Graduate Success in Undergraduate Awards



An IT Sligo graduate from Foxford in Co Mayo has been highly commended in the 2012 Undergraduate Awards. Marie McDonnell was recognised in the Social Studies category for her essay entitled “An examination of effective services that collaboratively deliver a successful transition for young care leavers to adulthood.”

The 2012 Undergraduate Awards received coursework entries from 2890 students across Ireland, the USA, UK and Canada and the highly commended entrants are considered to be the top 10% of all submissions.  Joining Marie as highly commended entrants in the Social Studies category were students from as far afield as University of Chicago, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, McGill University, University of California, Los Angeles and Durham University.

Due to graduate from the BA Hons Applied Social Studies in November, Marie said she’s delighted to have her work recognised on such an international platform; “After all the assignments and the exams, it’s great to see it all pay off.”

The support services in Sligo for young people making the transition from being in care to independent living were the focus of the research that underpinned her commended dissertation. She said the focus on research and collaboration with external agencies was what attracted her to the course at IT Sligo; “I worked with Focus Ireland, the Social Services Access Office and the Leaving and Aftercare Service in the HSE and with residential care providers in the preparation of the research,” she said. “This type of engagement with external agencies is great for developing skills and networks.”

Congratulating Marie, President of IT Sligo Professor Terri Scott said; “To have her work and research recognised on an international stage such as this is a wonderful achievement and I would like to congratulate Marie and wish her well for her future endeavours. We place a huge emphasis on applied learning and collaboration with external bodies in all the disciplines we offer; there’s a mutual benefit for both the students and the participating organisations,” she said.
As a highly commended entrant, Marie will be invited to take part in the UA Summit – “a Davos for students” – which will bring together top students from around the world in Dublin from November 7th – 10th.  “This conference will serve as a three-day pop-up incubation centre for some of the world’s most exceptional young minds” said Louise Hodgson, UA Programme Director. “From hands-on workshops and talks with inspiring young achievers, entrepreneurs and academics to networking events with top graduate recruiters, the UA Summit is going to be one of the most exciting student-focused events in Europe”.

Patron of the Undergraduate Awards, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins will award the 39 UA winners at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony at Royal Hospital Kilmainham on November 9th for excellence and innovation within coursework at undergraduate level.

The UA Summit will also include the Forum on Higher Education that will bring together edupreneurs and pioneers in the field of education to discuss disruptive education.  Speakers include CEO of the Wolfram Group and world famous TEDster, Conrad Wolfram.  For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards, please see

Image Caption:  Marie McDonnell (Foxford, Co Mayo), graduate of Social Studies at IT Sligo who received a ‘Highly Commended Award’ at the Undergraduate Awards. Marie (centre) is pictured with her lecturers Jessica Mannion and Dr John Pender. Dr Pender is a member of the Undergraduate Awards Steering Committee.