Alumni Spotlight

Niamh Stockil - Software Engineer, Microsoft

14 May 2020
Niamh Stockil, BSc Computer Science 2016.

Niamh Stockil is a Software Engineer at Microsoft. The Computer Science graduate was one of a team of science and technology experts who took part in RTE’s ‘The Big Life Fix’.

Throughout the series, Niamh and the team devised ingenious solutions that have transformed people’s lives. One of the projects she was involved in was the creation of a tailor-made prosthetic arm which has allowed a teenager born without arms to dress herself for the first time. Niamh looks back on her time at UCC and discusses the role technology will play in our lives after COVID-19.

  • You and the Big Life Fix team engineered some amazing solutions that really improved people's lives. What was the most rewarding aspect of taking part in the show? 

Getting to see the reactions of Erin and Stephen (clients), their families and friends was the most rewarding part for me. After spending months working on these projects you do grow attached to what you build and sharing this excitement for the projects is magical. 

  • Do you think technology will play a more significant role in our lives after COVID-19?  

There's been so much work gone into developing tech in areas like education and communication recently, that it seems strange it would be dropped after this. I think people will have a new attitude towards technology and are now more knowledgeable than ever about the tools that allow us to communicate and carry out our day-to-day lives. I think there will be growth in the area, but with a community first approach - innovation that stems from wanting technology to work for people rather than seeing what it can do. 

  • How did your time at UCC help you get to where you are now? 

The most obvious way it helped me was that I got to do a work placement. That's how I first started working at Microsoft. I did placement there and at the end of it, I had a full-time job offer for when I graduated.  

  • What person or people from that time had the most positive influence on you? 

What's lovely is that I have too many people I can name for this. Definitely, the Computer Science Department. Not just the lecturers, but also the administration, support and the researchers all based in the department. I got a lot of support and opportunity from them 

  • Finally, what are your best memories from your college days?  

It might sound strange, but I enjoyed the time coming up to exams. It really was a time where the class would bond while studying. A group of us would be camped out in the computer labs working away and it always made the study a bit of fun.  

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