I became interested in the natural environment and concerned about environmental issues at a young age. I attribute this to the influence of my mother, who often whisked me off on outdoor pursuits in West Cork and Kerry, and to my early years at a Steiner School kindergarten that emphasised nature-based education.
It was my appreciation of the natural world that prompted me to pursue a BSc (Hons) degree in Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences - an umbrella programme for life science students - at University College Cork in 2010. In the second year of my course, I could specialise in one of a range of disciplines, including plant science, geology, environmental science, geography, zoology and ecology. I was torn between plant science and ecology but ultimately settled on ecology.
Ecology is essentially about the interrelated nature of all things – be they living or non-living – and it is a subject I have always found not just interesting but also philosophically meaningful.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Management and Policy at Lund University in Sweden. While working on my thesis, I volunteered with Cork Nature Network (CNN), a local eNGO that organises ecology-related educational events and runs conservation projects in Cork city and county. The experience gave me a better appreciation of the opportunities and challenges facing environmental scientists working in consultancy and eNGOs.
Since joining ROD in 2019, I have worked on a wide variety of projects, including the Dursey Island Cable Car and Visitor Centre, Maynooth Eastern Ring Road, Foynes to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme, Dublin City South Campshires, and the N52 Ardee Bypass.
I am currently acting as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Coordinator for Dublin City Council’s Dodder Public Transportation Opening Bridge project. It is exciting to be involved in a project of such strategic importance for sustainable development in Dublin City.
In 2013, I undertook a natural sciences degree at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where I specialised in environmental science. I chose this discipline because I was interested in the workings of the natural systems, and I wanted to understand our role in these systems and how we can mitigate our impacts on them. After completing my degree, I decided to pursue a Master’s in Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy at University College Dublin (UCD), which focused on how environmental protection is translated into European and Irish law.
During my master’s, I undertook a two-month internship with a leading engineering consultancy in Dublin, where I gained practical experience in carrying out environmental reports, broadened my knowledge of Irish law and learned what life is like working in a busy consultancy.
When I joined ROD in 2019 I definitely felt a little out-of-my-depth at first because of the sheer volume of new information I had to take in but, over time, I settled into the role. Now I am enjoying the variety of projects and the experience that comes with managing the different challenges that each one presents.
In terms of projects, my highlights have been working on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for the Rosslare Europort to Waterford City Greenway and assisting with the completion of the Waterford City Public Infrastructure Projects.
It is an exciting time to be an environmental scientist. Being able to communicate and engage others in environmental issues is key, because we have an important role in encouraging people to think about the long-term impact of development on the environment.