Quercus Scholar Testimonials
Read what Quercus Scholars say about the Quercus Programme
Active Citizenship Scholar Testimonials
Quercus offers up to three Active Citizenship scholarships every year. These scholars are leaders in civic engagement and participation and below are a selection of their programme testimonials.
Active Citizenship Scholar, Emer Neville
Following my year as President of the ISSU, I suffered immense burnout for a large majority of the year. However, thanks to the support of the Quercus Programme, I was encouraged to carry on my work bit by bit while managing my studies without having either impacted by the other. You’re a product of your environment and living with and getting to know the other scholars throughout the year has greatly benefitted my work and mental health. I’ve always struggled socially but I can say without a doubt that I have met some of my closest friends through Quercus. In addition, having access to accommodation has been incredible. Prior to being accepted to the programme, like many students in our current climate, I had nowhere to live in Cork. At the time my backup plan was couch surfing or commuting from Clonmel (I don’t have a driver's license so would have missed lectures due to bus times etc) Quercus quite literally saved me in this sense. I was fearful of how I would perform academically this year, primarily because I had spent a year out of education and was afraid I’d fall behind my peers. This thankfully wasn’t an issue with the support of an academic mentor. I was always encouraged to speak up and ask for help if I was struggling which was incredibly beneficial.
Active Citizenship Scholar, Anna O'Connor
Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar & English student, Anna O'Connor: The biggest impact of the Quercus Programme this year has no doubt been my mentor Clíona Ó Gallchoir. Clíona has been an unbelievable support this last year and I look forward to working with her again next year... Being able to have access to a mentor like this through the programme is of great importance. As things have begun to move back to in person, I have been very thankful for the opportunity to meet other Quercus Scholars. The gala was especially helpful for this, as was the orientation day at the beginning of the year.
Active Citizenship Scholar, Fidaa Marouf
Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar & Dentistry student, Fidaa Marouf: The Quercus Programme had a massive positive impact on my life because I started college in a new city where I had no contacts or knowledge of the new environment. However, the programme fosters the culture of welcoming, and I felt supported by the Quercus community in all aspects. This provided me with confidence and stability to continue my work for helping others. Being member of Quercus gave me the sense of empowerment and possibility, as I was introduced to networks and genuine people who helped me enable positive changes in the lives of people who feel like they have no power or influence. This programme is not about financial support, but about developing creative ideas, motivating bright minds and improving the relationships within the society. I believe that this successful programme heavily participates in creating the future leaders, influencers, scientists and artists, and I deeply hope that I continue to be one of them.
Active Citizenship Scholar, Reuban Murray
Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar and Government & Political Science student, Reuban Murray: The lecture series and the other Quercus events have been a wonderful opportunity to meet other active citizenship and Quercus colleagues and learn from their work and experiences. These relationships have been extremely positive and played a massive role in expanding my education and understanding across numerous areas as well as meeting new people. From just talking and meeting with people I learned about Irish language activism, medical inequalities, the trails of asylum seekers, trad music, English poetry, and literature. The academic support and mentor really helped me to hone my academic skills and transition properly to the academic writing style. The specific feedback was especially helpful in helping me to progress. The support from the Programme was a massive help in giving me the space to pursue my active citizenship without compromising my education.
Creative & Performing Arts' Scholar Testimonials
Every year up to three Quercus Creative & Performing Arts' scholarships will be offered to students who demonstrate an exception level of excellence in their chosen art form. Read what some of those scholars have to say about the Programme below.
