DkIT “lit a fire in me and I loved it,” says biopharmaceutical science graduate Noirin McArdle.
Noirin McArdle (30) went working after she finished her A-levels in St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint and out of the blue decided 5 years ago she would “challenge” herself by going to college.
From Forkhill in county Armagh, Noirin was in Dundalk nearly every day so it was obvious to her to look at DkIT.
She knew nothing about Pharmaceutical Science but now has a BA (Hons) in it.
“I had never academically challenged myself and so I said I would challenge myself.”
“I said I am going to go and study and pick something totally out there and see if I can do it and this is what happened.”
She has no idea why she chose the Sciences but “I took to it like a fish to water.”
“The first year I just kept being so surprised at myself and how I was fit for it and then I got really hungry for it and didn’t realise how competitive I actually was, which was a big surprise.”
“I just really loved it and loved all my lecturers and I think that was a massive part of it, you felt they were your friend.”
She says the lecturers are all experienced in the industry and “so they were inspiring you and getting you excited for what they are preparing you for. Anything you asked them, they knew. I can’t recommend the college for the lecturers in the Science Department enough.”
After her degree she decided to take a year out to work with Norbrook Laboratories in Validation Analysis before returning to do her 4th year, an Honours in Biopharmaceutical Science.
“Ireland is a leading country in producing biopharmaceuticals so doing this year is fantastic. The year is so industry based that it not only prepares you academically but it also really prepares you for going into industry too.”
“What we are learning here is what they are using right now in industry. We are learning all about the bio-reactors.”
Her 4th year has been “the hardest thing I ever done,” but she is very proud of her thesis which is about combining a biological drug with a chemotherapy drug to see if it effects how cancer cells react.
As she prepares to return to the working world, Noirin said is encouraging more students from Northern Ireland to consider DkIT for their degree courses.
“You still get your student grant and loan from the SELB ( Southern Education and Library Board ) and the SELB still pays your tuition fees.”
“I took to it like a fish to water, it’s like it lit a fire in me and I loved it. I love science now, it is all about the science for me.”