Hi there! My name is Mary O Donnell. I am a third year Aeronautical Engineering student. When people ask me why I chose this course and to go to UL in the first place, I always find it so hard to stop talking – there are so many good reasons!  

As a competitive swimmer, obviously I wanted to be able to go to a college with brilliant swimming facilities and programs. However, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to study. After a scholarship to the United Space School, I met Dr Norah Patten, a past UL student. It was she who inspired me to do the course she did, so that I too could get closer to my ‘little project’ of hopefully becoming an astronaut.  

My reasoning for picking UL stems from something a little bit deeper than this. Coming from an all-girls school in a small town in Cork, I never really felt like I fitted in. Going to the UL open day and seeing all the different clubs and societies, as well as how far away UL is from where I live, I knew I’d be able to get out and really express myself. I wasn’t wrong. I’ve already made lifelong friends in my course (which is about 50 boys to 6 girls – something I wasn’t used to at all!), as Health and Safety Officer of the UL Swim and Trampoline clubs and as President of the Astronomy society. There is a place for everyone here, no matter what your interest, hobbies or quirks! 


UL has also presented me with some amazing opportunities. Along with my clubs and societies activities, I am also an avid volunteer with the Presidents Volunteering Award. I help organize trips here and abroad. I’ve made connections with people from different colleges all over Ireland and I’m learning how to be a better person with all the teams I’m on. When I came to college, I wanted to make the most out of my five years here (Masters here we come!) so I joined the Student Life and Clubs and Societies Executive Team to really give back to the spirit of UL. I love the work I do and even managed to win the Paddy McHugh Fresher of the Year Award for all my committee work.  

Academically, my course and the opportunities UL offers students are just insane. The diversity of the course allows anyone, of any STEM experience, to integrate well into it. I’ve learned coding, engineering, technical drawing, aerodynamics and worked on some cool projects with inspiring lecturers. I have been offered the chance to work in Boeing in Seattle for my Cooperative Learning – it had to be postponed, but nevertheless I’ll make it there next summer, and I’ve also been offered a Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D scholarship to help support and mentor my life as a woman in STEM. 

UL is a place where anyone with big dreams and aspirations can thrive and I feel as I made one of the best choices in my life by choosing this college.