What have you been up to since winning the Undergraduate Awards?
Last summer I travelled to the Yukon Territory in the Canadian sub-arctic to work as a research intern on an excavation on one of the earliest human settlements in Canada. This site named Little John is over 12,000 years old. When I returned home I briefly took a post in Dublin with the Discovery Programme. Here I helped to get a database underway to store Irish and soon European environmental archaeology data. After finishing there I took part in a radio science show “Science Spinning” on Dublin City FM where I used my background in archaeology to discuss recent discoveries across the globe uncovered thanks to climate change. Since September I have been a MSc student in University College London studying environmental archaeology. I am examining how past peoples have and continue to adapt to the challenge of changing environments.
What did winning the Undergraduate Awards mean to you?
I am passionate about the broad value of archaeology for Ireland’s future, and its potential for international image abroad. Winning in archaeological studies allowed me to represent my subject at a national level alongside many other gifted students in all subjects. This was a real honour. This gave me the impetus and opportunity to share my experiences with others. I now visit my classes in former secondary school to give advice to pupils on the issues and the challenges of going on to third level.
What tips do you have for students entering the Undergraduate Awards?
It is important to aim high but never to overestimate the strength of your work. Maintaining a healthy level of self-criticism will push your work that bit further. I found I had to completely commit by generously giving time and attention that I gave. Bringing any project work to the highest level will require going well beyond what is written as standard guide lines. Most of all I realised it was essential to eternally banish the words “that will do” from my vocabulary.
Undergraduate Award Winner in 2010
University: University College Cork
Category: Archaeological Studies