A team of student entrepreneurs who won a prestigious €10,000 business competition at Google’s Headquarters in Dublin, are set to graduate today. Victoria Potts and Alex Caskey, graduating in Computer Science, and Adam Whiteside, graduating in computer games development, won the ‘Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition’ for their product Visit - an innovative new smart phone ‘app’ that has the potential to boost the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The Visit app - which the students developed through their new start-up company Ivea Labs - provides tourists with videos and information about local attractions such as museums and galleries, as well as giving owners information about how they can improve their businesses and boost the visitor experience. Victoria said: “None of this would have been possible without the help of staff in our school and the team at Queen’s Enterprise Student Union. They were a big support and we now plan to trial the app with some local businesses and to develop a viable business plan, so the future looks really exciting. Our time here at Queen’s has shown us that a degree from Queen’s isn’t just a qualification – it opens a door to a world of opportunities”. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 9097 3087.
Three leading international scientists will be honoured by Queen’s University today (Friday 3 July). Professor Stephen Furber, who is best-known for his work as one of the main designers of the ground-breaking BBC microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor in the 1980s, will be honoured for services to engineering. His latest project, known as ‘SpiNNaker’, and nicknamed the ‘brain box’, is an attempt to build an IT system based on the workings of the human brain. In 2014, Steve was made a Distinguished Fellow at the British Computer Society (DFBCS), joining the likes of Bill Gates and Tim Berners Lee. Commenting on his award, Professor Furber, who currently teaches at the University of Manchester said: “I am really honoured to be recognised by Queen’s University. As someone with extensive links to the University, I am a very strong advocate for the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) and Queen’s activities on the Northern Ireland Science Park. ECIT is a very strong contributor to the local economy, as is Queen’s as a whole, and it’s a delight to see a University at the forefront of the technology revolution.” Meanwhile, another distinguished figure on the international stage will also be honoured today. A tireless advocate for cancer research across the EU, oncologist Dr Françoise Meunier has been the Director General of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) for 24 years and is “Director Special Projects” as of April 1st2015. A Fulbright scholar, she has worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and is a fellow of the UK’s Royal College of Physicians alongside her academic and professional career in her native Belgium. A key member of the European Cancer Concord Steering Committee, Meunier was instrumental in supporting the Queen’s University-led European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights which was launched in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on World Cancer Day 2014. Speaking of her DMedSc for services to science and medicine, Dr Meunier said: “I am so grateful to be given this accolade. Queen’s University is a world-class institution which is carrying out world-leading research in the area of cancer. It has been a privilege to work with the university and I look forward to many more collaborations as, together, we try to improve outcomes and treatments for cancer patients.” Also being recognised today is Professor Sir Alex Markham, an internationally acclaimed leader and advocate for cancer research. Professor Markham, who is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK using his vision and drive to turn the organisation into the largest funder of cancer research in the UK and one of the world’s largest. Knighted in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for his services to academic medicine, Professor Markham is a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, providing support and advice that has helped the school’s Centre for Cancer Research expand its growing reputation for excellence across the world. Professor Markham said: “I am delighted to be recognised in this way by Queen’s University, a world-leading institution for medical research where I have had the pleasure of supporting and mentoring many of the world’s leading cancer specialists. If I had any words of wisdom for my fellow graduates today, it would be to challenge themselves and to pursue their passions. Their education, from the top-class university that is Queen’s, can and does change lives.” Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on email@example.com or 028 9097 3087.
