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What are our graduates doing now?

Lisa McGee
Lisa McGee
Writer of Derry Girls on Channel 4

"I wanted to study at Queen’s because of its reputation. Queen’s is known and respected throughout the world. Also, they had just started offering a drama degree that year.

“At Queen’s, I first got interested in Irish writers, particularly Irish playwrights. When I wrote some of my earlier plays, I met some people at Queen’s. When I graduated, me and some people from Queen’s set up a theatre company: we did some plays in pubs, we did some site-specific theatre and that was where I learned my trade, really.

“I am still working with a lot of people I met at Queen’s. A lot of Northern Irish actors went to Queen’s and our costume designer on Derry Girls, the brilliant Cathy Prior, was actually the year below me. We shared some classes.

“I made some brilliant connections while I was at Queen’s. Queen’s is also a great place socially. I met lots of amazing friends in halls who I am still friends with and they have provided me with great material. Lots of our exploits have made it into my TV work!

“I am very envious of young people living in Belfast these days; it’s just changed so much. It’s a really exciting, thriving city and it has this booming TV industry now.

"If you are interested in a career in TV and Film – and that is not just writing and editing; it’s everything from composing to designing to accountancy and law – you have so much opportunity on your doorstep now, it’s really amazing.

"If I had a piece of advice for students nowadays it would be: don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are there to learn and experiment and have a good time. Try and enjoy the whole university experience.”

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Kerri McCrea
Manager and Co-Founder of Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand and Queen’s Zoology graduate

Studying Zoology at Queen’s gives you such a broad variety of options and opens many doors. I now run my very own elephant sanctuary and foundation by working with the local people to bring their elephants away from tourism and home to the forest – Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary.

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Jonathan Scott
Wildlife photographer, zoologist, host of Big Cat Diary, BSc Zoology 1972

"Queen's helped me to believe in myself and my abilities; it taught me the benefit of self-discipline, but it also proved to me that learning and studying can be fun. The Queen’s experience is very inclusive and multi-faceted: it’s not just about getting a degree, it’s about becoming a more rounded individual."

Queen's helped me to believe in myself and my abilities; it taught me the benefit of self-discipline, but it also proved to me that learning and studying can be fun. The Queen’s experience is very inclusive and multi-faceted: it’s not just about getting a degree, it’s about becoming a more rounded individual.

"Queen's encourages - demands even - high standards and the pursuit of excellence. It made me realise that if I worked hard and persevered, I could succeed in earning a good degree - and in whatever I chose to do with my life. Queen's fosters an attitude of being true to yourself. It opened my eyes to the fact that you need to own your life, to take responsibility for your path in life and make your life happen rather than expecting someone else to do the hard work for you.

Having a degree from Queen's made me feel that anything was possible - that I could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best. It gave me confidence and a powerful sense of self-belief.

Queen's was an exceptionally happy place to live and learn, and that was in no small way due to the warmth and friendliness of the people."

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Karen Hassan
Actress (Hollyoaks, The Fall), BA Drama 2004

"At Queen's, I discovered that I wanted to act as a profession. Not only did my Queen's experience give me a good work ethic and training, but it helped guide me down a specific career path. If I had not gone to Queen's, then I would not be acting today. It was a stepping stone to where I am now.'

"I remember the first day I stepped through the black and white hall, by myself, on my first day. I was completely overwhelmed with anticipation. Three years later, I left with my degree, more confident and with a purpose.

Queen's really opened me up as a person. I found some of the best friendships I've known and found a new confidence in myself. So many friends I've met at Queen’s are still working in the industry, as directors, actors, stage design, costumes and so on, in theatre, TV and film. Queens gave me access to that professional community. Those relationships I've made have not only helped me in a professional aspect, but they are my support system, too. Queen's has a great reputation as a university and really invests in its students. I loved it. I would recommend it to anyone."

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Brian McGilloway
Best-selling author, BA English 1995

"I'll never forget winter evenings spent in the library in Queen’s researching for essays or reading around texts. Those research skills, and the ability to meet deadlines and balance work demands have proven invaluable in my career as a writer."

