DCU Graduate Profiles
Congratulations to all our new graduates!
We hope you enjoyed your graduation a much as we did! It was wonderful seeing you all finally meet up with former classmates and celebrate your achievements together.
We wish you the best in your future careers and hope to see you stop by soon.
Héctor Muiños has always known he wanted to be a writer but it was a job offer with Ernest and Young, and not education, that brought him to Ireland and subsequently to DCU’s Master’s in Creative Writing.
“When I came here I was surprised and overjoyed with the amount of great writers Ireland has. I thought I could not have landed in a better place,” he said.
Héctor did his undergrad in Business in Spain and during his Erasmus year in Scotland he improved his English.
He came to Ireland in 2016 to work for EY and said, “I really did a lot of work on my English and I figured out that language is just a vehicle for someone to be a writer, but it does not necessarily define you as a writer.”
“I had always known I wanted to be a writer. Writing in a language that is not your own is something quite challenging. I had to decide whether to go back to Spain and study or to remain in Ireland to become a writer.”
He searched online and discovered that DCU had launched its Master’s in Creative Writing. “It had great lecturers and I decided to apply.”
He says wanting to become a writer “is something that is beyond language and the fact that I was living here and finding out that DCU had this programme, it was an opportunity, I thought I had to give it a go.” He was accepted onto it as a one year fulltime student.
“The DCU modules were very focused. There was a module on fiction, one on drama, one was on poetry, another was on screenwriting. I liked that because I felt other courses had modules that were more conceptual and I liked the practical aspect of the structure of the DCU Master’s.”
Héctor had to produce a piece of writing for each module, a final assignment and a dissertation. The latter was 15-20,00 words in length.
His dissertation, about Irish scientist John Tyndall, has become the inspiration for his first novel, a work of historical fiction, that he continues to work on.
Having decided to remain in Ireland and to study for his Master’s in Creative Writing, Héctor said Ireland has so many poets “like Yeats and Heaney, and prose writers like James Joyce (and) more modern writers like John Banville or Colm Tóibín; I was so happy to be here and to be in the company of such great names. It was a true inspiration.”
Reflecting on his time on the Master’s which concluded in August 2019, he said, “it was a great experience,” and as writing is a solitary activity, he said “being around people who had the same problems, same issues and the same concerns was really helpful because you could talk about it with someone who understood you.”
For someone who is considering doing the MA in Creative Writing in DCU he said, “it is very important for a writer to build a strong network of other writers and people who can give you feedback and appreciate your work. That is something you can get in DCU, I got it and I am thankful for that.”
“Of course there is also great teaching from first class lecturers and practitioners. They are novelists, playwrights, poets and I really enjoyed the visiting lecturers to DCU.”
He also said being exposed to a wide variety of types and styles of writing and writers he would not have otherwise looked for, was important.
“I think for a writer, everything that a writer reads nurtures his or her writing. Having read those works, it has become something important in my own writing and informed the way I write now.”
Héctor has since secured a scholarship for his PhD in the DCU School of English. His area of study is fiction and he is analysing the works of the two times Booker Prize winner and historical novelist Hilary Mantel.
“I got my job because of the Master’s I have from DCU.”
A school visit to a DCU Open Day led Louise Foley to decide to do a BA in International Relations there and her positive experience during that three year course, contributed to her opting to also do her Master’s in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society.
Louise was among one of the first intake of postgrads to the Master’s and its introduction, she says, “filled a gap in the field because it combined the scientific background of climate change, which was fully explained to us and it also brought in communications and policy and law.”
“It was a multi-disciplined course and it illustrated how climate change relates to so many areas and how you need to bring everyone along in addressing it. You need a response from every section of society, it can’t just be scientists pulling us along,” she added.
Louise feels studying International Relations for her Bachelors was a good decision as she had, “always enjoyed politics and history and current events. Coming out of secondary school I did not really know what I wanted to do and the course was so interesting and covered so many different things that had peaked my interest.”
She says she had gone to a DCU Open Day “with intention of going to see the talk on Economics, Politics and Law. The person giving that talk was also giving the talk on International Relations and they were both in the School of Law and Government.”
That was where she heard about it and decided to apply.
Deciding on where to do her Master’s after taking a year out, DCU was an easy choice because, just as they were during the undergrad, “the lecturers were all accessible and helpful. They were all very engaged in the issue of climate action and trying to help. If you had genuine questions they were always glad to help and glad to discuss it.”
“It was a small group of us doing the Master’s and it felt more of a classroom than a lecture hall at times. It was fantastic that it was a small group; you could have discussions, ask questions, it was all very accessible.”
For her thesis Louise did a comparative study on three different countries that had declared climate emergencies and whether, having declared a climate change emergency, they had undertaken significant work or actions.” She compared Ireland, Canada and the UK. The title was ‘Climate Emergency Declarations: A New Form of Greenwashing?’
The composition of the DCU Master’s in Climate Change “was not specific to one sector. In that way it sets you up for a lot of different options when it comes to getting a job after you leave.”
“I would definitely recommend DCU to anyone interested in studying for their Master’s.”
Louise also says the accessibility of DCU for people with autism and, “the fact they have gone out of their way to make it an accessible university for people on the spectrum is fantastic. It goes to show how inclusive the university is and how much they care that they are inclusive.”
Louise is a Climate Action Graduate with Meath County Council and said, “I got my job because of the Master’s I have from DCU.