A Belfast-born international human rights expert and a leading Chinese academic are to be honoured by Queen’s University Belfast today (Saturday 4 July). Former Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Michael O’Boyle will receive his award for distinction in public service. A barrister and former lecturer at Queen’s, Mr O’Boyle studied at Harvard Law School and the International Institute of Human Rights, spending much of his career in Strasbourg, where he was a prominent figure in the field of international human-rights protection. Commenting on his honour, Mr O’Boyle said: “I am delighted to be recognised in this way by Queen’s University where I initially studied and lectured. I still retain my links with the School of Law and am proud to be able to share my experiences with up and coming researchers in this important area. If I had any words of wisdom for my fellow graduates today, it would be that education, especially from a top-class university like Queen’s, will stand you in good stead for the rest of your lives and enable you to make a contribution to improving the lives of others.” Also being honoured today is President Qun Zhao, President of the China Medical University (CMU), which has a long standing partnership with Queen’s that has led to the development of the China Queen’s College in Shenyang, the capital of Laioning Province in north-east China. Rewarded for his services to education, President Zhao was instrumental in rapidly developing the CMU International Education School which was among the first batch of Chinese medical schools authorised to recruit and to teach international students in English. Speaking ahead of receiving his LLD, President Zhao said: “This is a great honour for me to be recognised by Queen’s University, which is building on its collaborative efforts with Chinese universities to help the next generation of students become world-class global scholars and ensure research partnerships help build a better global society.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office on 02890973087 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Maike Rea-Schermer will graduate from Queen’s today, with distinction, in Atypical Child Development. During her studies for this MSc, Maike found time to have a baby plus continue to run a company she founded in the Netherlands. Maike set up the Netherlands-based company, De Taalsleutel, to advise on special education and teach professionals within that setting. Maike, who is originally from the Netherlands but living in Dromore since 2013, is planning to continue her studies at Queen’s with a part-time PhD in Psychology, as well as continuing consulting to both Dutch and Northern Ireland schools on special educational needs. Reflecting on her time at Queen’s, Maike said: “One of the things I loved most about Queen’s was the beautiful buildings and scenery around campus and the great sense of history and heritage – 160 years of tradition! During my research, I collaborated with several primary schools in Northern Ireland, after which one of the schools asked me to provide a workshop for their staff on speech, language and communication needs in children. “My aim is to provide more services like this, as I love the way Queen’s interacts with its local community and impacts on society. Building bridges with schools is not only beneficial to my research, but it also provides the opportunity to share the latest insights and, in this way, what happens in universities can actually change lives. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office on 02890973087 or email@example.com
Today’s graduation ceremony will prove a proud experience for student Robyn McCue. Roybn, from Newtownabbey, is graduating with a First Class Honours in Psychology, although her achievement will be tinged with sadness as her beloved mum Jane won’t be there to cheer her on. Jane passed away in January this year, aged just 47, following a battle with liver failure. Her death came just one day before Robyn was due to take her final examination. Despite the devastating news, Robyn summed up all her strength and decided to sit the exam, knowing it was what her mum would have wanted. Speaking ahead of her graduation Robyn said: “It was really tough, but I decided to take the exam as my mum is the reason I'm at university in the first place and she had always encouraged me to work hard. The School of Psychology at Queen’s were really helpful and informed me of my options regarding extenuating circumstances. I couldn’t have done it without their support. “My mum was such an inspiring woman with such a great work ethic and I think she passed that down to me. I decided to continue with my final year as I knew she'd want me to graduate no matter what. A degree from Queen’s opens pathways to new professions and I have learnt many new skills that I will use in the future. My time here has really fuelled my passion for research, and I hope one day to be able to study Clinical Psychology at Queen’s. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life.” Robyn, who is now planning to start a PhD in the School of Psychology in October, will be celebrating her graduation with her boyfriend George, her brother Warren, and her family and friends. Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office on 02890973087 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A talented student, who has helped develop the first-ever mental health campaign at Queen’s University, is celebrating her graduation this week. Emma Francis, who is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, is the president of ‘Mind Your Mood’, a campaign based at Queen’s that is helping to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and well-being among students. Emma, from West Lancashire in England, has worked with a range of mental health charities to increase the number of workshops offered to students at Queen’s teaching important skills on how to manage their mental health, for example through cognitive behavioural therapy. She is also a volunteer advocate at Holywell Psychiatric Hospital for one of Northern Ireland’s leading charities, the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health, where she visits patients offering support and guidance. Emma, who following graduation will be starting a Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Research at King’s College London, said: “I got involved in the campaign because I wanted to make students aware of how important it is to protect their mental health throughout their time at university. The support of Queen’s for this student-led campaign has led to Mind Your Mood being a great success, reaching over 2000 students to date. This university is renowned for creating global citizens who are ready to achieve success and make a difference in society. “A Queen’s degree is more than just a qualification; it has broadened my horizons and given me the confidence and skills needed to pursue my future career. My time here has opened doorways to a world of opportunities.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office on 02890973087 or email@example.com