"Queen’s made me more rounded as a person. Throughout my time at Queen's, I got to meet so many great people from different backgrounds with different experiences; I encountered such a wide range of perspectives which helped inform my own world view.

Everything from my love for Tom Waits to my views on so many social issues were influenced by the people I knew and the experiences I gained through my time at Queen’s. My lecturers and tutors were also hugely influential.

I loved my time at Queen’s. The support I received from staff, the academic rigour of my tutors and lecturers and the friendships I made outside of class have been huge influences on me. Queen’s opened up ideas, introduced me to texts and allowed me experiences I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to encounter."

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Aswin Sekhar
Dr Aswin Sekhar FRAS
First professional meteor scientist from India - PhD Physics (2014)

Dr Aswin Sekhar FRAS has been recognised as the First Professional Meteor Scientist from India. Aswin completed his PhD in Physics at Queen’s University in 2014. 


“Both staff and students at Queen's were really welcoming to me. I am forever grateful to Northern Ireland for all the love, hospitality, and care.  Comet expert Prof Mark Bailey MBE was an inspiring brain and generous personality during my time in NI.  
My PhD supervisor hosted some fun BBQ parties at his beautiful home in Armagh. His wife was an icon of hospitality and an amazing chef and superb solar physicist. I miss their jolly good parties, music, movies, and happy vibes.” 

Aswin was born at Ottappalam, Kerala, India and he is currently employed as a Meteor Scientist at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics, Paris Observatory in France.  

Recently the International Astronomical Union (IAU) named a minor planet '33928 Aswinsekhar' in his honour in recognition of his work related to resonance and relativity in meteor science. 

“Planet 33928 Aswinsekhar was discovered by a team at Lowell Observatory, Arizona. The International Astronomical Union chose to name it after me to recognise my work in meteor science. Perhaps it was also because this minor planet has an unusually large eccentricity, which matches with my personality!” 

Aswin is closely involved in many science outreach projects with rural and tribal schools of India to convert students into future space scientists of his country.  

“I design science outreach projects for rural and tribal students in India. Recently we managed to donate telescopes to tribal schools. I also conduct career guidance sessions for students from under-privileged backgrounds, who cannot afford an education counsellor.” 

“My ultimate dream is to see every school in India having at least one telescope. It will create more astronomers and space scientists in India to enrich our future space missions. This is my life mission and some friends have nicknamed me ‘Crazy Telescope Man of India.’ 

In addition to being a solar system dynamicist, Aswin regularly contributes press articles for national and international media in matters related to science, technology, education, and science policy making.  

He is an award jury committee member of the Dannie Heineman Prize in Astrophysics instituted by the American Astronomical Society and American Institute of Physics. 

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Sara Venning
CEO at NI Water, MEng Electrical Engineering 1996

"My time at Queen’s reinforced my natural work ethic which has stood me in great stead ever since. The problem-solving skills I learned at Queen’s have been carried the whole way through my career; solving technical problems, initially, but latterly improving productivity and efficiency, to streamlining business processes."

"At Queen’s, I learned that I could operate outside my comfort zone; my time at Queen’s gave me the skills and ability to get through difficulties and to persevere.

The lecturers gave us independence, they opened our minds to a world of learning and opportunity, and I loved it. Some of my class mates became friends for life –and we continue to support each other to this day.

When I graduated from Queen’s, the world was my oyster and I couldn't have been better equipped. Queen's is a wonderful institution – it combines the highest standards of academic learning and research, with a great location and people who really care. A degree from Queen’s will take you a long way."

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Sharon Noonan
Sharon Noonan
Podcast host of “Best Possible Taste” - Business Studies and French

Sharon Noonan is originally from Ballymena, Co Antrim.  Her maiden name, Devlin, is synonymous with fresh fruit and vegetables and she grew up in the family business.  Having studied Business Studies and French at Queen’s University Belfast, on graduating she embarked on a sales and marketing career which saw her travelling the globe with an agri/veterinary company, promoting the Northern Irish aerospace industry and returning to her Alma Mater, Queen’s University Belfast, to promote its world-class facilities to industry.

She now resides in Co Limerick where she works as a freelance marketing professional and chartered marketer with clients in the food, drink and hospitality sector.   

