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Uversity’s Higher Education Scholarships for Adult Learners

Four QUB Mature Students Awarded Uversity Scholarships


Jamaica De Guzman, Paula Downey, Ciara Hughes and Megan Peaches Jennings have been awarded Higher Education Scholarships for Adult Learners from Registered Charity Uversity to pursue Bachelor’s Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast.   Uversity has offered 41 Scholarships to adult learners to commence Bachelor’s Degrees at twenty-one different higher education institutions on the island of Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year.  Profiles of all Uversity Scholars can be found here.


Uversity’s scholarships are intended to remove financial barriers so adult learners can unlock their potential and realise their ambitions.  Uversity’s scholarships provide multi-annual financial support for recipients to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree for the first time in participating third level institutions in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.  Scholarships can be in any subject area and are tailored to recipients’ financial circumstances to cover the costs associated with higher education. 


Successful candidates must be able to demonstrate academic potential, a clear motivation and ambition for returning to education, a drive to succeed, strong work ethic and financial need.  Uversity is particularly keen to support candidates who have an ability to be transformed and transform others as a result of this scholarship and educational experience.


In welcoming the 2020/21 Scholars, Uversity’s Interim Chair Brian O’Sullivan remarked,  “We’re really delighted in this difficult year to have found 41 individuals with the drive and the ambition to take the courageous step to change course and attend university having not had that opportunity at an earlier stage. Uversity scholars demonstrate huge potential to be successful in their chosen fields of study.  They have a vision for how to apply their degrees to advance.”

Speaking about this year’s Scholarships and virtual events planned for Uversity Scholars, Uversity’s Chief Executive Officer, Colleen Dube said, “Uversity’s scholarship programme is continuously evolving and adapting.  This year we received close to 650 applications and are astounded by the ambition and determination of the candidates to pursue their Degrees in spite of the challenges posed by COVID.  Uversity is committed to providing our Scholars with financial as well as professional and personal development support.  The virtual fora that we have initiated for our new and existing Scholars will provide an invaluable opportunity to create community and camaraderie in a time of uncertainty.”



Colleen Dube, CEO

M: 087 905 1222 || E:


Registered address is: IFSC House | Custom House Quay | Dublin D01 R2P9 | Ireland




Jamaica De Guzman

Queen’s University Belfast

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Software Engineering with Placement


Leaving school without formal qualifications, Jamaica worked for twelve years in multinational hospitality and retail companies.  During this time she was exposed to integrated software and hardware solutions which tested the depths of her knowledge of technology and capabilities in complex computational problems.  Wanting to qualify as a software engineering, Jamaica enrolled on a Diploma in Computing for the Economy to prepare for her degree.  Jamaica volunteers with Cancer Fund for Children, You Glow Girl Northern Ireland and the British Heart Foundation because she believes small steps can make a change in someone's life.


Paula Downey

Queen’s University Belfast

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), English & History


Paula reluctantly left school early in 1985 to work full-time.  Despite squeezing night-school and vocational qualifications between her work and voluntary commitments, Paula’s dream to complete her education failed to materialise.  She spent the last fifteen years as a self-employed consultant, assisting employers in identifying and assessing the most suitable candidates for recruitment and coaching those seeking career progression.  Noting an increasing number of international applicants experiencing disadvantage due to their English language proficiency, Paula identified an opportunity to help.  In 2019 she commenced a five-year plan to enable her to teach English to speakers of other languages with particular emphasis on preparing jobseekers for success.  Completing Belfast Metropolitan College’s Access Course provided an excellent foundation to her degree. Paula ultimately plans to open an affordable-to-all language school in Belfast.

Ciara Hughes

Queen’s University Belfast

Bachelor of Science (Honours), Midwifery Sciences

Having been out of formal education since 2006, Ciara left a secure job in sales to retrain as a midwife.  In preparation for this, Ciara has completed Northern Regional College’s Access Diploma in Social Science while working as a Healthcare Assistant and volunteering at a private antenatal and baby massage class.  Ciara’s short term ambition is to support and care for women and their families, enabling them to experience individualised holistic care. Her ultimate goal is to facilitate the opening of the first mother and baby unit in Northern Ireland which will provide support for women who are vulnerable and, or those suffering with perinatal mental illness.

Megan Peaches Jennings

Queen’s University Belfast

Bachelor of Science (Honours), Psychology

Having climbed a lot of hills and jumped over a lot of hurdles, Megan is pursuing her passions of psychology and animals.  Megan has completed an Access Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences at Belfast Metropolitan College.  She intends to explore the therapeutic benefit of animals in mental health treatment during her degree and qualification as a clinical psychologist.