Women In Technology Series – Vera O’Riordan

Vera O’ Riordan photographed receiving her Women in Technology Scholarship, with her mother and sister, in 2015.

Intel Ireland has recently caught up with both past and present Women in Technology Scholars. This series will unpack what they have learnt during their time at Intel, as well as discovering what they are up to. For part one of the series we spoke with Vera O’Riordan, a 2015 Women in Technology Scholar.

What did you study in college?

Energy Engineering

With this programme, do you feel like you are practicing in your desired industry?

Sure! I currently work in R&D in UCC. I love it! I previously worked in Intel Labs (R&D also).

Do you feel more prepared for working life because of the experience Intel has offered?

Without a doubt. I found working in Intel and adjusting to the lifestyle there difficult at times but it was a great opportunity to learn a lot. Working in Intel gave me the opportunity to understand the pipeline of large engineering projects and how an R&D department works.

What is the most exciting development you have identified in the sector you have worked in?

When I was working there, there was work ongoing with a collaboration with BMW to bring about self-driving electric cars. Another project that was interesting to me was the ongoing demand response energy projects, using edge devices to feed into a ‘smart grid’.

What drew you to your career choice?

Controlling and managing the production and consumption of energy is for everyone’s benefit. It saves people and businesses money, it benefits the environment and having a steady supply that is affordable can really change people’s lives. I like the new developments in the area and how interlinked it is with city, regional and national planning. Not only does it involve an engineering skill-set but also an engagement with planning laws, communities and with individual behaviour.

What is the best thing about working in this area?

Working as part of a team to get a large project done is great. You learn a lot very quickly and there is more sharing of the work load.

What skills have you developed? Or what skills do you have now, that you didn’t have at the start of the WIT program?

A lot of computing skills. How to programme and start up microcontrollers, how to adapt these microcontrollers to do what you like. I have taken a coding class before starting at Intel but Intel brought me up to the next level. I went on to do C in university in an optional class on my year abroad in California. I took it specifically because of the value I got at Intel. I also got stuck into website design, and this proved really valuable when I designed an app/website for a new business idea with a team of 4 other engineering students in a Hackathon recently. We won the competition – thanks Intel!

What career path are currently following?

I am a researcher in University College Cork. There, I am conducting a feasibility study into battery storage for the campus at the moment. I report to the Energy Manager at UCC.

The application window is now open for the 2018 scholarship program with submissions being accepted until October 4th. Further details, along with the online application form, can be found at www.intel.ie/womenintechnology.

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