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Prize winning student overcame a serious illness to graduate

A prize winning student overcame a serious illness to graduate at the top of her class at Bangor University this week.

Niamh Niamh Ní EireamhóinNiamh Ní Eireamhóin, 25, from Baile Átha Cliath, is graduating this week with a BSc in Psychology. She has also been awarded the Dr John Robert Jones prize, worth £1,000.

Niamh, a former student at Coláiste na Tríonóide, said: “Having left Coláiste na Tríonóide due to a serious health condition that saw me miss out on three years of normal living, it is lovely to finally graduate with an undergraduate degree. It is a relief that, despite being delayed, I have been able to take this first step in an academic career.

“As a result of my earlier illness, I have osteoporosis and am highly susceptible to other illnesses. I broke several bones in silly ways and contracted many illnesses including pneumonia, but I rarely missed classes - I believe I missed three during my degree.

“I like to think that graduating top of my class and winning the John Morris Jones award – which wouldn’t have happened without support from my family – is my gift to my parents who always get a thrill out of any sort of academic achievement.

About her time at Bangor, Niamh added: “Last summer I worked for the Developmental Psychology Department and I also worked for the Food Dudes project, where I was compiling evidence for Professor Lowe to use when he advises the EU on increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables in children.

“The highlight of my time at Bangor for me was my third year project, specifically its setting. I conducted a study investigating the role of positive reinforcement in infant language comprehension. The setting was the Bangor University nursery, which was so lovely that following the conclusion of my project, the nursery assistants indulged me by putting up with my continued presence throughout the year.

About the future, she added: “I wish to continue studying, in the hope of developing a career in academia. My interest lies in developmental psychology, with a focus on infants and language. If I don’t go into academia, I will continue to work with children. I will also be getting married next year.”

Publication date: 12 July 2013