Kilkenny native Dr Brian Deegan took centre screen this week as he discussed his pathway to becoming Irish Water’s Ecological and Environmental Assessment Specialist with Science and Engineering staff and students from IT Carlow.
The virtual event was organised by Irish Water in partnership with the Institute of Technology to highlight the opportunities available to students within the utility and to discuss the integral role science plays in producing and treating water and wastewater.
Brian believes that science holds the key to many of life’s challenges and urged students never to give up on their hopes and aspirations considering the constraints they are currently facing.
“Science has given me so many amazing opportunities in life," he said.
"I completed my PHD in Adelaide in Australia and began working on a drought project in the Murray Darling basin shortly afterwards, which gave me great experience. I have worked on mainland Europe before eventually returning home to start work for Irish Water. It is a great place to work with over 400 projects on the ground.
"I would encourage all students to be open minded about science. It has opened so many doors for me in terms of networking and the opportunities that arose from that. I would encourage anyone to pursue a career in science.”
Irish Water’s Regional Communications Lead, Richard Ó hEadhra, says Irish Water has a really good relationship with Carlow IT, and it was great to be able to tell the engineers and scientists of tomorrow about the work it was doing.
"In an ideal world, Brian would physically be on campus chatting to the students in one of their lecture halls, but as we all know, we must adhere to the current Covid-19 restrictions," he said.
"Thankfully, we can avail of the technology at our disposal and bring these events to life in other ways, so we are delighted to do that.”
Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte is Director of enviroCORE and Lecturer in Biosciences at the IT. She feels passionately about events that allow her students to hear from professionals and what it’s like to work in the areas they are now studying.
“I think tonight’s event was really interesting. I have a similar story to Brian. I came from the countryside in Greece to study in Ireland and pursue my career in science. Twenty-five years on, I am lecturing students at the Carlow IT and I am passionate about what I do.
"I think it is really important for my students to see people like Brian who are working in the industry to help them understand they have something to aim for here in Ireland.”
For more information on Irish Water’s events for Science Week 2020, go to water.ie//conservation/ community/science-week/2020