Sharon presents the weekly radio show and podcast, Best Possible Taste, focusing on food and drink topics. In 2023, the Best Possible Taste celebrated 10 years on the airwaves, making it Ireland’s longest-running food/drink radio show/podcast.  

Over the years, Sharon's warm and engaging interviews have featured an impressive array of culinary experts, celebrity chefs, food and drink writers, artisan producers and food enthusiasts.  Listeners have enjoyed gaining insights into their journeys, philosophies, and, of course, their favourite recipes.  

Her dedication to showcasing diverse voices has made the Best Possible Taste podcast a hub of inspiration for and celebration of those who are passionate about Irish food and drink.  

Sharon has also produced 2 BAI-funded radio documentaries – “Devlins’ Yellowman – A Taste of Childhood and” and “What a BLASt – Celebrating 10 Years of the Irish Food Awards.” She regularly MCs at events, chairs panel discussions and has been a guest judge at many hospitality food awards including the Blas na hEireann / Irish Food Awards.  

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Bertram Knappitsch
Bertram Knappitsch
Austrian Sound Engineer - MA Sonic Arts (2008)

Bertram Knappitsch from Vienna, Austria is a proud a proud alumnus of Queen's University Belfast, graduating in 2008 with a Master in Sonic Arts. It was during these formative years that he showcased his talents by composing and performing "Cross Dream Traffic", a spatial sonic theatre production conceptualized by Eric Lyon and Eric Belgium and directed by Anna Newell. The production set the stage for what would become a promising career in sound engineering.

Mr. Knappitsch, a renowned sound engineer, lecturer, and film producer has once again demonstrated his expertise in the cinematic soundscape. In 2023, he clinched the prestigious Austrian Film Prize for best sound, reflecting his impeccable skills and dedication to the craft.

The award-winning film "Rubikon", a captivating Austrian science fiction venture directed by Leni Lauritsch, resonated with audiences and critics alike, and Bertram's unparalleled mastery in sound mixing was a significant contributor to its success.

Beyond his achievements in film production, Bertram is a distinguished educator, imparting his wisdom and experiences as a lecturer in Film Production and Sound Engineering at the University of Klagenfurt.

Furthermore, his commitment to community engagement and environmental consciousness is evident in his innovative project "Children make Cinema". This initiative won him the "Energy and Environment Prize" in 2019 in Villach, underscoring his multifaceted talents and commitment to both social and environmental impact.

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Yolanda Cooper
Yolanda Cooper
Entrepreneur – launched The Conscious Beauty Group (BSc Management, 2007)

Cooper’s entrepreneurship journey began in a rather unlikely place: being stuck in Dublin Airport with overweight luggage. “It was because I was carrying a ton of different hair tools,” she remembers. “I thought: why isn’t there just one tool that does it all?”

She left her job as Head of Global Marketing at a beauty brand and launched The Conscious Beauty Group, a parent company that now includes three brands: We Are Paradoxx, which specialises in sustainable biotech haircare, Mini Humans, an eco-friendly baby care brand; and Supernova – multi-tasking hair tools, with the PRO being the world’s first integrated straightener, wand and tong.

“We created Conscious Beauty Group as a platform to allow us to build multiple beauty brands in different verticals, but all with the common denominator of sustainability at their core.” It’s been a long and demanding journey. After a five-year development process, the Supernova PRO has just been granted a patent and will launch in July.

But Cooper says that her degree was the perfect preparation for an entrepreneur’s life. “It gave me a fundamental understanding of all the aspects of running a business: economics, finance, innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing and ethics. It helped me understand that you don’t necessarily need to have a specialism – but you do need to know how to spin ten plates at once. And it gave me the leadership ability to know when I need that specialist knowledge, and to bring the right people in.”

Cooper says that universities and their alumni communities have a vital role to play in inspiring entrepreneurs like her. “In fact, I’d say it should start in primary school! I’m always encouraging my eight-year-old to invent things. When I was young, I’d invent things and my Dad would say, ‘Surely if it’s a good idea, it would already exist’. And I’d always say that everything has to be created at some point. Every industry evolves.”