Creative & Performing Arts' Scholar, Donnchadh Hughes
Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholar and Arts Music student, Donnchadh Hughes: The impacts of the Quercus Scholarship Programme have been far and wide. Firstly, I have been introduced to an outstanding group of people who inspire me continuously to achieve greater and better things in my field of expertise. I have shared an apartment with like-minded Quercus Scholars from whom I have learned so much. The Quercus Scholarship Programme has also given me confidence in my abilities and vocation as a musician and vindicated my endeavours to pursue my passion for music full time. Furthermore, it has teamed me up with an academic mentor, John Godfrey, who has been a font of knowledge over the past year and from whom I will continue to learn. Financially, the impact of the Quercus Scholarship cannot be overstated. It has allowed me to dedicate so much of my time to my creative and artistic pursuits which have brought such great success. Everything I have achieved this year musically would simply not have been possible without this financial aid. The cost of attending university would have forced me to take up part-time employment, preventing me from practicing, preparing for recitals, and composing. I have been enabled to pursue a multitude of creative and performing strands concurrently, including projects with Music Generation Louth/Cork, with fellow Quercus Scholars, UCC Singers etc., while also maintaining a high standard of academics in my chosen course. As a music student, I see it as imperative that I use the next four years to not only achieve the necessary academic qualifications for success in the future, but to also amass as much performance and composing experience, extra-curricular qualifications, and knowledge of the music industry to allow me to stand out in a hyper-competitive world. The Quercus Scholarship has had a huge part to play in the realisation of these aims and for this I am extremely grateful.
Creative & Performing Arts Scholar, Ruby Falvey
One of the greatest aspects of the programme for me is the wonderful support I have received from Elaine O’Mahony, Michele Power and also Kelly Boyle, my academic mentor. They are only an email away and are always available to offer help, support and advice. As a first year student away from home for the first time, this has been invaluable to me and has made the transition much easier. The programme has afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians in different academic years and from other musical genres. Without the programme I might never have had the opportunity to meet and perform with such talented musicians. The scholarship programme has provided recognition of my musical ability and the hard work and commitment I have put in over the years. I feel that performing arts are as important as academics and the Quercus programme also acknowledges and celebrates this. Through the programme I have had the privilege of performing for and meeting an array of people whose paths I might not otherwise have crossed. The financial assistance has reduced the financial pressure on me and my family immensely. The bursary has allowed me to continue to invest in my musical development.
Creative & Performing Arts' Scholar, Michael Holden
The Quercus programme has had a hugely significant impact on my time in UCC. It has given me opportunities to showcase my talents and abilities within and outside of the University, and has exposed me to a wide network of similarly-minded people with similar drives to achieve. Quercus has allowed me to devote my time to creative projects such as theatre-making without significant financial or time pressure. It has given me the space, opportunity, and freedom to experiment with and develop my own creative practices, delving into new territory with music and theatre this year especially. My Academic Mentor, Kelly Boyle, provided support and advice for managing my coursework and the extracurricular projects I was undertaking alongside it. Without question, Quercus has helped me to make the most of my university experience.
Creative & Performing Arts Scholar, Sarah Stafford
Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholar and Biological & Chemical Sciences student, Sarah Stafford: Quercus has afforded me the opportunity to continue to train and develop my skills as an actor and a performer whilst giving me the opportunity to continue my formal education. It is thanks to this wonderful programme that I have been able to enrol in a six-month part time screen acting course, a combat for screen and an intimacy for screen masterclass and accent and dialect workshops with one of the world’s most in demand acting coaches. Without the help of the bursary none of this would have been possible. In addition to this I have also been able to renew my annual memberships with online Casting Platforms where auditions are posted with the help of the bursary. I have been able to enhance my skills as a performer whilst also developing new ones because of the Quercus programme so that when the industry in fully back up and running I will be prepared. I spoke with Quercus Manager, Michéle at the start of semester one regarding finding a Creative and Performing Arts Mentor. Michèle put me in contact with Irish Director Lochlainn Mckenna who directed the new Quercus advertisement. Lochlainn put me in contact with his friend Toni and she has been an incredible mentor and I am very fortunate that Quercus gave me the opportunity to be put in contact with her and have her guide me. She has advised me on audition technique and working as an actor in the Irish Industry. This insight from a professional actor is invaluable to any young actors.
