion this international exchange that magnifies the importance of expanding opportunities in STEM for young women. This twinning will enlighten these young women to the infinite possibilities of a career in STEM, and will afford them the ability to collaborate and engage directly with their Irish peers.”
Participating schools have picked one of three themes — transformative technology, the world through my eyes and protecting the planet — to be explored over several weeks. The programme includes joint presentations by students, with one winning project to be announced at I Wish’s showcase event on 10 February 2022.
On the activation of the programme in their schools, Principal at Archbishop Riordan High School and fourth generation Irish, Tim Reardon and Presentation Secondary School teacher, Aoife Coughlan said: “As educators, we ardently encourage our girls to embrace every opportunity for advancement in the STEM field. We welcome the opportunity to support these girls by exposing them to their peers and possibilities in STEM and, therefore, are delighted to welcome the I Wish IVCA Twinning XChange programme. We look forward to working together in partnership over the coming weeks to garner a deeper understanding of global STEM programmes and sharing our own knowledge in the area.”
This programme is part of an expanded offering from I Wish, which now engages girls year-round at key touch points in their lives. Along with its free annual global STEM event on 10 February 2022 (registration at iwish.ie/register), I Wish is running third level mentoring programmes and primary school classroom visits with young STEM professionals and students. The I Wish Senior Cycle supports include the twinning programme and internships, while the Junior Cycle provides aligned class materials.