Belfast Telegraph

Queen's University Graduations: July 8

Honours student who overcame her dyslexia

By Kathryn Torney

A QUB student with dyslexia will graduate with first class honours today.

Rebecca Donnelly from east Belfast struggles with writing, organisation skills and comprehending speech due to dyslexia.

She graduates today with a MEng in Computer Science, proving that the condition is no match for her determination.

Rebecca said: “I overcame the day-to-day problems by being aware of my difficulties and putting in 10 times the effort where it was needed. I had a rigorous time plan, took endless notes and started assignments early to give myself time to redraft and get them up to standard. Disability Services at Queen’s were really helpful and made sure I had everything I needed, encouraging me to work harder and do better.”

Rebecca did her placement with Microsoft and completed summer work experience as part of a research team in Budapest. She was also selected to represent Queen’s at the Undergraduate Computing Conference in Cambridge and the British Computer Society Women Undergraduate Lovelace Colloquium in Leeds.

Rebecca plans to return to Queen’s in October to commence a PhD in Computer Science.

Honorary degrees are due to be awarded today to Belfast-born actress Geraldine Hughes, renowned poetry critic Professor Edna Longley, renowned chemist Professor Amos B Smith and world-famous geoscientist Professor Minze Stuiver, who is due to officially launch a £6.7 million research centre focusing on environmental change at Queen’s University tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a man who left his full-time job of 10 years to study at Queen’s will also graduate today, proving that it’s never too late to embark on higher education.

Neill Murray (34) from Newtownabbey came to Queen’s after completing a HNC in Business Information Technology and getting a taste for academia.

He will graduate with a BSc in Business Information Technology today.

Neill said: “My biggest fear when coming to Queen’s was sitting exams, something I had not done from secondary school. I took all the help and advice that was available to me and now that I have completed my degree I feel excited that I have accomplished what I set out to do seven years ago.

“My degree at Queen’s is the best thing I have achieved to date.”

Neill, a keen entrepreneur, is currently exploring options to expand his computer maintenance business, Murray Computer Maintenance, that he set up in 2005 and nurtured while at Queen’s.

Belfast Telegraph

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