Creative & Performing Arts' Scholar, Iona Ritchie
Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholar and Arts Music student, Iona Ritchie: My first year as a Quercus Creative and Performing Arts Scholar has been extremely impactful on my life. After the COVID pandemic, music performance opportunities were very slim. However, the great performance opportunities Quercus has given me to play for important events around campus has really helped my playing post-pandemic and perform with other individuals. The opportunity of Life Coaching with Dearbhall O’Callaghan has helped me establish myself and settle into college life. My academic mentor, Jack Talty, has also inspired me and motivated me with extra supplementary reading and helped with any academic troubles. These two opportunities to work with both of them thanks to Quercus have helped me reach my full potential both as a creative and performing arts scholar, an academic and as a person. It has also been amazing to work and meet like-minded people through the Quercus programme who are just as passionate about music as me, as well as learning from other strands of the Quercus scholarships. I have also found the Quercus events, such as the Quercus Lecture Series really interesting and thought-provoking. The financial help was also appreciated as it helped me to be financially-independent throughout the year, which allowed me to fully concentrate on my academics and music. I have felt very privileged to be an ambassador for Quercus throughout the year at events and performances. The amazing opportunities and experiences Quercus has given me throughout this academic year has been life-changing. Not only have I been able to achieve my highest potential academically, but also musically, which I hope to continue in the coming years.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholar Testimonials
Up to three Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholarships are awarded every year. Here you can read what some of those Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholars have to say about the programme.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholar, Alex Goodison
The scholarship has given me the feeling that I am part of a community. I went to a tight-knit secondary school, with small class sizes and enjoyed the sense of togetherness we had. In starting university, I felt like everything was a lot more impersonal than I was used to. Being part of the Quercus Scholarship renewed the feeling that I was part of a close community of friendly people once again. It has been a joy to live with motivated people who are incredibly talented at what they do, which has in turn made me more motivated… sort of following the quote “you are the product of your environment”. The life coaching sessions are an invaluable perk of the programme and helped me stay focused throughout the year. It goes without saying that the scholarship lessens the financial burden which is incredibly beneficial.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholar, Annie Madden
Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholar and Law & Business student, Annie Madden: The Quercus Scholarship Programme allows me the flexibility to be both a student and an entrepreneur. The innovation and entrepreneurship scholarship offered in UCC is the only one throughout the country, making UCC unique and putting them a step ahead. The programme recognises the hard work we all do as entrepreneurs while also helping us receive a university degree in whatever discipline we choose. Personally, my degree directly corresponds to my business, and I find I can use the theory I learn to advance my business. The support we all receive year round from Michele and Elaine is second to none and this continued support is really important to be able to succeed. I am also impacted by the other scholars and being surrounded by them. I currently live with creative and performing arts scholars as well as a sports scholar and I really enjoy seeing their dedication to their disciplines which gives me constant motivation to succeed in mine. Through the covid pandemic, it was especially hard for some people to settle into college but with the Quercus programme you are given an immediate college family. I knew I always wanted to go to college and get my degree, but I did not want to have to give up my business to be able to do that and because of Quercus I can have them both.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholar, Emma Coffey
Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholar and Commerce student, Emma Coffey: Before becoming a Quercus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Scholar my college life and business life were entirely separate. I had little involvement in the entrepreneurship culture at UCC. Since September I have been honoured to contribute to lecture seminars, become involved in Ignite and attend networking events where I have had the opportunity to gain invaluable mentorship. As a result I have been able to integrate my education with my business endeavours and grow as both a young entrepreneur and a UCC student.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholar, Nick Cotter
Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholar, Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Law & Business student, Nick Cotter: I am grateful to have the privilege of being a Quercus scholar - It has opened doors and brought new opportunities previously unavailable to me. It has enabled me to give the same high level of priority to my college education as I have my entrepreneurial efforts. Being a part of the Quercus programme has had a transformative effect on the achievement of my entrepreneurial ambitions. Seeing the achievements of other scholars in the entrepreneurial strand and in other strands can be an incredibly powerful motivator in having the self-belief that great ambitions can be achieved through UCC and Quercus. This is especially relevant in my own case, because without the support and inspiration from other Quercus scholars who have achieved significant feats, I believe that it is unlikely I would have gotten this far.
