The Ada Lovelace Initiative – a fantastic mentoring and outreach program in STEM

The Ada Lovelace Initiative – a fantastic mentoring and outreach program in STEM

Positive role models are always a great way to inspire the next generation. Ada Lovelace, the amazing programmer and mathematician is one such role model. The Ada Lovelace Initiative (A.L.I), named in her honor, is a community initiative set up to provide such positive role models, to highlight just how important, and able, women are in Tech and STEM.

Ada Lovelace – the original inspiration

Ada was born Augusta Ada Byron in 1815. Her father was the famous poet, Lord Byron and her mother was Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron. It was her mother that would ultimately influence Ada’s academic advancement. After separating from Lord Byron she felt that an education was important for her daughter, to keep her mind engage and free from the mood swings she experienced in her estranged husband. Lady Anne arranged a series of tutors to teach her young daughter in the areas of language, mathematics and science.



From an early age Ada showed a flair for mathematics and languages. A meeting with the inventor Charles Babbage lead to a lifelong friendship and further access to academic teachings and theories and the time.  It was while Ada was commissioned to translate an article on Babbages’ analytical engines that she added her own notes and theories and expanded the application of the machine into the realm of a real computer. Her works were published at the time but it was not until more than 100 years later that they were republished at the dawning of the modern computer. That is certainly a woman ahead of her time.

Ada is considered by many to have been the first computer programmers and a brilliant mathematician. She referred to herself as an analyst and metaphysician. Whatever title she held it cannot be denied that she is a wonderful  role model in any era.

The Ada Lovelace Initiative – the modern day inspiration

The Ada Lovelace Initiative (A.L.I.) was set up in 2015 by Verify Recruitment. They responded to the startlingly low representation of women in the tech sector (only 25% of the STEM workforce is comprised of female professionals) in an inspiring way. They saw the strong and significant contribution made by the small number of women that do work in technology and realised what a valuable link they can be to the next generation. They set up A.L.I. in 2015 to bring these female role models right to the girls that need to hear their story.

A.L.I. connects female professionals working in technology with Transition Year secondary school students to present to students an insight into working in technology by telling their story. Women from the technology sector tell students about their educational background, their role type how they chose their career path.

In less than a year A.L.I. has reached approximately 3000 students in 14 counties in Ireland. The goal for 2016/2017 is to reach at least 5000 students in schools across the country.

By improving the information channels available to directly inspire girls to consider careers in this field, we believe that the role models can deliver invaluable advice and give the students a taste of the real-world of technology. Cathal Grogan, Director of Verify Recruitment.

There are already over 100 role models from 75 technology companies in Ireland registered as volunteers for The Ada Lovelace Initiative. Volunteers have registered from companies such as TripAdvisor, Udemy, Citi and Concern Worldwide to encourage young women to choose a career in technology.


One such mentor, Louise Bernstein, Senior Product Manager at ALTIFY had this to say:

“Today, no matter the career path girls choose – from chemical engineering to organising  music festivals – tech will be in the background automating, speeding up, integrating, and uncovering new ways to achieve goals. Yet, less than 30% of women are involved in how that technology shapes their lives. I want to encourage more women to sit at the tech table, and be part of that future. By improving the information channels available to directly inspire girls to consider careers in this field, the voluntary role models of The Ada Lovelace Initiative deliver authentic career advice and give the students an insight into the real-world of working in technology.”

Louise Bernstein Rathdown School ALI

Photo: Louise Bernstein, A.L.I. Role Model with the 2016 Transition Year pupils of Rathdown School, Glenageary, County Dublin

For more information about the Ada Lovelace Initiative, to register your interest as a technology role model here or to register your school – please visit

#AliMyStory is a voluntary initiative and the visits are provided free of charge to schools who would like to introduce a role model to their students.

Netflix Stream Team – a family pick of scifi, history and humour

Netflix Stream Team – a family pick of scifi, history and humour

So far this Irish Summer has been a bit of a washout. As I type, the wind is howling and the rain is sheeting down. We brave it when we can, and, when we can’t, we come up with indoor activities to amuse us. Sometimes though, there is nothing for it but to take out the blankets and turn on Netflix.

Here are some of our viewing recommendations this Summer. I’ve noticed a bit of a trend when comparing the adults choices to the children’s… both seem to include scifi, history and humour – not a bad mix!


Scifi – the  children were delighted to see Guardians of the Galaxy come to Netflix (this movie has a 12s rating) and it has already served them well as a ‘movie night’ option with friends.

Tech – We have introduced a bit more coding in the house this Summer, after a wonderful introduction from Galway’s Coderdojo classes. The children have loved the hour of code and have completed the Minecraft and StarWars challenges. This has sparked their coding imagination, and now they have found Gaming show (in my parents’ garage) they are completely hooked.

Gaming show IMPG

HistoryHorrible Histories is a constant entertainer in this house, even the adults have watched most of the episodes. It is amazing how the children are quoting historic facts, learned from the programme. When they finish the series they just start again from the beginning.

Humour – Apart from the giggles they get from Horrible Histories, the children are also loving the newest series of King Julien. I often pop my head in the room to find three laughing children snuggled on the couch.


Scifi – we stumbled across a scifi film called Push and loved it. It certainly deserves more than the three stars it currently has in the rating. The movie is about people with special powers, some can read minds, see the future, implant memories in people’s heads and move objects with their minds. And when the good guys and the bad guys have similar talents the story line keeps moving at quite a pace.

History – I am lucky if I get near the remote control these nights, since the second series of Marco Polo arrived on Netflix my husband has been binge watching. He is curious about the Mongol empire and enjoys the way the drama is portrayed.

Humour – The full second series of Better Call Saul is now available on Netflix. Although the plot thickens and the story gets a little darker, there is still plenty of the humour that so impressed us from the first series.


Image credit: Ben Leuner/Netflix

Regardless of what we watch, we usually round off the night’s viewing with a good belly-laughing episode of The Big Bang; It is consistently brilliant!


Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team I have received a year’s subscription to Netflix, free of charge, and an Apple TV, for streaming purposes. As part of Netflix Stream Team I will be posting regular updates on what we are watching and what is on offer.  All opinions expressed are my own.