Dublin People

DCU Alumni Awards: exceptional graduates honoured at Helix ceremony

Cleona Ní Chrualaoi, producer of An Cailín Ciúin, pictured with her husband, director Colm Bairéad, at the DCU Alumni Awards, a special ceremony Pic Kyran O'Brien/DCU

The winners of DCU’s annual Alumni Awards were honoured last Friday at a celebration in The Helix at DCU’s Glasnevin campus, joined by friends and family.

The DCU Alumni Awards are presented annually to graduates who have made substantial achievements in their chosen fields, or who have contributed in a significant way to the social, artistic or economic development of Ireland.

Winners included Cleona Ní Chrualaoi, producer of An Cailín Ciúin, who graduated from the BA in Journalism in DCU in 2001.

An Cailín Ciúin, has become the highest grossing Irish-language film of all time and last week was nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language and Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards.

Donegal star Michael Murphy was also honoured at the awards. Michael graduated from PE with Biology in DCU in 2013.

He is Head of Sport at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Donegal and late last year retired as an intercounty footballer after 17 years’ representing Donegal.

Other recipients included: –

Catherine Keogh, Chief Corporate Affairs & Brand Officer at Kerry Food Group. Prior to joining Kerry, she had a successful career at Alltech, where she was a key member of the leadership team. She holds a BA in International Marketing and Languages from the Business School.

Rory Assandey, who began his professional career in SAP Ireland following his participation in DCU’s third year internship programme. He later relocated to the US and delivered more than 40 services as an SME for customers within many sectors of industry. He has long been committed to supporting social enterprise & community projects. He founded La Ruche Health, which uses AI and instant messaging to connect communities to healthcare services in Cote d’Ivoire. Rory graduated from Faculty of Engineering and Computing with a BSc in Enterprise Computing.

Suzanne Lindsay, a Senior Intelligence Analyst with An Garda Síochána. Previously, Suzanne worked in media research with the BBC, Fremantle Media & RTÉ. She joined the gardai as a civilian member in 2007, and her work focuses on the use of data and reporting both to track and prevent crime. Suzanne was named ‘Criminal Analyst of the Year 2022’ by for her analytical work on a Garda operation. Suzanne graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, the first female to hold that office since 1995. She is Senior Manager of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland, and has worked across the arts, media, education, youth work & professional bodies. Paula serves as Events Secretary of the Ireland US Alumni Association, & was among first group to participate in our Emerging Leaders Programme in 2020-21. Paula graduated with a BA in Irish Language, Literature and History from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Derek Cleary, the director of Localise National Youth Volunteers. Derek and his team created Ireland’s first second level national youth volunteer programme in 2007 – so far more than 50,000 youth volunteers have worked with over 5,000 community service projects. Derek and his team will soon launch the National Youth Volunteering Portfolios, an online system recognising the skills gained by youths volunteering, creating a pathway into Further Education and Higher Education. Derek graduated with a BSc in Education & Training from from the DCU Institute of Education.

Dearbháil Lawless, Chief Executive of AONTAS and works to raise awareness of diverse models of learning and clear pathways for marginalised and educationally disadvantaged communities underrepresented in accessing Further Education and Higher Education pathways. She sits on the Steering Group for the new National Access Plan and the Oversight Group for Funding the Future of Higher Education. She is also currently undertaking a PhD. Dearbháil graduated from the DCU Institute of Education with a with a BSc in Education and Training.

Brian Walsh, a software engineering thought leader who founded Réitigh in 2016 with two fellow DCU graduates, Mark Sexton and Darragh Pelly. The company works with a number of clients to solve data challenges. Brian built a powerful low-code software platform, IntegraLynx, to solve complex data processing and administration challenges. Réitigh is now Ireland’s third fastest growing tech company. He has a BSc in Financial and Actuarial Maths and an MSc in Software Engineering, both from DCU

The DCU community includes approximately 100,000 graduates based in all corners of the globe.

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