Development & Alumni Relations Office 


31 October 2018

A student ranked in the top 0.3% in the Leaving Certificate in Ireland – Caitlin McColgan who was educated at Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana in County Donegal – has been awarded a prestigious Naughton Scholarship (€5,000 per annum for each year of her degree) to study at Queen’s.

Caitlin, who recently commenced her BEng degree programme in Aerospace Engineering at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s, was presented with the Naughton Scholarship at a ceremony held in Dublin at the end of September. She is just the fourth Naughton Scholar to come to Queen's, and the first since 2012. 

Holding the enviable distinction of achieving the maximum score of 625 points in her Leaving Certificate – one of only 153 students out of 54,440 who sat state exams to do so – Caitlin is ranked in the top 0.3% in the national results table. Her maximum 625 included H1 grades in Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French and Dutch.

“Caitlin was one of the top Leaving Certificate students in Ireland this year, so we are delighted that she chose Queen’s to study for a BEng degree in Aerospace Engineering,” said Professor Brian Falzon, Head of the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

“The award of the highly prestigious Naughton Scholarship is a fitting testimony to Caitlin’s personal achievement and to her school, Scoil Mhuire, in County Donegal.

“Queen’s School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering offers a range of world-class courses in technology and design. Our graduates can be found in leading global, private and public sector companies, research institutes and universities, so Caitlin can look forward to a career working on, or developing, some of the most technologically advanced engineering products of tomorrow – from new passenger aircraft to spacecraft and unmanned aerial vehicles – in just a few years.”

Scholarships worth €4m have been presented to students embarking on STEM courses since they were established in 2008. The programme is funded by the Naughton Foundation which was started in 1994 by the founder of the electrical goods firm GlenDimplex Martin Naughton, and his wife Carmel, both of whom are also long-term and generous supporters of Queen's University.

Speaking about the special STEM award Caitlin said: “I am totally delighted to be one of just 36 students to receive a Naughton Scholarship in Ireland this year.

“I would like to thank Martin and Carmel Naughton – and the Naughton Foundation – for supporting me so generously. This scholarship has enabled me to follow my passion to study Aerospace Engineering here in Queen's,” said Caitlin.

The scholarship programme aims to encourage and recognise exceptional students who intend to study in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sector and who will become future leaders in their field. Naughton Scholars regularly come together for events throughout the year in pursuance of the Foundation’s goal to build a community of bright students who will be future worldwide leaders in research or industry.

The thirty-six exceptional students were awarded Naughton Scholarships - to study at undergraduate level at any publicly funded university or third-level institution in Ireland - at an event at Trinity College Dublin’s biomedical sciences institute.

Welcoming guests to the presentation, Trinity Provost and President Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “Today we recognise the ambition and talent of students in science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects. We celebrate the increased focus, across the country, on these disciplines, which are so important to innovation and to creating a thriving Irish economy.

“And we celebrate the Naughton family’s great contribution to education and research, and to making a difference to the lives of individuals, and to make a difference to growth and competitiveness in our country.

“I congratulate our new 2018 Naughton scholars. You have been singled out to receive these scholarships as reward for your excellence and ambition. You are now getting the best possible start to university life. You will of course have a dream for your career and your life. Having been given such a start, it’s now your responsibility to hold on to that dream and pursue it tenaciously.”

For Caitlin’s school in County Donegal, which enjoyed its best ever year of results in national exams, it was the first time a pupil had achieved the magic 625 score. As a direct result of Caitlin’s Naughton Scholarship Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana will also receive a €1,000 prize which will go towards its Science Labs.

At a recent meeting of parents of incoming 1st year students, Principal Ms Rosaleen Grant reiterated her philosophy that ‘success is measured by achieving the desired place in the course or employment of your choice’.

“The success of the Class of 2018,” said Ms Grant “reflects on the professional excellence of the teaching staff, determination and hard work of all students and the dedicated support of parents and guardians.”

To find out more about funding a scholarship at Queen’s University Belfast, visit the Queen’s Foundation web page or contact Helen Carrick, Head of Major Gifts.

General enquiries about this news story to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen’s University Belfast, tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Caption: (L–R) Ms Rosaleen Grant, principal, Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Carmel Naughton, Caitlin McColgan, Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills and Dr Martin Naughton.

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