An award-winning brother and sister from Magherafelt will be celebrating their success at this year’s summer graduation ceremonies. Grace McKenna graduated with a degree in Medicine on Friday (July 3) while her younger brother, Vincent, will receives a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering today. Both Grace and Vincent picked up prestigious awards during their time at Queen’s. Vincent is among six students from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering who received the Royal Academy of Engineering Advanced Leadership Awards, while Grace won the Medical Sciences category of the international Undergraduate Awards, aimed at recognising the brightest and most innovative undergraduate students in the world. The Royal Academy leadership award, which is awarded to only 30 recipients annually across all engineering disciplines in all UK universities, offers ambitious engineering undergraduates the chance to undertake an accelerated personal development programme. As part of his degree Vincent spent his third year on placement working for the Red Bull Formula One racing team in Milton Keynes, took part in a three-week student exchange visit to India and learnt to speak Italian. Vincent said: “A degree from Queen’s is much more than an education, it is a life changing experience. The opportunities for placements and exchanges really is incredible and I would never have imagined getting a placement with Formula One was possible.” Grace said: “Queen’s equips you not just with a qualification but skills that make you workplace ready and confident about your ability to make a difference. I look forward to taking up my job in August and using my degree to make a positive impact.” Vincent plans to do a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s, while his sister starts work with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in August. They join 94 per cent of Queen’s students who are in employment or further study six months after graduating. Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office on 02890973087 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of talented students graduating from Queen’s today have helped shape the future of Belfast City centre. Under the guidance of Dr M. Satish Kumar, a number of Geography graduates volunteered to take part in the Young Civic Leaders of Northern Ireland programme. They are: Steven Donnelly, Naomi Watson, Ellyn Murphy, Emma Walsh, Sinead Morris, Amy Bell, Amy Morgan, Patrick Deboys, Laura Keenan, Iram Rasool, Brendan Rogers and Shauna McGreevy, Shannon McGarrigle, Ryan Devine, Katherine Dowdall, Rebekah McCready, Noleen McCloskey, Amy-Ruth Dunlop and Conleth McGillan The programme, hosted by Liam Lynch of Square Pit Collaborative, Titanic Quarters, gave the students an opportunity to directly contribute to the vision of Belfast City Council with their ideas and opinions on how services in the city centre can be developed and improved. They took part in a range of discussions including how to use derelict spaces, how to improve the traffic infrastructure and the potential of pedestrianizing Belfast. Steven Donnelly said: “Having the chance to gain work-related experience, and to contribute to the city’s new vision, has been a really enjoyable experience. It is proof that a degree from Queen’s is more than just a qualification, it’s a chance to gain experience and opportunities that can be taken into working life.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office, on 02890973087 or email@example.com
A pioneering Archaeology student who is carrying out fieldwork on ancient sites in Africa, will graduate this week. Stephen Armstrong, who is graduating with First Class Honours MSci in Archaeology, has recently been awarded a prestigious British Institute in East Africa (BIEA) Graduate Attachment which has given him the opportunity to gain experience on excavations in East Africa over the next year. During the course of his degree, Stephen has taken part in archaeological digs in Ireland and Scotland, contributed to high profile field studies with Cambridge University and the British School in Rome and assisted the Queen’s University, ERC funded FRAGSUS project in Malta. Stephen, who grew up in Tanzania and hopes to carry out fieldwork there, is developing his own independent research project on Swahili Settlement and Architecture and wants to pursue a PhD in the future. He said: “My time at Queen’s has given me the opportunity to enjoy my passion in life and to gain experiences and opportunities I could never have imagined. The School of Archaeology at Queen’s offers a wide range of international placements and internship opportunities that broaden your horizons and allow you to achieve success. The archaeology teaching staff are leaders in their academic fields and give great support to their students.” “A Queen’s degree is more than just a qualification, it has given me the skills, confidence and ambition to explore new ideas and make a lasting difference to society.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office, on 02890973087 or firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most respected engineers in the UK and a leading Northern Ireland businessman are to be honoured by Queen’s University today (Monday 6 July). Currently serving as President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Dame Ann Dowling embarked on a distinguished career by becoming the first female Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she also studied. She has held visiting posts at MIT and Caltech in the USA and continues to research and teach at Cambridge. She is best known, however, as an international authority on aircraft acoustics, combustion and vibration, and leads research into how to cut down on noise levels at airports, especially for people living in the immediate vicinity. Speaking of her honorary DScEng, Dame Ann said: “To receive this recognition from such a prestigious university, and a university with such a fine heritage, that’s known for its engineering pedigree going back 160 years, is a considerable honour. I very much look forward to sharing this special occasion with students who will be graduating on the same day.” One of Northern Ireland’s most successful exports, Shaun T Kelly will also be honoured today for his contribution to the local economy and fostering of business in Northern Ireland. Originally from west Belfast, Shaun graduated with a First Class Honours in Commerce from University College Dublin. Most recently he has served as Vice Chairman of Operations for KPMG in the United States, and Chief Operating Officer for KPMG International’s Americas region. While Shaun’s responsibilities with KPMG took him to America in the early 1980s, he has remained a prominent figure in Irish-American circles and the business community. He has been featured in Irish America Magazine’s Wall Street 50 each year since 2009. Never forgetting his roots, Shaun has remained committed to strengthening investment and growth in his home country. He was involved in a working group to develop economic support in Northern Ireland and continues to work with Invest NI, meeting potential investors interested in the region. He has also brought to Ireland Enactus, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world, and is an active supporter of Queen’s City Scholarship programme. Speaking of his DSc Econ for services to business and commerce, he said: “It’s an incredible honour to be recognized by such an important institution, and to have that happen in the city where I grew up. I have enjoyed building connections with Queen’s in recent years, and watching its world-class programmes and extraordinary students make vital and lasting contributions, not only to the Northern Ireland economy but to the world at large. I am proud and delighted to be returning to the university today for this very special occasion.” Media inquiries to the Queen’s University Communications Office, on 02890973087 or email@example.com