And despite her busy schedule, Cooper is keen to give back – she’s already spoken at Queen’s and her old school, Belfast Royal Academy, about her experiences. “I’ve met so many young people who have these amazing ideas but don’t yet have the business acumen needed to execute them. I feel that it’s our duty to pass our expertise along – particularly when you’re a female entrepreneur, as role models are so important.”

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Michael O’Hagan
Hydrographer, Melbourne, Australia, BSc Geography – 2005

"As well as the knowledge I picked up from my BSc Geography, it was the non-curricular skills obtained during my time at QUB, that have proven most beneficial in my career. Building the ability to communicate effectively through presentations in front of 100 or so fellow students, developing relationships with lecturers, mentors and fellow students are all key skills required in my current role."

"Even small things like punctuality, social skills and professionalism are traits that blossomed during my time at Queens – these are the things that many of us take for granted but in my experience, no employer will employ you on knowledge and technical ability alone – Human skills are just as, if not more important.

The second year field trip to Majorca was an excellent perk that helped sway me but predominantly I’ve always had a fascination of how the world was shaped both naturally and demographically, hence my decision to study Geography. I tended to favour the physical elements of the course.

It was studying modules like “Landforms and Landscapes” and “Arid Environments” where I developed a particular interest in river landscapes. Ironically a lot of the case studies in the latter of these modules were based on Australia and its ongoing drought issues.

The knowledge obtained from these modules have helped shape my career, where I now work in measuring river flows for use in flood warning models and environmental management in the beautiful but fragile Yarra River Catchment in Melbourne."

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Karena Vaughan
Founder & Managing Director, Catalina Consulting, London, BEd 1991, MA French 1995

“The discipline and skills that I developed as a student at Queen’s have been invaluable. From a personal perspective, the experience of meeting new people from different backgrounds has been really valuable in helping me to build new networks of friends as a moved around for work."

“When I graduated, being able to show that I could engage successfully with people from a different country and culture and that I could live and work overseas helped me to apply for and to succeed in winning some really interesting roles in international business development.

I remember being very impressed with the work-ethic that I encountered at Queen’s. I found myself surrounded by people who seemed so driven, so ambitious and so ready to work hard that it was impossible not to be inspired and motivated by them.

We worked hard, but we had a fantastic time as well. The camaraderie, the friendships, the help and support that was freely offered have created long-lasting memories.

Queen’s combines academia with access to industry, providing a practical education in a supportive environment.”

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Declan Tiernan
MD at Oak Hill Advisors, London, BSc Applied Maths andPhysics 1992, PhD Theoretical Physics 1996

“The inquisitive approach to analysis – which perhaps even verges on the sceptical at times – was something that became ingrained in me from my training at Queen’s, and it has been an extremely useful in my career thus far."

"One thing I remember from Queen’s was how much I enjoyed meeting and getting to know people from other parts of Ireland, as well as from further afield. When I look back at my time at university, this process of broadening my network and meeting others from different cultures and backgrounds is something that I have continued to do ever since, and has been a key part of my growth in my career. During my time at Queen’s, I met many inspirational people – both members of staff and fellow students.

Queen’s is an unbelievable asset for Northern Ireland, and a fantastic place to both study, and grow as a young adult. The facilities and teaching are first class, but one of the key parts of going to university – broadening horizons and having fun – are such a part of life at Queen’s that I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to any young person about to embark on their university career."

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Marie Bradley
Dr Marie Bradley
Senior Pharmacoepidemiologist at the US FDA (Masters in Pharmacy, 2009)

Dr Marie Bradley obtained a Master’s in Pharmacy from Queen’s University Belfast in 2005 and worked as a pharmacist in Northern Ireland and England.

She obtained her PhD in pharmacoepidemiology from Queen’s University Belfast in 2009, where her thesis focused on common medication use and pancreatic cancer risk. She then completed a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship, focusing on inappropriate prescribing in older people.

Dr Bradley received a Master’s in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2013. She then undertook a 3-year Cancer Prevention Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Maryland, US, where her research focused on medication use and cancer risk and outcomes.

She has over 10 years of experience working as a pharmacoepidemiologist in academic, government and regulatory sectors in Europe and the US, 7 of which have been in the US. Dr Bradley currently works as a senior pharmacoepidemiologist at the US FDA.

