UCD student wins national science journalism award

Posted May 31, 2017

  • Winning article examines indigenous women's contribution to climate change mitigation
  • Competition honours journalist Mary Mulvihill's contribution to science writing
  • Master's student Irene Fogarty studying Msc in World Heritage Conservation at UCD

UCD master’s student Irene Fogarty has won the first Mary Mulvihill Memorial Award for science journalism.

Her prize-winning article examines how researchers in developed nations often overlook the knowledge and expertise of indigenous women in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Ms Fogarty, a Master of Science student in World Heritage Conservation, UCD School of Archaeology, received a €2,000 prize for the award at a ceremony in the National Library of Ireland.

Her winning article is entitled “Indigenous Women and Science Knowledge – The First Voice and Climate Change”.

In the piece, Fogarty writes about how one academic paper describes the importance of Inuit women’s knowledge and observations in making sense of climate change in the Arctic.

The paper is entitled “Should we turn the tent, Inuit women and climate change”.

It examines how as a result of Inuit women’s immersion in nature, their scientific knowledge includes weather patterns, animals, berries and insects.

In contrast to western scientific knowledge, Inuit knowledge does not “dichotomise” nature and the self as separate objects but instead it “emerges from participation with nature”.

Fogarty also points out how indigenous women’s work in their communities involves tasks such as biodiversity management and maintaining water management systems.

She stresses that their knowledge and ecological resource management methods have been developed over millennia.

However, she writes that indigenous people’s, especially women’s, knowledge and experiences are often overlooked by science researchers in developed nations.

In conclusion, Fogarty says that “taking a lead from indigenous women, science knowledge honed from our natural world cannot just remain a body of insights, but should be embedded in how one actually lives”.

Fogarty said she would donate half of the prize money to the UN Fund for Gender Equality.

The award commemorates the work and legacy of journalist and author Mary Mulvihill (1959-2015).

The competition was established by Ms Mulvihill’s friends and family to honour her lifelong contribution to science journalism and heritage.

Mary Mulvihill was an exponent of science writing and broadcasting. She wrote and broadcast for a wide variety of media, on a vast range of science- and technology-related topics.

She was a passionate advocate of STEM promotion and a chronicler of women’s often overlooked historical role in this area.

She edited several collections on past generations of Irish Stem women’s achievements, including Stars, Shells and Bluebells: Women Scientists and Pioneers, and Lab Coats and Lace: The Lives and Legacies of Inspiring Irish Women Scientists and Pioneers.

She also co-edited Enterprise Ireland’s bi-monthly publication Technology Ireland and was a regular contributor to The Irish Times.

By: Jamie Deasy, digital journalist, UCD University Relations