Telling Our Stories – Cliodhna Caffrey

Each year we meet incredible women at womENcourage™ celebrations. We ask womENcourage participants to tell their stories in blog posts. We continue 2022  with Cliodhna Caffrey studying food science and health at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

My Career Journey So Far

By Cliodhna Caffrey

My name is Cliodhna Caffrey, and I am currently in my 3rd year of studying food science and health at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Although I am not directly studying computing, I have always found the topic very interesting, and my experience at the ACM was invaluable, both personally and professionally. 

When I was in secondary school, science or computing subjects were not available, nor were they encouraged. It was only at leaving cert level, where a teacher encouraged me to study engineering for my final exams did I realise my passion for science which later turned into an interest in computing. When choosing a third level course, I decided to link my passion for science with my passion for positive health. Since joining the course, I have learned so much about the importance of computing, particularly within the industry. During my studies, I have used basic computer validation systems along with improving my skill set in coding.

In 2020 I was awarded the Johnson & Johnson team award, which aims to recognise women in STEM. The award included participation in a competition that allowed each team to undertake a project aimed at promoting women in STEM. As part of our project, my five teammates and I decided to set up a podcast, ‘The Stempress Podcast’, to empower women in STEM (WiSTEM). The podcast series typically interviews one professional woman within the STEM disciplines in which they discuss both success and challenges since their career began. It is an excellent opportunity to provide informal information to women of all ages and stages of their careers on topics they may not know much about. Our team presented our research at the poster presentations at this year’s womEncourageTM conference. It was a great way not only to present our research on the topic of WiSTEM but also to create connections across multiple disciplines and grow a wider audience for our podcast. The podcast also allowed those interested in our research to listen to the informal discussion and perhaps learn something about a new discipline themselves, which was one of the main objectives of our podcast and an initiative I am immensely proud of. 

Next semester, I am lucky enough to be part of a program which incorporates co-operative education as part of obtaining a degree. I was successful in obtaining an 8-month internship with PepsiCo in their Co. Cork plant in Ireland. I do not doubt that the knowledge I have acquired from the ACM conference will aid my new position in the quality control department. I look forward to furthering my skills in the company, particularly in computing.

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