Sports Scholar Testimonials
Up to five Quercus Sports scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate an exceptional level of excellence in their chosen sport every year. Read some of these scholars' testimonials about the programme below.
Quercus Sports' Scholar, Shane Barrett
Quercus Sports Scholar (GAA) and Accounting student, Shane Barrett: The Quercus Scholarship has had a major impact on me the last year not only regarding sporting performance but also me as a person. The Quercus community is so unique the way it brings together people from all types of backgrounds and gives you a fantastic and supportive network of people who are always there to give a helping hand. Thing like the Quercus lecture series is a great initiative as it gives an insight into the lives of people from other strands of the scholarship. Hearing from fellow scholars and some of the experiences they had to endure has had an impact on me as a person as it has made more appreciative of other things in life. In terms of sport it has also had an impact, things such as the bursary alleviate financial pressures that might be there if I was not on the scholarship because trying to balance a part time job and training can be very difficult. Also having workshops such as the nutrition ones are helpful in trying to reach high level performance. Overall, the Quercus Scholarship has had a brilliant impact on me and has certainly helped me become the person I am today on and off the pitch.
Quercus Sports' Scholar, Sean Edogbo
The Quercus Talented Students Programme has been life changing to me. The supports and people that I have been lucky enough to meet has been priceless. I have been able to meet amazing people in my own strand and also people in the other strands. I feel as though I have become a part of a special group of people and it feels almost like a second family to me. I truly believe that the bonds in which I have been able to form this year will stand to me going forward and the friends that I have been able to make within the programme will be lifelong. To have many talented people around you is a very unique but also quite daunting feeling at first but within the Quercus Talented Students Programme everybody looks out for each other and makes you always feel welcome. I have learned through speaking to other Quercus Scholars that we all go through ups and downs in both our sports and in our lives and that it is about how we can take that hit and bounce back is what counts.
Quercus Sports' Scholar, Ger Millerick
I am very grateful to be on the Quercus sports scholarship programme. This programme has made a huge difference in my sporting career but it has also provided me with much more holistic support and experiences I would have never had only for this scholarship. Being able to live in Victoria lodge has made life much more convenient and afforded me more time to work on my academics and sporting commitments while also having a good life balance. I have been lucky enough to live with fellow Quercus scholars from different strands including performance and arts, active citizenship and academics. This has been thoroughly enjoyable experience and it was inspiring living with people who are so driven and dedicated to their field of expertise. With all of us coming from different backgrounds I think it was refreshing for all of us to come back to the apartment and escape from the different high performance worlds we live in and to switch off. This scholarship has increased my awareness of the vast and varying talents that students have. The student led workshops opened my eyes to the amazing things that fellow Quercus students are doing and I took learnings from each one. This scholarship has also helped me academically through its life coaching support. This support facilitated me in planning around exam time so that I found sufficient time to study while also ensuring I was giving all the time I could to my sport. This scholarship has also increased my awareness in certain areas. By attending in the talks such as financial planning, Gary Gray(Australian Ambassador to Ireland) and completing the bystander course, I believe it has increased my awareness around important areas and in turn made me more informed individual.
Quercus Sports' Scholar, Sarah Murphy
Quercus Sports Scholar (Hockey) and Nutritional Sciences student, Sarah Murphy: As a first year student, I feel very lucky and priveleged to have received the Quercus Sports' Scholarship. Receiving this scholarship has given me a confidence boost and has given me even more of a drive to achieve my goals. The supports I have experienced this year have been brilliant. Deirdre in the squad gym has been a great support. The Squad gym facility has made me feel involved with the UCC Hockey Team and I llok forward to using it for the rest of my time in UCC. The bursary has allowed me to not have to work and devote more time to my studies and recovery which has been extremely helpful. Knowing that there is a Quercus team that has put faith in me and is there to provide any support I need and is egging me on to do well in hockey is really encouraging for me and I cannot thank them enough for the support.