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Stephen Lamony
Stephen Lamony
Independent Consultant in International Criminal Law and Human Rights (Master of Law in Human Rights Law and Criminal Justice)

Stephen A. Lamony is an Independent Consultant in International Criminal Law and Human Rights. Most recently, he served as a Senior Foreign Policy Adviser in the Office of the Senior Director for International and as a Senior United Nations Advocate, Africa, at Amnesty International in the International Law and Policy Directorate.

Prior to joining Amnesty International, Stephen worked as Head of Advocacy and Policy on United Nations, African Union and Africa-ICC situations at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), during which he developed the organizations advocacy strategies with Inter Governmental Organization’s and the International Criminal Court.

Prior to that, he was the Executive Director for the Ugandan Coalition for the international Criminal Court (UCICC).  He has also served as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Uganda Victims Foundation and a Human Rights Officer at Human Rights Focus (HURIFO), where he investigated, monitored and documented human rights violations in 53 internally displaced person’s camps in northern Uganda and advocated for the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations.

He has a Master of Law in Human Rights Law and Criminal Justice from Queens University Belfast.

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Sinead O'Sullivan
Sinead O’Sullivan
Senior Research Fellow at the Schwarzman College of Computing (Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering)

Sinead O’Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from Queen’s University of Belfast, a Certificate of Space Studies from the International Space University, a Master’s of Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

She has previously worked with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Human Spaceflight missions and has focused on space technology commercialization at Harvard Business School where she was an Entrepreneurship Fellow. She is now working at MIT as a Senior Research Fellow at the Schwarzman College of Computing and a Fellow at the US Centre for Climate and Security.

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Chris Gregg
Chris Gregg
Entrepreneur – Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Lightyear - (BA Politics and History, 2005)

Chris Gregg, who graduated from Queen’s with a BA in Politics & History (2005), is a highly motivated business leader who has 10 years of experience across the technology industry from founding and managing fintech companies, to leadership roles in fortune 500 corporations.

“Queen’s has an excellent reputation and the quality of education available is highly regarded. Belfast is a fabulous city so I was very happy to spend my university years there,” said Chris.  

“Politics and History had always interested me and I believed the course would provide me with the rounded skillsets required to pursue a career in business.

“My degree provided me with great analytical and interpretive skills; the politics element gave me a great insight into people of influence and how to gain results by influencing those around you. Politics is no different to business.”

An award-winning global Software as a Service (SaaS) business and financial software company, Lightyear develops and builds cutting-edge fintech products for businesses and accountants and bookkeepers. Headquartered in Belfast with offices in Australia Lightyear’s Payables & Procurement platform is available in more than 40 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in the Asia-Pacific region.

And what advice would he have for young or recent Queen’s graduates who might be thinking about setting up their own business? 

“If you look at someone and find inspiration, know that they too were in your shoes one day and had the belief to do something special.

“The potential to do something special is in all of us; you just need to work hard, be humble and believe in yourself.”

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Christine McKenna Tirella
Christine McKenna
New York casting agent specialist (Law LLB, 2006)

A thorough knowledge of – and passion for – the worlds of TV, film, and theatre, along with a keen eye for talent and a comprehensive knowledge of actors and acting, are all attributes that Queen’s graduate Christine McKenna-Tirella has in abundance.

The New York casting and talent specialist at Backstage worked across a variety of mediums including commercials, TV, film, and theatre at the high-profile offices of Stewart/Whitley Casting, Harriet Bass Casting, Telsey+Co, and Paladino Casting, before joining the weekly magazine and online platform.

Christine is an expert in sourcing, casting and booking talent and has over 10 years of industry experience of projects ranging from commercials to Broadway and everything in between!  

“I am originally from Bangor, County Down,” Christine told her alma mater. “I moved to New York to pursue a career in entertainment – via attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) – upon my graduation from Queen’s.”

Graduating with an LLB (2006) from Queen’s, she also holds a Diploma in Acting from London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) (2003), as well as an Associate Acting Degree from AADA in Manhattan, New York (2008), a clear indication of where she hoped her future career lay.

