When I was growing up, I really can't recall having any women tech mentors or peers. There were no other women I knew who were interested in technology and computing. Come to think of it, I don't remember any tech mentors - except maybe my Dad. He was always doing mad-inventor kind of things - like running the family car on a domestic gas cylinder and it was he who bought the Commodore 64 computer that got me started.
Not having peers and mentors in your chosen field of work or study has repercussions. If you can't see it - it's so much harder to be it. It means it takes much longer for you to conceptualise your identify and start to shape and form it.
But these days, I feel very lucky to be part of a rich network of women involved in technology and related fields. Some of them I know well and some I'm getting to know - and on this Ada Lovelace Day 2016, it's a great pleasure to mention some of them below.
If I were to single out some for special mention, they would have to be our CoderDojo Sligo mentors, Carla Warde and Aoife Kerins. They have been superb role-models this year for girls interested in careers in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering & Mathematics) and are still managing to mentor this year even as they prepare for Leaving Cert exams. The future is bright.
What is notable among this group of women is their willingness to support others in their journey and to see the bigger picture of our humanity and interdependence. Thank you all for your friendship, advice, guidance and support over this past year. It's meant so much. And happy Ada Lovelace Day!
Catherine Cronin - PhD scholar and open educator
Leigh Graves Wolf - scholar and collaborative creative thinker
Pam O'Brien - Lecturer & CoderDojo Leader