Quercus Sports Scholar, Maeve Gallagher
Quercus Sports Scholar (Triathlon) and Pharmacy student, Maeve Gallagher: The Quercus scholarship has enabled me to flourish as a student athlete and allow me to pursue my sporting and academic goals. Bring surrounded and knowing such extraordinary fellow students on the programme continually pushes me and challenges me to keep striving for excellence in what we do. I can't thank the people who run the programme enough as every aspect, problem, worry I ever have Michèle, Elaine, Jeff and so many others have been able to help me out and work with me to solve it. It is the best scholarship in Ireland hands down!!
University (Academic) Scholar Testimonials
Four Quercus University Scholarships are awarded every year to current UCC students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement. Here are the testimonials supplied by some of those University scholars.
University Scholar, Siobhán Cronin
I cannot put into the words the impact that the Quercus Talented Students’ Programme has had on me. The support I get from Michèle, Elaine and the wider Quercus team is worth its weight in gold and I will forever be grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful programme. It is no doubt the most prestigious Undergraduate Scholarship in the country. The financial benefits including the fee waiver, campus accommodation and bursary take that extra bit off pressure off me, and it means that I can spend a few more hours studying in the library instead of working. The life coaching and academic mentor are wonderful supports to have on my journey through UCC and I would not have received them if I were not a part of the Quercus Talented Students’ Programme. The Student Led Workshops cannot go unmentioned - I find it truly fascinating to listen to my fellow scholars speak about their various talents and life experiences. From that, I have to mention the wonderful friends I have made as a result of being part of the programme. I know for a fact that they are friends for life and I am so lucky to have met them from being on the programme. Michèle, Elaine, John - thank you all so much. I am completely indebted to you and being a part of this wonderful programme has truly made my university experience so far.
University Scholar, Aine Ginty
Quercus University Scholar and Data Science & Analytics student, Aine Ginty: Involvement in the Quercus Programme has had an incredibly positive impact on my college experience & academic studies over the past year. It was incredibly satisfying and rewarding to have my hard work & dedication to my studies, acknowledged & celebrated by the team at Quercus. As an academic scholar I got the opportunity to meet with the Head of School of Computer Science. I was extremely fortunate to meet with Professor Utz Roedig to discuss my studies and academic plans. I also met with my academic mentor, Dr Eric Wolsztynski, to discuss my studies in the area of statistics. Involvement in the Quercus Programme has also challenged and motivated me to keep up my devotion to my academic studies to a high standard. I have had the opportunity to meet with, engage with & socialize with many other incredibly talented students on the Quercus Programme. Attending the Quercus Lecture Series was an enlightening experience - offering insight into the incredible range of talent & skill of my peers in UCC. I am very grateful to have had opportunities to meet with & learn from these talented students at social events such as the Quercus Gala Ball. I have been inspired by talented musicians, Olympic athletes, writers, poets and academics. The financial reward as part of the scholarship is also hugely beneficial. The extra financial support, meant that I didn't have to find part-time work during the college semester, which allowed me to focus on my studies and academics. I also used the extra finances to take the opportunity to enrol in study courses and pay for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam which I took in January. The Quercus team have been incredibly supportive throughout the year. I feel very fortunate to be able to contact Michele & Elaine at any time for help, advice and support. The Quercus Programme has had an incredibly positive impact on my college experience and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this programme throughout the past academic year.
