STUDENT OF THE YEAR
The winner of the annual First Trust Bank Queen’s Student of the Year Award has been announced. Computer Science MEng student Diane Murdock from Co Down was chosen for her contribution to the University and to society and will receive her award at this afternoon’s Graduation ceremony.
The Award is presented by the Queen’s Graduates’ Association (QGA) with generous backing from First Trust Bank and is one of the highlights of Graduation Week. Now in its 18th year, the award recognises exceptional students for excellence, achievement or service either to the University or to the wider community.
Speaking about the Award, Mark McKeown, Manager, First Trust Bank, said: “We have been supporting these important Awards since their inception and are very proud to be associated with such a stand-out event in the University calendar.
“Our endorsement recognises and celebrates the achievements of all those Queen's students who make such an invaluable contribution to life in Northern Ireland and beyond. This year’s Student of the Year – Diane Murdock – is an inspirational role model for all students but especially those considering a computer science course.”
A school rep for the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and student Chair of the Staff Student Consultative Committee, Diane is regarded as a role model for all school and course reps. Her enthusiasm and professionalism has had a major impact on the student experience and on staff/student relations. She recently won an Education Award for the Best Staff Student Consultative Committee of the Year and Course Rep of the Year.
Recognised academically and internationally in IT, Diane won a Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship last summer – a first for Queen’s and for Northern Ireland – which she used to engage local students with the information technology sector. She has helped deliver ‘QUB Code School’ to secondary pupils and created a YouTube channel and an initiative called #SheSTEMs, to encourage females to study STEM subjects at GCSE/A Level.
Among the many other achievements listed in her 6 nominations are: a 3-month internship with Goldman Sachs in London last summer; a finalist in Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2015 and in the SU Volunteering Excellency Awards; 4 Millennium Volunteer Awards including two gold awards; and Secretary and Vice President of Queen’s Computing Society for last 2 years. Diane is also a graduate of the Queen’s Inspiring Leaders Programme, has represented the University at a major conference in France, has presented at the Vice-Chancellor’s address to new students and represented Queen’s at a Global Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in June 2016.
Commenting on her latest accomplishment Diane said: “I am really chuffed to have been selected as the 2016 First Trust Bank Queen’s Student of the Year. I heard the news when I was in Malaysia and it came as a great surprise! I’ve really enjoyed my four years at Queen’s – it has opened so many doors for me, has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world and has set me up for my career.”
Feargus McCauley, President of the QGA, believes that the First Trust Awards acknowledge all that is best about Queen’s. He said: “With the University’s Vision 2020 focusing on increasing postgraduate student numbers, Queen’s is poised to be a powerhouse of research in the coming months and years.
“This year’s Student of the Year Award recognises the impact of a gifted individual, an exemplary master’s student and leader, a highly driven and motivated individual and someone who is both academically and technically respected by her peers and lecturers. That, and an unprecedented 6 nominations, means that Diane Murdock richly deserves recognition this year.”
The student winner receives a trophy and £500.
Media inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321