“Dublin is a corporate hotspot,” and is motivation for students to come and study here, according to Antonia Egli who came to Ireland for her Master’s in Digital Marketing in DCU.
She is Swiss-Austrian and did her Bachelor’s in Corporate Communications in Vienna.
Having then worked for two years, she decided it was time to focus on digital marketing and to study it through English.
Selecting DCU for the next stage of her academic career was the result of a number of factors including, “being in Ireland, being in English and the fact that Dublin is a corporate hotspot so there is a motivation for students who do not want to pursue an academic career and who see themselves working in Dublin after they graduate.”
“You are working and really trying out your marketing skills on an actual client, particularly in a field like this where you largely have to learn by doing something in addition to for example sifting through books; you really do need to have the applied knowledge and that is something very much offered in this course.”
The projects were also spread out across the different modules such as web development, paid marketing or search engine optimisation and so, “you would have the opportunity to test out the different areas of digital marketing and find out what you were most interested in and where your skills lay.”
“You are working and really trying out your marketing skills on an actual client, particularly in a field like this where you have to really learn by doing something instead of say sifting through books; you really do need to have the applied knowledge and that is something very much offered in the Digital Marketing Master’s course.”
In the Google Ad Grants project, teams of students were given a budget for four months and worked with either a charity or a non-profit. Getting ad copy approved and earning the trust of a client you will be sending texts for, were among the skills covered.
For the final assignment she chose a practicum over a dissertation and did a 6 month collaboration with an Irish SME, Learn International, where she worked on managing their digital performance.
She began her studies in 2019 and the nature of them meant the transition to be wholly online in 2020, due to the pandemic, was relatively smooth.
She was challenged on her solo project where you create digital marketing content for social media on a subject you are interested in.
Antonia chose to do hers about museums and when public health guidelines meant she could not visit them in person, she had to make contact with people working in them and interview them and “it was an exercise in flexibility and creativity.”
After her Master’s was complete Antonia took up a position as a research assistant in the Irish Institute for Digital Business that located in the Business School in DCU. While there she was encouraged by some of her lecturers to apply for a PhD which she is currently doing on a part-time basis while also working as a research fellow at Safefood.
Completing DCU’s Master’s in Digital Marketing “gives you very solid knowledge and capability in all the separate areas of digital marketing” to allow you to find where you want to pursue your career.
One of the areas Antonia discovered she was interested in is business data analytics and on the course “you get a feel for digital marketing that is data driven, you learn how to work with the data you are generating.”
Another big take for her from her time on the Master’s was developing confidence in the world of digital marketing.
“It was ingrained into us that you won’t learn anything unless you try it out. Particularly in a digital marketing context where things are developing so quickly, there are so many opportunities to try things out. You really have to take the responsibility and take the initiative to go and do it.”
“I am still in the first year of my PhD and continue to feel the support of the research community and the business school. I feel very welcome as a foreign student. It is a big plus for someone who is looking in from outside to know that there is a community and people here who will truly support you.’
For her PhD, Antonia’s research is focusing on the prevalence and types of stigma within the vaccine discourse on Twitter.
Julie Duke is proud of her Traveller heritage. She was nervous about going to third level, particularly as she had left education when she was 14 years old.
She expected that being a Traveller, “I will stick out like a sore thumb. The biggest eye opener for me was the acceptance that I got. I was a DCU student. I was there to learn and there was no difference between me or any other student doing the course.”
Julie completed her Certificate in Peer Support working in Mental Health and says of her classmates, “they were all very accepting and friendly people and very understanding. That got rid of some of my anxiety and we all supported each other on the course.”
“I made some really good friends through the course and we are still in contact.”
Her journey before going to DCU included leaving secondary school at 14 and marrying when she was 16. She had her daughter when she was 17.
Her marriage broke down and Julie and her daughter went to live with her parents.
Julie experienced mental health difficulties including depression, chronic anxiety and social anxiety.
She availed of supports and completed a number of courses before deciding to return to education.
“I always wanted to do something but my confidence and lack of knowledge was a barrier. When I found out about the DCU course and because I had mental health problems, I found it really interesting.”
Among the general entry requirements for the year-long course is that the students have a previous history of mental health problems and that they are in recovery or recovered.
The application process involved Julie sharing her mental health history. She also researched the state of mental health in the Traveller community and “found out how high the suicide rates were.”
“I have a close friend who supported me throughout my recovery and in making the application to DCU. I spoke to her about how I could work with my own community around mental health and be a support to them if I did this course.”
Her other motivation to do the course was “my daughter. I wanted her to see that she does not have to get married at a young age and if she did choose to get married, she could also have an education.”
Part of Julie’s journey to DCU involved having to tell her family that she wanted to return to education.
She says they were worried for her and whether she would be safe or would be judged. She also risked being judged by her community.
“It took courage to stand my ground in what I wanted to do. I was going to change and offer my daughter a better life if I could get work out of it and be able to support her.”
The night before she started she said, “I never slept due to anxiety. I was up bright and early the next morning. I had never been on a third level campus before.”
She said going to DCU “impacted my life in a very positive way. It gave me an unbelievable amount of confidence and independence which is a great thing to have as a woman in the Travelling community.”
“I have my own independence, I am my own person and I learnt how to use my own voice. It has made me want to learn more in education and realise how important education is.“
Julie is the first person in her extended family to go to college and said, “the course was the making of me and helped me in more ways than one.”
Julie, who is from Cavan town works for the HSE as a peer worker for the Travelling community “supporting members of my own community who have mental health challenges.”