Science Foundation Ireland

Kathy Hanley: Human of CONNECT

Kathy Hanley is researching for her master’s degree at CONNECT in Tyndall National Institute.

Who are you?
My name is Kathy Hanley and I am a research master’s student with MCCI at Tyndall National Institute in Cork. I am working on a project which is researching the development of a microchip to interface with electrochemical sensors used to test for disease in animals.

How did you get to this point?
I did my undergrad degree in electronic and electrical engineering at UCC. I guess, going back further to leaving cert, I had always liked maths and physics, but I also wanted to work with people. During one summer, I worked as in intern in Tyndall National Institute and was involved in a project to make a pacemaker chip. I thought this was really cool. I also did my final year degree project here which involved designing an amplifier for wearable devices. After graduating, I was in two minds about working in a company, but I was given some good advice: ‘work in research if you want to shape the technology of the future.’

What is it like to be a woman in engineering?
It is challenging for a girl to make the decision to enter the male-dominated world of engineering. I know someone who ended up doing finance instead of engineering because she couldn’t handle the thought of being in that environment. I hope this is changing.

Recently, I went to Smart Futures training, which involves going back to schools to talk about STEM careers, and I thought that if someone had come to my school and told me about the career opportunities in this area, it would have made such a big difference.

I would happily return to my own school to give a careers talk, and make a difference. There are so many cool jobs out there that so many people don’t realise.

What do you do in your free time?
I’m writing a thesis at the moment, so nothing very interesting I’m afraid! I go to the gym three times a week, and I like to read when I get home from work. When I had more time, I was volunteering weekly with Age Action Ireland as part of their Getting Started programme, which involves working one-to-one with an older person and helping them gain confidence in using smartphones, tablets and laptops. I’m looking forward to getting back to that once I finish the thesis.

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

Humans of CONNECT
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