ALL AI Academy for Good
In June 2020, the ALL AI Academy for Good, received 47,000 euro in funding from the community empowerment fund in the Microsoft Data Centre. This project is an exciting programme which offers students who are studying in the DEIS band 1 school Mercy Inchicore, who are currently on the Leaving Cert Applied track and/or in Transition Year, an opportunity to develop their STEM/CS skills while learning how to gain access to university. The programme has been developed by the Assisting Living and Learning Institute and College Connect, Maynooth University. The project aims to empower young women from communities currently underrepresented in STEM with the skills, knowledge and experiences to choose STEM careers. The project has 4 key elements which combine to support the education and career uplift of ALL those involved.
Thirty female students will participate in the specially designed version of the imagine cup. The Imagine cup activities will be developed and delivered by a Teacher from Microsoft’ DreamSpace team, they centre around understanding AI and how AI works in society. Five groups of students will enter the Imagine cup competition and develop an AI project for Good.
The students will also participate in 5 mentoring sessions which are aimed at exploring topics related to work and college; encouraging students to think critically and develop skills essential for education and the modern workforce. These sessions will be delivered by Declan Markey from the Maynooth Access Programme and the project coordinator and university lecturer Katriona O’Sullivan. The activities will be facilitated by 5 mentors from Maynooth University.
The mentors have been recruited to an ALL Microsoft-Internship in Maynooth University in partnership with Experiential Learning Programme in Maynooth University. This will provide the five interns with work and research experience with both Microsoft and Maynooth. The mentors will have experience of university study and come from the same community as the young women in the school. They will share their experience of accessing university -while supporting the young women to develop STEM/CS skills. They will receive a bursary for participation and produce a research report.
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
We will provide the technology needed to engage in this project, this will be sourced through Wriggle Learning and funded by the Microsoft Data Center. Each student will be provided with a MiFi device which they can use to engage with the project during the sessions but also remotely. In the situation of school closure we can ensure the programme continues remotely. This is lending library which will be returned upon completion of the programme for the next group to use. Wriggle learning have supported this.
All students will graduate from the ALL institute with a certificate of participation in the work experience skills programme and they will be able to use this certificate for applying to a STEM course in the university in the future.