International Women's Day: Meet DkITSU President Maria Maguire08 March 2019
“I am very honoured to have been elected to this role and I am also immensely proud to be the first woman to take up the opportunity in almost 15 years”, commented Maria.
Among the first to encourage her to run and then to congratulate her on her success was her son Liam (16). Liam always encouraged her to return to further education and then when she found the first few weeks difficult, she went to the Students Union and so began the seeds of her future role.
“The SU team were so supportive during my first year in college and I remember thinking that one day I would like to use my skills to have a similarly positive impact on others.”
As a result she said,
“I have always wanted to run for the Students Union.”
Talking about her first year in office, Maria shared how much of an eye opener it was to her.
“You think you know what you are getting into, but it is way more than that. I have been very active this year and am involved in a lot of different committees.”
“My major achievements so far have been our Student Success Week, which involved the promotion of all of the DkIT Student Services to our students approximately four weeks into the first term.
By waiting until later in the term, I was able to bypass the overload of information given to students in their first days in college and target them once they had settled in and started to become curious about the range of services available to them.
Services such as the Student Learning & Development Centre have seen a 25% increase in the number of students coming to them this year, directly related to the effectiveness of Student Success Week.”
Maria has also secured funding to create a 10 credit special purpose award for students involved in extracurricular activity across the college.
“This award will provide student ambassadors, class reps and those students running our societies with the opportunity to earn an award that will show real employability skills on their CV – skills such as communication, leadership, team work and delegation.”
When discussing the challenges she has had, Maria shared that these have been few and even those challenges have been rewarding:
“It can be difficult when you are the main point of contact for students who are going through difficult times. It can be difficult to decide how to handle these situations – I am the one they are looking to for advice on who to speak to about a certain issue or how they can access the right information.
But being able to help the students is hugely rewarding – one of the many great things about my job!”
Maria was heavily involved in student life from the start of her academic career, establishing the Mature Student Society during her first year and was later elected to class representative. Most recently, she was a nominated as a member of the DkIT Governing Body and actively promotes the student voice on decision making at DkIT.
All of these experiences helped towards her deciding to run for the office in the final year of her 3 year degree.
“I hope that my presidency will ensure that the SU is more visible and approachable across all corners of the campus. Students are more likely to come up to you if they see you around, rather than having to seek you out.”
In keeping with the message behind International Women’s Day, Maria is also passionate about encouraging diversity within student politics.
“I want to be a role model for other women who are aspiring to work in senior positions in politics and business. And I am optimistic about the future. I can see the gender balance amongst SU politics beginning to turn the tide and am proud to be at the forefront of DkIT’s role in that change.”
BB Business and Manaement