Alumni Spotlight

Vincent McCarthy – Co-Founder, The Festival of Curiosity

16 Jul
Vincent McCarthy

Vincent McCarthy is co-founder of The Festival of Curiosity, Ireland’s annual celebration of art, science, technology and design, which takes place in Dublin from 19th-22nd July. The event, which is quickly becoming one of the most innovative festivals in Europe, boasts a packed programme of arts and science activities suitable for all the family. A suite of workshops on topics such as space exploration, the Arctic and Everest will feature insights from National Geographic explorers and BBC presenters, while evening events include a ‘Supper Club for the Curious’! Vincent takes a break from his hectic schedule to reminisce with us about his time at UCC.

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
I studied Physics and Mathematics (Joint Honours) and graduated in 2004.

Best memory of University College Cork
I have a lot of good memories of UCC. I remember being at the Lower Grounds during the usual sunny weather at exam time, taking a break with friends. I really enjoyed my course and I was very lucky to have a great group of friends, who made my time in UCC very memorable.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
My time in UCC has been the main platform in my life to get to where I am now. My course in Physics and Maths opened up a lot of opportunities, including working in Mozambique with the Department of Foreign Affairs and being the Curator for Dublin City of Science in 2012. I would never have assumed doing a science degree could provide these opportunities and UCC gave me the ability to create a pathway through life that has been varied and unexpected.

What is your advice to current UCC students?
When I think back to my time in UCC, I suppose it would have been good to understand that the skills I learned in UCC were more important than the subject matter. It is important to do well at exams, but focusing on developing your skills can make you more adaptable for whatever future career path you take.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I met a lot of very supportive people in UCC but I would like to mention three people in particular - Dr. Tony Deeney, Prof. Brian Twomey and Prof. Des MacHale. Each of them gave me really good advice and support at different points in my degree. Prof. Mc Hale convinced me to do Maths and it was very good advice. Dr. Deeney was always there, for everyone in our class, to discuss Physics but also anything that was on our mind. Prof. Twomey was my final year project supervisor and he made sure I kept focused and delivered a good project. They were good advisors but more importantly good people and that is rare.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
I never really got involved in Clubs and Societies in any structured way except in first year where I attended everything for a few weeks! I suppose this is one aspect that I would change if I had my time again in UCC and maybe getting involved in Clubs or Societies would be another piece of advice I would give to anyone in UCC at the moment.

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