Each CD in the photo depicts a specific career and life stage after finishing postgraduate study in the UK and overcoming some obstacles to get my first graduate job (video).
Collectively, the CDs show a long career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) which gets overlooked with the more recent work in education and technology.
Last month, a request by Joanna Norton at Keywords English, led me to pull the CDs from a shelf and reflect on STEM at different stages in my career history.
Nutrition advice isn’t often given to shop customers by a 16-year-old PAYE retail assistant, but their queries held answers, as in “I have X condition, so I can’t eat Y and Z foods. What are my options?”.
From Nutrition, To Publishing
That retail role was my first job in STEM, while aiming for a four-year arts degree in Dublin. Availability of Apple Macs on the college campus sparked editorial and DTP activity with the student newspaper, leading to a postgraduate course in publishing in the UK. Later, Oxford University Press (OUP) hired me to work in its online scientific and medical journals unit, where emerging digital media tools were fast disrupting traditional publishing processes.
Moving Into E-Payments And Digital Marketing
Five years later, with CDs facing oblivion as e-publishing and subscription systems grew, the logical next step was an IT conversion course and return to Dublin in the late 1990s. From that course, my next STEM career move was to a digital marketing role, into the deep end with an Irish-American payments firm who wanted my research and writing skills.
Banking systems security, mobile and retail payment systems became my everyday reality. To curate breaking industry news, an understanding of information systems was needed. Luckily, the diversity of new technologies and concepts held my attention for eight years while financing several long-haul trekking trips as the next career move was explored.
The Road To Sound Advice
Hearing was one topic for self-employment, with solid advice being to use what you know. Why not mix the recent digital skills with the past STEAM industry experience of scientific journals publishing, plus the curation skills from my arts degree? Clients and employers would benefit from the merging of lifelong career and education experience into one role, plus the personal resilience from working in open employment and as a social entrepreneur.
What focus mattered most? Press articles were appearing from 2005, about Ireland’s education system ‘failing deaf children’. From childhood peers, my insight was that very young children with hearing devices who get sustained spoken language intervention with their families, have a significantly better chance of enjoying mainstream school and building lifelong friendships and networks from this setting. The story is still unfolding today.
The UNESCO initiative, #MLW2015 (Mobile Learning Week 2015), runs from February 23 to 27, 2015 in Paris, featuring a new partnership with UN Women this year.