NUI Galway graduate and 2011 Hamilton Prize winner, Fionnuala Connolly, is about to embark on a PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences in Harvard University. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, Fionnuala, from Knocknacarra, Galway City has been offered a full scholarship as well as a Pierce Fellowship which is awarded to the top 5% of graduate students.
"We are thrilled for Fionnuala and her success in applying to the best graduate schools abroad", says Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. “It is a testimony to her remarkable academic achievements so far, and also to the excellent reputation of Irish Applied Mathematics. We are sorry to see her leave Galway, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which cannot be turned down.”
Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The Hamilton Prize is awarded each year to the third-year student who is best in mathematical sciences at NUI Galway. It has gone to students majoring in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, and Financial Maths. Its prestige is undeniable, and we encourage all students to strive in mathematical subjects and aim for it. Fionnuala has been an outstanding student – she has attained first-class honours in every exam she has taken in NUI Galway and I was not at all surprised to hear that she was offered fellowships by one of the best universities in the world.”
Fionnuala began at NUI Galway in 2008, originally to study Physics with Medical Physics. “At the end of my first year, I realised I enjoyed mathematics and decided to immerse myself fully into its application to real-world problems and am grateful to the College of Science to have allowed me to switch to a degree in Applied Mathematics.”
While at Harvard, Fionnuala is hoping to work in a field related to modelling in engineering or medicine, possibly with links to neurosciences.
In recent years, Mathematical Sciences at NUI Galway have undergone several major changes, with for example the fusion of the former Departments of Mathematics, which included Statistics, and Mathematical Physics into a School with four Disciplines of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Bioinformatics, and the launch of a new Degree in Mathematical Science.