Natasha Kelly-MSc Health Promotion Practice part-time (Online)

Name: Natasha Kelly

School: Colasiste na Carraige

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choose your course 

After working 5 years in the health and fitness industry I felt that MA was the correct direction for my career. I found a gap in research on both kids’ health and women’s health and I felt that through physical education and education we could reduce this. I felt that the enthusiasm and support from the college were exactly what I needed to pursue this career direction, and so far, it has been a great journey! 

Why did you choose ATU Sligo? 

I choose ATU Sligo as they offered distance learning, which allowed me to work throughout my course. The college itself is well known for its health science degrees and I have a lot of school friends who completed their undergrad there and they all spoke very highly of the staff and the facilities. I also felt that Sligo wasn’t too far away from Donegal, therefore whenever I had to take a trip over it was never an inconvenience. 

What advice would you give someone thinking about choosing ATU Sligo? 

I would advise students to attend your open days (if guidelines allow) I think that you can get a good feeling from a place and sometimes that can be the decisive factor. When you’re there explore the campus, and talk to staff and other students. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t ask, you don’t get it! 

Do you like Sligo as a student town? e.g. things to do, food, nightlife, clubs and societies, accommodation etc. 

Honestly, I don’t be out and about in Sligo and anytime I do stay I have an aunt who I can bunk with. However, I do find that the town is lovely to run around and very easily accessible. It has some really good coffee shops where you chill out. I also think that the food in the student canteen is very good, fresh with a lot of choices and a very relaxed atmosphere.  

What specifically about your course do you particularly enjoy? 

I enjoy the range I was given for my project. I was never told “no” or you’re trying to do too much. I feel that the college is very open to new ideas and has a clear vision of the student’s direction.  

What would you say to a student thinking about studying your course? 

I would tell anybody looking at taking the course, to go for it. I know that returning to education can be quite difficult. But the staff have been more than accommodating and helpful. Moodle has been a great tool to keep in contact and up to date with other students on the course and all lectures are recorded and uploaded within 24hours so if you do miss a lecture, it’s very easy to catch up. Also, a perk that online learning has is that lecture is always available so if you do have difficulty with a topic the resource is always there to look back on.  Again using all the different apps, and libraries and accessing modules can be quite daunting but again there is a great tutorial online that helped me massively when accessing online libraries and resources.  

 Tell us about your sporting career/success so far? 

Member of Triathlon Ireland high-performance squad, specializing in duathlon with the hope of competing in the elite European duathlon championship in September 2022
4th place finish in ETU Duathlon championships 2018
2020 Duathlon Senior National series, 4th place finish.  

2020 and 2021, 3rd in Donegal Road championships and Team Gold! 

2nd Donegal Senior 3km track Championships 2021 

Overall women’s winner of Errigal CC road series 2020.   

Letterkenny Triathlon club Female Duathlete of the year 2018 and 2019 

Donegal Triathlon sports Star winner 2018,  

Member of FinnValley Athletics Club, Winning individual County novice gold and Ulster novice bronze along with County/Ulster Novice team Gold, along with County senior Gold 2019 

Winner of Danny McDaid 15km road race 2017  

Member of Four Masters CC named the best female in 2019 and current JG memorial women’s winner.
Winner of numerous road races from 3,5 and 10km.  

Selected and completed both Athletics Ireland Forerunner Female leadership course, Donegal Sports Partnership 20X20 women in a sports leadership program  

Currently a member of Triathlon Ireland’s high-performance women in sport leadership and coaching program.  

Brand ambassador for Brian McCormick Sports and leisure promoting health and exercises through videos and blogs via social media.    

Athletics Ireland Fit4Life ambassador 

Captain of Colaiste na Carraige U.16 and Senior all Ireland final making basketball 

Captain of Colaiste na Carraige school’s athletic team 

 What is the best thing about sports and sports facilities at ATU Sligo? 

The facilities at ATU Sligo are state of the art, and up there with the best that I have ever used! The facility itself is very accessible, and the staff are very accommodating and are happy to help and make the sporting experience as relaxed as possible as training at such a high level can get quite stressful. Everything is under one roof, from the sports hall, gym etc with the outdoor track and running trails just outside the main building. This makes it very easy to access changing facilities and also to get a proper cooldown including stretching as you can pop up to the gym or sports hall (which is much warmer than outside during the winter months)  

How has the sports scholarship benefited you? What are its advantages of it? 

The Sports Scholarships, have helped me financially as the demands for my sport are quite costly and given the times that are in it, sponsorship is hard to come by. It has allowed me to update gear, work on nutrition as well as help cover membership fees and help cover entry fees to races. Access to the track, aerobic rooms and gym has helped me stay on track any time I visit the college. They have been more than accommodating anytime I need to set up my turbo trainer or use the track for a session! The facilities are up there with the best I have ever used.  The staff have also been extremely helpful, checking in and they are always just at the end of the phone or email if I ever need anything,