University Scholar, Hannah Keohane
Quercus University Scholar and Medicine student, Hannah Keohane: It is difficult to express the significance the Quercus Programme holds for me. It has impacted my college experience in academic, social and personal spheres in ways I could have never predicted. Academically, being a part of Quercus opened up many doors for me. Without the scholarship, it would have been more difficult for me to afford to move to Sweden for a month on placement. This was an amazing, formative experience and it was made possible by being a Quercus Scholar. I have been fortunate enough to attend the Lecture Series each year and I always look forward to it immensely. For me, standout talks include Vera’s from Lesbos last year and Marieke’s on working in the Covid ICU. Despite considering myself well informed and studying medicine, these talks from such unique viewpoints massively broadened my perspective on these issues. Moreover, I have found the exceptional and diverse group of students in the programme to be so vivacious, welcoming and inspiring. I have valued getting to know so many people I would never have had the opportunity to meet without Quercus.
University Scholar, Marieke Buckley
Quercus University Scholar and Children's & General Nursing student, Marieke Buckley: It is difficult to fully express the impact obtaining the Quercus University Academic Scholarship has had on me, the magnitude of the scholarship, and the avenues of opportunity that it has provided. I think back to 2019 when I had the opportunity to attend the Quercus Lecture Series as a college scholar which where hugely influential; I was in awe of the Quercus programme; the achievements and demonstrations of leadership and advocacy shown by those in receipt. Those lectures allowed me to dream about the possibility of becoming a scholarship student, I aspired to be like the individuals delivering these lectures, and the scholars on the programme, and wondered if I too could inspire, inflict change and impact the future in some way. Never did I think I would actually be able to achieve a scholarship like this, I often still have to pinch myself! I am so grateful for this opportunity and for the incredible two years I have had so far on the scholarship programme. This year the programme via life coaching, via mentoring from the Quercus managers and team, and via formation of connections and friendships with fellow scholars, has facilitated huge personal growth and development. Firstly, the scholarship has allowed me to devote myself entirely to my academic discipline so that I may achieve my very best, via fantastic financial support, support from tutors and networking opportunities. I have had the opportunity to work with an academic mentor; one of the aspects of the programme I value most- I have received excellent advice and mentorship which is allowing me to achieve the most I can in terms of results, my studies and has opened my eyes to new study opportunities such as research, as well as provided invaluable advice regarding time management, research applications and study planning. Quercus has also facilitated personal development in many ways; previously I would have been more introverted, shying away from public speaking, however the scholarship has provided fantastic experiences which have challenged me to complete many interviews, videos, televised pieces, speeches and presentations. I have also been provided with the unique opportunity to work with a life-coach; an invaluable aspect of the scholarship that has facilitated significant skill, mindset and personal growth. The Quercus programme has helped me to develop self-belief, trust and confidence in myself and my abilities, has further fuelled my passion for the area I am studying, and has facilitated wider thinking about my life goals and the impact I wish to make in my discipline and on those around me. This year I have realised the significance of this statement put to us by Professor John O’ Halloran; ‘…with talent comes responsibility’. I realise the opportunity I have been given as the first nursing student to ever achieve this scholarship, and I do not take this lightly. I see how proud it has made my family and peers, my lecturers and those in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and this instils a passion to do my very best and to continue to achieve in the field of nursing and academia. The scholarship has allowed me to embrace my role as a leader and advocate, fuelling me to bring about change in nursing education and healthcare systems, however small. Eventually I hope to be a leader in the Irish healthcare setting, and shape and influence policies and structures for better patient outcomes and for the improved mental health and wellbeing of nurses caring for patients. Furthermore, meeting with and establishing relationships/friendships with other scholars has facilitated wider thinking, discussions about future endeavours and plans, and networking opportunities. It is a privilege to be in the programme with such esteemed colleagues; it has been inspiring and eye-opening to spend time with them. From this pool of opportunities connected with Quercus, and from the mentorship I have received, I am now dreaming bigger and considering career paths and opportunities that I previously thought I was not able for, such as advanced nurse practitioner or research roles, and medicine. I am so proud to be a Quercus scholar, it is an indescribable honour!