"Although my Law degree doesn’t play directly into my current career, the experiences I had as a student at the University certainly set me up to succeed. I’ve always keenly followed theatre and the arts, and Queen’s gave me multiple opportunities to experience fantastic art.

“Even though I live in New York, I am still very close with all of my school mates who attended Queen’s with me,” she said. “There is a very strong group of Queen’s alumni here; last year I attended the Seamus Heaney Centre Showcase featuring the talented artist and writing graduates from the University, including honorary graduate Colin Davidson, who spoke about his last meeting with Seamus Heaney.

“It was an impressive and inspiring event, and a great networking opportunity.

“If I was to give my younger self advice it would be to get into networking with my fellow Queen’s alumni sooner! I find we are a helpful, genuine, talented bunch of people that are more than happy to help each other in our careers!”

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Gavan Corr
Gavan Corr
Co-founder of New York technology firm Qarik (BSc Economics and Business, 1996)

Founded in 2019 by senior technology consultants Gavan Corr and business partner Joe Schenk, Qarik provides cloud-based data management and analysis software development services to corporate customers in the US including banks and financial services companies.

Qarik has already recruited almost 40 people – mainly software engineers and data scientists – in its River House base on High Street in Belfast, which brings the company’s total to 55 on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I grew up in Country Armagh, graduated from Queen’s University and completed a post-grad at Ulster University so I knew that Northern Ireland was the right place for this research team.

“Not only has this been the right decision, it has been such a positive experience that we have been able to grow the team much quicker than anticipated. Exceeding all our expectations, we already have 37 of the 50 jobs in place.

“This not only gives us confidence in our decision but optimism for future growth here.”

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Catherine Wright
Young Interpreter of the Year 2023 - MA Public History

“I recently received the award for Young Interpreter of the Year, at the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) Engaging People Awards 2023. The AHI is a professional body that works across Great Britain and Ireland, supporting those who are involved in the practice of engaging people with our natural and cultural heritage. As defined by the AHI: 'Interpretation inspires, engages and connects. We promote excellence in the practice and provision of interpretation and to gain wider recognition of interpretation as a professional activity.'


"The receipt of the Young Interpreter of the Year award is an important milestone in my career, as recognition for the work I have been involved in across the island of Ireland. Already in my career, I have led the planning and delivery of interpretation on projects that range from community-based heritage centres to large-scale visitor experiences as an Interpretation Planner at Tandem Design.

"I believe that this work is particularly important in Northern Ireland, where entrenched identities and binary narratives can stifle collective understanding of our shared history. Interpretation is a vital tool of communication in this context, providing an alternative medium for people to share their stories and engage with complex and often multiple perspectives on the past.

"I'm deeply passionate about this impactful work and believe in the power of heritage interpretation to connect people with the history, stories, communities, and natural world around them.

"Crucially, I attribute so much of my learning and understanding of the field of heritage interpretation to the MA Public History programme at Queen’s. The course helped me realise my ambition to bring history beyond the confines of academia and into the public sphere and supported my learning of the theories and skills to bring history to wider and more diverse audiences. I have shared my success with the QUB Public History Team and am extremely grateful for their continued support in my career development.

"For more information on the AHI and the Engaging People Awards, you can visit their website and awards page."

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Tessa Breslin
Tessa Breslin
Head of YSC North America at YSC Consulting (MSc in Occupational Psychology, 1999)

Proudly describing herself as a ‘Derry Girl’, Tessa graduated from Queen’s in 1998 with a degree in Psychology and went on to win a scholarship to complete her MSc (1999) in Occupational Psychology at the University.

“I thoroughly enjoyed Queen’s. It was a rich, rewarding experience on lots of fronts. I made great choices in studying Psychology and Occupational Psychology; they were absolutely the right programmes for me and I enjoyed the faculty, the learning, and my classmates,” said Tessa.

“I had considered pursuing options in England and Scotland but my heart was really set on staying in Northern Ireland and I was glad that Queen’s worked out for me,” she added.     

“I made lifelong friends at Queen’s and have fond memories of the Bunatee (also known to many as the Bottom Bar), folk nights in the Speakeasy, running for the 212 Maiden City flyer on a Friday afternoon and quiz nights in the Egg (the Eglantine Inn on Malone Road); I could go on!

