Belfast Telegraph

A family affair as siblings Ryan and Shona receive well-deserved scrolls from Queen's

By Staff Reporter

It will be double joy for Ryan Morrison and his sister Shona as they graduate from Queen's University today.

The Enniskillen siblings are getting ready to celebrate after three years of studying. Ryan, who has Asperger's syndrome, has landed his dream job as a software engineer for CME Group in Belfast and will start just two weeks after graduating with his degree in Computing and Information Technology.

Shona, graduating with a degree in Politics and Philosophy, has plans to go into journalism, focusing on politics.

During his time at Queen's Ryan managed to turn his childhood dream of flying a plane into a reality when he joined the Gliding Club, as well as competing with the Ultimate Frisbee team.

"Queen's University offers some of the best support for disabled students that I've heard of," he said.

"Even before I started I was asked to come up and speak to a Disability Officer to ascertain what support I would require. They've always been there if I need anything, but they also have that ability to take a step back and really allow you to be independent as long as you're comfortable. I feel the support has allowed me to really maximise my experience here, as it has always been of a great help, but never intrusive."

He added: "In a roundabout way of thinking, with Asperger's, every experience is a good one, because you learn something, and since I've arrived here learning has been an almost daily occurrence, both in university and outside of it. Being part of a student body with such a rich, diverse and vibrant community has allowed me to peer into the window of pastimes, cultures and knowledge that makes the university experience just that bit more fruitful.

"It has allowed me to try my hand at new things, while indulging my enthusiasm for others."

Also among the graduates today is Bulgarian student Margarita Petkova, who will receive a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics.

Margarita's student journey started in London when she enrolled in an Events Management course at the University of Greenwich.

During her time in London she volunteered as the events coordinator for a non-profit organisation that engages young people in politics called MyLifeMySay. It was while working for MyLifeMySay that Margarita became more interested in politics, and this then instigated her move to Northern Ireland to study for a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Queen's.

Speaking about her university experience, Margarita said: "Queen's not only exceeded my expectations as a high-quality university but it also provided me with opportunities to travel worldwide. From day one I got involved with a number of clubs and societies, went to every single careers fair and applied to any opportunity that caught my eye, and it paid off.

"I made friends with some incredible people from Northern Ireland and across the globe, travelled across Europe and Asia, learnt new languages and developed new skills. I wouldn't trade my experience at Queen's for anything."

After graduation Margarita will be travelling to China as part of the Study-China Programme and on her return she hopes to pursue her goal of establishing a company specialising in experiential marketing and bespoke events organising in Northern Ireland.

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