I was very proud to be at the ITAG annual dinner last night to see my good friend and work colleague Bianca Pereira win a 'Digital Women' Award.
It was so well deserved and a fitting tribute to all of the great work that Bianca has done over the last few years in promoting women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She is an inspirational champion and role model, particularly for girls and young women.
Ever since she started at DERI (later Insight), Bianca has been one of the keenest supporters of my Educational & Public Engagement programmes, taking part in many of our school initiatives such as App-making workshops for female teenagers, career talks to schools...
She has also been a valuable contributor to our Data Science Institute's social activities, ranging from heritage cycle trips to multicultural festivals.
Over the last year though Bianca has carved her own niche in our educational and social spheres, and has gone from a participant to an initiator, particularly in female STEM promotion.
I am also impressed that she and her husband Emir Munoz (a true and kind gentleman) are regular participants in environmental campaigns (community gardening, meadow making, tree planting...). This lovely and loving couple have wonderfully immersed themselves into the Irish countryside and have become keen worshipers of our nation's tracks and trails. They are part of the 'New Irish' that have taken this country to their heart and soul, without of course losing any of the love for the lands of their birth.
Last summer I was honoured to be the advocate/spokesperson for Bianca at her and Emir's wonderful pagan Celtic wedding in Connemara. Ancient mystical Irish ambiance combined with Latin American colour- it was an experience that I will treasure for ever.