Professor Paul Ross, Head of College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS), University College Cork (UCC) presents James Harte with a Quercus College Scholarship in recognition of his exceptional results in First Year Biomedical Science.
Looking back over my shoulder, it’s hard to believe how far I have journeyed in the last nine years and how much of the journey I still remember: formative memories of Coláiste Choilm seem so fresh in my mind that they fit better with my more recent memories of University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology rather than the distant, half-forgotten thoughts of a twelve-year old boy going to secondary school for the first time.

It’s strange to be able to track the moments that shaped your personality and your character, your interests and your passions, your values and your views, and identify how many of those key moments can be attributed to the time you spent in secondary school and in college. I look back at the last nine years and I can see the foundation of who I am today being laid down, brick by brick. Most of the groundwork was done while I was in Coláiste Choilm; the finer details are still being polished in college.

Without a doubt in my mind, the time I spent in Coláiste Choilm shaped who I am, by giving me an endless number of chances to explore and develop: I got to do drama and cultural exchanges, playing the role of an Ancient Greek, a conductor and a terrifyingly corrupt patriarch in A Whistle in the Dark through the years, alongside wonderful actors and actresses; I got to be extensively involved in Student Council as a Year Representative, as Public Relations Officer and as Chairperson; I got to work with an amazing team on Ráiméas and my yearbook; I got to proudly compete in Sci-Fest and the BT Young Scientist, two times each and walk away with rosettes for my efforts; and I got to meet wonderful people and made incredible friends. All of those memories, all of those bricks that make up who I am, are because of Coláiste Choilm.

From that foundation, I built a career from my passions. I always knew I wanted to work in science, possibly higher education, my love of biology, chemistry and physics in school a catalyst for my CAO decision. I spent hours, if not days or weeks, humming and hawing about what course I wanted to do. But, eventually, I made up my mind. And, I haven’t looked back on that decision with an ounce of regret.

I choose Biomedical Science, a multidisciplinary life-science focusing on laboratory disease diagnosis, with a driving motivation to combine scientific research and medical expertise to make a distinct difference to the wellbeing of others and improve the quality of someone’s life. My course has been everything I could have hoped for and more. It’s an environment where I excel, simply because I love what I do. For my dedication and my graft, I was awarded a prestigious Quercus University Scholarship for Academic Excellence in the field of science, a title I am extremely proud to hold.

Ní fheadainn rud a scríobh ar mo thaithí i gColáiste Choilm, gan beagáinín béalghrá a thabhairt do thabhacht na Gaeilge agus an Ghaelcholáiste, agus an tionchar ollmhór a bhí ag an dátheangachas orm agus mé ag fás aníos. Is iomaí buntáiste a thug an Gaelcholáiste dom, go háirithe i dtaobh domhan na hacadúlachta, ach an rud is mo a chuaigh i bhfeidhm orm ná an comhluadar, an grúpa beag a bhí i gcónaí le d’áis, lá i ndiadh lae. Measaim féin is as dúthracht an grúpa beag san, na muinteoirí agus na cairde a sheas taobh liom ón dtús, atá ag éirí chomh maith liom fé láthair.

James Harte