Alumni Spotlight

Tracey Kennedy - Chair, Cork County GAA Board

22 Jan
Tracey Kennedy

Tracey Kennedy was recently appointed as the first female County Board Chair in Cork GAA history. The proud Killeagh woman’s involvement with the GAA started with her local club and led to her taking on the roles of PRO and Vice-Chair of Cork GAA. A teacher by trade, she currently works as Deputy Principal in Carrigaline Community School. Tracey talks to us about her road from UCC to the County Board and how her love of English led to a career in teaching.

Course/subjects studied in University College Cork
BA (English and French) 1995, HDBFIS 1997, HDE 1999, MA (English - Irish Writing: Theories and Traditions) 2005, M.Ed 2008

Best memory of UCC
There are so many! Winning a prize for Spanish in First Arts and enjoying the presentation ceremony in the beautiful surroundings of the Aula Maxima was one highlight.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

My time at UCC has really defined my career choices. I studied Arts as I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do in life; I just knew I wanted to continue my studies in English and French. My wonderful lecturers in both subjects cemented my interest and inspired me to share that love with others through teaching. My Masters in English was a wonderful experience during which I was introduced to texts and viewpoints I might never have encountered otherwise; and again I enjoyed sharing that with my own students. My Masters in Education was vital in my journey from the classroom to school administration, and equipped me well for that journey. In terms of my role as Chairperson of Cork County Board, my time at UCC helped me to develop critical and independent thinking, and equipped me well intellectually and socially for the path my life has taken.

What is your advice to current UCC students?
Make the most of the learning opportunities presented to you during your time at UCC. Ask questions; of yourself, but also of your lecturers - don't be afraid to seek clarification if you don't understand something. Your lecturers are among the best in the business and will always steer you in the right direction.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
Again, so many. I was particularly influenced by Dr. Patricia Coughlan in the Department of English, who probably stirred my first feminist awakenings and showed us that women deserve an equal place in both the literary canon and in society. Other lecturers like Dr. Angela Ryan and Dr. Judy Kravis in the French Department were similarly influential. Another UCC legend, Dr. Con Murphy, has been a huge influence on my involvement in sports administration and is also a great friend.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
No. I lived at home during my time at UCC, and so getting involved in Clubs and Societies was not easy. I was also very shy, and while I'm not one for regrets, I would certainly encourage current students to get involved - there's such a wide choice that everyone can find something that appeals to them, and you will feel the benefits for the rest of your career. I would encourage female students to get or stay involved in a sports Club or Society, as there is no doubt but that involvement in sport has a huge positive impact on the careers of women as well as on everyone's health and wellbeing.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition
Oh it has to be keeping off the grass in the Quad or you will fail your exams - my sister got married in the Honan Chapel three years ago, and even then I wouldn't set foot on a blade of grass there!

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