Scholar Stories

Sinéad Cullen

Ad Astra Academic Scholar

As a student of engineering, my particular areas of interest are electronics and programming. I'm also a keen language learner.

The scholarship enabled me to undertake an internship in Furukawa, Japan the summer following first year. I worked in the prototype department of a company which designs electronic components for cars. My co-workers brought me to new places every weekend so that, along with learning about the company, I also got to experience Japanese culture. Practicing my Japanese was also fun.

July of this year will see me in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I'm using the Ad Astra stipend to go volunteering in a day centre for underprivileged children. Having recently started studying Spanish I'm looking forward to the opportunity to put it to use with the kids and teachers in the day care. 

Peadar Ó Lamhna

Bord na Gaeilge

Ag teacht ó scoil lán-Bhéarla dom, bhí mé beagáinín neirbhíseach faoina raibh i ndán dom i dTeach na Gaeilge Bhord na Gaeilge, An COBÁC ach taobh istigh d’achar an-ghairid bhí 23 deartháir agus deirfiúr nua agam as gach cearn den tír. Cé nach raibh an Ghaeilge mar ábhar staidéir agam féin, ba í an Ghaeilge a thug le chéile muid. Le linn mo thréimhse i dTeach na Gaeilge, chuir mé aithne ar an oiread sin daoine idir chónaitheoirí agus iar-chónaitheoirí sa chaoi is go bhfuil ciorcal ollmhór cairde agam anois. Ón gcéad lá sa teach dom bhí mé lárnach i saol na Gaeilge UCD agus d’éirigh liom an t-uafás scileanna a fhorbairt; fuair mé deis a bheith ar dhuine de lucht eagraithe Rás UCD, rás 5 ciliméadar timpeall an champais, chuir mé clár raidió le chéile, agus bhí mé i mo bhall de choiste an Chumainn Gaelaigh, ceann de na Cumainn Ghaelacha is mó sa tír le breis is 1800 ball ann. Anuas ar sin, bhí seans agam páirt a ghlacadh i gclár idirnáisiúnta Bhord na Gaeilge; malartán le Taigh na Gàidhlig, Ollscoil Ghlaschú, Albain agus bhí sé seo ar fad ar bhun agam le linn dom céim a bhaint amach sa Dlí le Polaitíocht! Mo thréimhse i dTeach na Gaeilge, ba é an tréimhse ab fhearr im’ shaol!

Paul O'Donovan

Ad Astra Elite Athlete

I was delighted to have been accepted into the UCD Ad Astra Elite Athlete Academy in 2012. Coming from Cork it was a big move going to College in Dublin, but the Academy helped make that easy. Guaranteed subsidised accommodation on campus with fellow elite athletes and other Ad Astra students, along with the added bonus of having meals provided in the residence, created the perfect environment for me to train hard and study while away from home for the first time. The fact that they had facilities for all my ‘off the water’ training needs including expert S & C coaching, nutritional support and physiological testing  all under one roof really simplified my training regime. I completed Stage 1 of Health and Performance Science, but have decided to transfer to Physiotherapy for Stage 2.   With the help of my Academic mentor and the Academy Administrator the transfer process was easy. The support provided by everyone at the Academy contributed in no small way to my bronze medal at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Linz, 2013, and I am grateful to the full team at the Academy and am looking forward to the challenges ahead knowing that I have this support behind me.

Niall Stafford

Choral Scholar

In so many ways, UCD Choral Scholars has been my college life over the last four years! Having wanted to study Commerce for some time, I identified UCD as having the premier BComm degree. It came as a bonus when I discovered that the university also had a top-class choir. Having successfully auditioned, I quickly made a lot of new friends who shared my enthusiasm for choral music. 

Four years on from those initial tentative steps into Memorial Hall on a warm September's evening in 2009, Choral Scholars is thriving.  This year alone, we won two prizes in the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil, as well as taking first place in the National Open Competition for Church Music at the Cork International Choral Festival, not to mention a trip to Budapest to participate in the 14th International Choir Competition and Festival. However, the real success of the year probably has to be the release of our debut EP, The Parting Glass, on iTuneswhich has done phenomenally well, reaching a high of No.2 on the Irish album downloads chart...second only to Daft Punk's new album, Random Access Memories!

 Being a Choral Scholar is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your musical education at an extremely high level, whether you have a choral, solo, musical or traditional background. We're privileged to have a magnificent conductor, Desmond Earley, whose musical knowledge spans a plethora of genres. There have been many highlights over the years, from performing on The Late Late Show, to touring and competing abroad in England, Italy and Hungary. What will I take most from my time as a Choral Scholar? I suppose it would have to be the lifelong friendships I've made. 

Leon Dempsey

Postgraduate Social Science Scholar

My name is Leon Dempsey and I am in receipt of the three year postgraduate scholarship, during the course of my undergraduate degree in UCD I also received the undergraduate scholarship based on my second year results in Sociology.  I am currently undertaking a Ph.D. in the School of Sociology and the focus of my research is on Islam in Ireland.  The postgraduate scholarship has been of great assistance to me; primarily it is providing me with financial assistance while I undertake my studies, however, along with the financial aspect I believe that the scholarships which have been awarded to me clearly demonstrates to potential employers the strength of my achievements during my undergraduate career.  I think the scholarships awarded by UCD should serve as an incentive to all students to achieve as high as possible during their studies as the rewards are beneficial both in the short term financially, and in the longer term for future career prospects.

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