Killeeshil graduate honoured with highest university accolade

Killeeshil PHD student Clare Scullion
Killeeshil PHD student Clare Scullion

Killeeshil graduate Clare Scullion has been named as the winner of the First Trust Bank Queen’s University Student of the Year Award.

Clare, who represented the university as an Olympic Torchbearer, is currently undertaking a PhD in Physics, expecting to graduate for a second time from Queen’s in 2016.

An exemplary student, Clare has been recognised for her leadership within Queen’s Ladies Gaelic Football Club, for setting up TanzaniAID – a unique volunteering project using science to help some of the poorest young people in the world – and for her involvement in a Women In Physics Event at Queen’s, which addressed the lack of females in physics.

Clare recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and took part in the Belfast Marathon, raising more than £10,000 to fund and install solar panels in a school in Tanzania. And, as part of her 300 volunteer hours this year, she also supports undergraduate teaching by delivering weekly tutorials and workshops within her faculty to help younger Queen’s students.

Clare has received a trophy and £500 for winning the award which recognises excellence, achievement or service by a Queen’s student, either to the university or to the wider community.

When asked how she manages to juggle her competing sporting, charity and academic pursuits, she said:

“I have to plan my time well and make lots of to-do lists! My PhD working time can be pretty flexible which helps. If I know I have a match the next day then I will stay late in the office working on physics the night before or I will sit at the front of the bus working on my laptop on the way to the football game! It is easy to keep on top of it all because they are all things I enjoy doing.”

Clare paid tribute to her parents for their inspirational role in guiding her to success.

“My parents are the two most inspiring people I have ever met. They juggle working life, a personal taxi rank for their 8 children, top quality dinners and they attend every football match, music recital, parent-teacher meeting, fundraiser and anything else that crops up. “They take it all in their stride. It is because of their example that juggling 50 tasks at once doesn’t seem strange to me!

“I also acknowledge the wonderful education I received locally: firstly from St Mary’s Primary School Cabragh and then St Patrick’s Academy (4 A’s at A-Level in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology). This good basic grounding from excellent teachers helped me to graduate in 2012 with First Class Honours in MSci Physics from Queen’s University Belfast.”