“I also achieved a First Class Honours degree of which I’m very proud and my journey in Queen’s was with my now husband, Declan!”

As part of her Master’s degree Tessa undertook a three-month placement in London with internal communications consultancy Banner McBride, part of the multinational comms, advertising, PR, tech and commerce company, WPP. When her degree programme finished, and clearly recognising her talent, the CEO offered Tessa a permanent role, which she gladly accepted.

In addition to being offered a job off the back of a placement, Tessa cites landing the Head of Talent role at British Airports Authority (BAA) – where she spent five years playing a key part in talent reviews and succession planning for leaders running airports – among her career highlights.

She followed that up in a similar role at Sodexo where she had responsibility for performance, talent, and leadership development for 48,000 people.

Then, in 2010, came the move to leadership strategy consultancy YSC, where initially she was Director and Head of YSC East Coast before taking on the role of Head of YSC North America.

YSC, established as Young Samuel Chambers Ltd. in London in 1989, helps organisations around the world drive leadership, interaction and culture to achieve commercial and/or organisational success.

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Bronagh Kelly
Bronagh Kelly
State Bar of Nevada 2020 Young Lawyer of the Year (Law LLB, 2010)

Graduating from Queen’s in 2010 with a Bachelor of Laws in Common and Civil Law with Hispanic Studies, Bronagh spent her third year at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain (2008-09), studying Spanish Law, Spanish language, as well as other European languages.

After graduation, she passed the New York Bar Exam in 2011 and began practicing law the following year at the nationally renowned firm of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in New York City.

While in New York, Bronagh gained extensive litigation experience and handled complex commercial liability cases from inception through resolution, which included motion practice, court appearances, and client contact. Her clients included an international furniture manufacturer, two of the world’s largest hotel chains, car rental companies, international clothing retailers, an international not-for-profit conservation society, and some of the nation’s largest insurance companies. Many of the cases were valued in excess of $10 million.

In 2020, Bronagh was awarded The Young Lawyer of the Year Award, which is presented to a young attorney or attorneys whose professional and public service achievements merit special recognition. Although all commitments to civic participation and community service achievements that advance the state of the profession are considered, special consideration is given to contributions to the State Bar of Nevada and its Young Lawyers Section.

“The connections I made during my time at Queen's have proven to be invaluable to me.

“I truly believe that none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the instruction and guidance provided by all during my time at Queen's University."

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James Chambers
James Chambers
Investigator at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston Massachusetts (Masters in Pharmacy)

James holds a Master of Sciences in Pharmacy from Queen’s University of Belfast, a Master of Sciences of Health Economics from the University of York, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Economics from Brunel University London.

He is now an investigator at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston Massachusetts, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University.

Marese Keane
Mareese Keane
Co-founder of Opengate Partners (BSc in Geology; MSc in Applied Environmental Sciences)

Mareese has more than 20 years’ experience helping enterprises evaluate and create new opportunities for growth and development. She co-founded Opengate Partners, in 2020, to service the intersection of AgTech start-ups and corporations, helping to design and deliver unique corporate innovation services for agriculture and food corporations and drive growth for new businesses through effective corporate engagement.

Previously she developed and ran the award-winning THRIVE acceleration program for AgTech startups. Mareese graduated from UCC with a BSc in Geology followed by a MSc in Applied Environmental Sciences from Queen's University of Belfast. Her early career was focused on environmental issues, specifically waste management and water and wastewater utilities.

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Stemele Turron
Semele Turro
Development Consultant (MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development)

Semele Turro Yared is a Development Consultant with experience in the environmental, media, and social justice sectors. Semele has become an expert non-profit strategist and fundraiser. She has nine years' non-profit experience in large NGOs like the Environmental Defense Fund and in community organisations like the Hell's Kitchen Rooftop Farm, and has worked with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. 

She has built fundraising programs from the ground up, led organisation-wide data migration and consolidations and redesigned development and organisational strategies. She graduated from Queen's University Belfast with an MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development.

Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Semele spent nearly eight years living between Belfast, London, and Dublin before she repatriated back to the US in 2014.

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