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Ulster University inspired future female leaders this week by welcoming local school pupils completing the SistersIN Leadership Programme onto the Derry~Londonderry campus to meet with female mentors in leadership positions who offered guidance, encouragement, and support for skill development.

The SistersIN Leadership Programme is recognised as a regional initiative providing a developmental journey for sixth-form girls to enhance confidence and broaden career ambitions.

Professor Sonja McIlfatrick, Dean of Ulster Doctoral College, Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor of Nursing and Palliative Care, and Karen Delgado, Deputy Director of Alumni and Corporate Engagement from Ulster University are proud mentors of the SistersIN initiative.

In partnership with the School of Nursing and Paramedic Science and the School of Medicine, both mentors organised a visit to campus their mentees and other pupils from St. Louise’s Comprehensive College and Carrickfergus Grammar School who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.

During the visit, pupils had the unique opportunity to interact with staff and students from various healthcare-related disciplines, gaining insights into courses and benefiting from the personal experiences shared by a student panel. The day included hands-on activities, such as an interactive teaching session with paramedic science students, allowing participants to develop practical life-support skills. The engagement left the pupils excited, providing a fascinating glimpse into how healthcare students at Ulster University become prepared and fully equipped to become future healthcare professionals.

Grace McConway, a pupil from St Louise’s School described her thoughts on the day, she said:

“The visit opened my eyes to a range of healthcare professions and what it would be like to study at the Ulster University Derry~Londonderry campus. It was inspiring to hear first hand from students who are pursuing their passions in the fields of medicine, paramedic science, adult nursing, and mental health nursing, and it was brilliant to get practical hands-on experience of life support training. The Ulster University students are even going to help with our SistersIN project, which is about delivering life support training to more pupils from our school. I really enjoyed the day, it has made me all the more determined to work hard and hopefully be part of the Ulster University community in the future.”

Professor Sonja McIlfatrick, Dean of Ulster Doctoral College reflected on the day spent, she said:

“This personalised event was a meaningful way to support female pupils and offered them a window into what their future career journey could look like. It was our privilege to take time to learn more about their career ambitions, and in partnership with my colleagues. to provide them with exclusive, hands-on experience of the healthcare courses we offer, and inspire them to have the confidence to strive towards their career goals”.

Karen Delgado, Deputy Director of Alumni and Corporate Engagement from Ulster University added:

“It was a delight to have pupils from St. Louise’s Comprehensive College take part in the visit, as a  past pupil of the school, I have seen first-hand the transformative impact these kind of programmes can have for young women seeking to widen their opportunities by advancing to higher education. Ulster University are thrilled to be a partner in this impactful initiative, helping to inspire and empower young women to broaden their horizons ahead of setting out on their future education and career paths.”

Visit SisterIN to find out more about the initative.