Fiona Murray

BSc Sport and Exercise Science (2002), University of Limerick
MSc Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise (2004), University of Strathclyde

Current Position
Sports Training and Education Manager, Special Olympics Ireland

Career Path
I worked as a project coordinator for the Games Organising committee during the 2003 Special Olympics World Games which took place in Dublin.  Following this, I went back to do my MSc which was run jointly by Glasgow University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde.  Following this, an opportunity arose to work for Special Olympics Ireland in my current role.  This role mainly involves the planning, development and implementation of the Coach Education programme within Special Olympics Ireland as the National Governing Body of Sport for people with an intellectual disability.  As one of a very small number of multi-sport National Governing Bodies in Ireland, there is huge variety in my role.  It also involves working closely with key disability sports agencies, the Irish Sports Council and Coaching Ireland.  Additional opportunities have involved working as part of the Team Ireland management team for Special Olympics European and World Summer Games.

Why did you choose to Study Sport and Exercise Science
I had always wanted a career in sport but I had a great interest in science and when the course began in UL, I decided at that stage that it was the course I wanted to study.  I never really considered anything else!

Coop Exerperience
I did my coop with the then National Coaching and Training Centre in Limerick.  I worked predominantly with the Player Athlete services division – assisted with report writing, literature reviews, athlete testing and other day to day work within the centre.  It was a great learning opportunity and I made some great professional contacts and friends with whom I still work today

What advice would you give to school goers considering choosing sport and exercise sciences?  It is a fantastic course and extremely interesting and gives you a great foundation.  It is important to go into the course, with the expectation that you will most likely need to do some further study regardless of what area you choose to move into.  You will only get out of it what you put into it. Keep an open mind going into the course, the area you find most interesting may not be what you expected.  Work hard from the start … it makes life much easier at the end!  Make the most of your coop experience when it comes around – it is an incredible opportunity to get an understanding of how the industry works and to make contacts in the field. 

What advice would you give to future graduates of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
Keep your knowledge base current and maintain contacts in the industry.  !
Network, network, network!
Expect the unexpected!  Sport is a small industry in Ireland and you may have to take the indirect route to where you want to go. 
Take the opportunity to gain experience where you can.  Take every opportunity you can to learn more, pick up new skills and see things from a new angle.
In your early days as a graduate, opt for positions where you will learn the most and gain the most experience – this will pay off down the line.