Nov 20, 2009

Seagate Real World Science Conference Delivers Real Benefits

Some 250 young people in the North West were challenged this month to consider pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—collectively referred to as the STEM subjects—at the Seagate Real World Science Conference.

The inspiring one-day, hands-on, interactive conference is organised annually by Seagate (NASDAQ: STX), and was held on Thursday 19 November at Lumen Christi College, Derry. Year 10 pupils from Buncrana, Claudy, Strabane, Dungiven and Limavady attended the event along with students from schools based in the city.

The aim is to encourage pupils to step out of the classroom and discover the wide range of careers that the STEM subjects can open up to them. The event offers more than 20 interactive workshops that allow students to get hands-on experience of the day-to-day activities in a number of fields, including rocket science, forensics, paramedics and materials science.

The event provides a useful forum for companies and organizations that, like Seagate, recognise the importance of promoting the STEM subjects and enhancing the employability of local students. Other organisations that generously volunteered their time and resources to host workshops are: Northern Ireland Electricity, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Fire Service, Inishowen Maritime Museum and Planetarium, University of Ulster’s School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, Invista, Queen’s University’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Des Harper, Sentinus, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Loughs Agency, Creggan Country Park, RSPB, the ECOS Centre, Ulster Wild Life Trust, BBC Breathing Spaces, Forest Service and University of Ulster’s School of Nursing.

Explaining why Seagate felt it important to implement such a conference, John Spangler, vice president at Seagate’s Springtown facility, said: “From a purely commercial perspective, Seagate wishes to help in the development of a future generation of people who are highly qualified in the specialist disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math, not least because the students we help today may well be our workforce of tomorrow. The company is hugely committed to continuing to develop its successful partnerships with educational establishments, and to sharing its passion for science and technology with the local community.

“More widely, Northern Ireland PLC needs to encourage still greater numbers of young people to opt to study the STEM subjects and those of us who have built our careers on them are ideally placed to share our expertise, experience and enthusiasm. We want to inspire these young people so that they stick with subjects that will stretch their minds and intellectual horizons and eventually open the doors to some great careers,” Spangler continued.

Lumen Christi College, which has been accorded specialist status for science, is an ideal venue and partner to assist in the running of this educational event. Patrick O’Doherty, principal of Lumen Christi, said, “Seagate and Lumen Christi share the same goals in educating the next generation in STEM. We both want to encourage not only the uptake of sciences but also to increase student awareness of the vast range of interesting careers at the cutting-edge of many industries that utilise them so they can make informed career choices. That’s why we’re delighted to continue to build on the relationship established with Seagate through this science conference.”

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Seagate employs more than 1,400 people in Northern Ireland at its wafer fabrication facility in Springtown, where the Company develops and manufactures recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disk inside a hard drive product.