Siobhán Griffin, formerly a student at St Columba’s Stranorlar
Optum Ireland, part of the UnitedHealth Group, has announced this year’s scholars at the University - Artur Kryszkowski, formerly a student at St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny who is studying Biomedical Science and Siobhán Griffin, formerly a student at St Columba’s Stranorlar, who is studying the recently launched BSc Genetics and Genomics.
NUI Galway deputy president and registrar, Pól Ó Dochartaigh, praised the Optum Healthcare Scholarship and highlighted the impact it is making for students and their families in Donegal.
“The scholarship is giving young people access to university, to academic study and to a future that may otherwise have been closed to them,” Professor Ó Dochartaigh said.
“The programme is a shining example of a multinational supporting families and individuals in the community where it is based and trying to open doors to a bright and exciting future for them. I wish Optum every success with its operations in Letterkenny and I wish the students on the scholarship every success for the future.”
The Optum Healthcare Scholarship at NUI Galway, established in 2018, is designed to support students who come from less advantaged backgrounds and may face additional challenges accessing third level education.
This year’s scholars will benefit from annual financial assistance, as well as other support they may require to complete their undergraduate studies.
Three other students from Donegal are already benefitting from the scholarship programme at NUI Galway – Liam Orr, studying Medicine, Charlotte Timony studying Psychology and Shaneen Graham studying Biopharmaceutical Chemistry.
All of the successful scholars are studying healthcare and related programmes.
Padraig Monaghan, chief executive of Optum Ireland, said Optum has a presence in the north-west for more than 20 years.
"Our scholarship programme is designed to meet the needs and realities of this cross-border region and support the local healthcare system. We are delighted that our contribution comes at a time when there is an acute focus on the healthcare service and an increased level of application to third level healthcare courses in Ireland."
Artur Kryszkowski (above) said: “This scholarship means everything to me. It allows me to focus on my studies whilst not having to worry about the financial side of college."
Siobhan Griffin added: “Receiving the Optum Scholarship is a huge honour for me and it will enable me to pursue my dream career. I feel very privileged that my determination and potential have been recognised and this has further inspired me to succeed in all future endeavours. This scholarship will be an immense support, especially during these challenging times, and I am incredibly grateful."
Liam Orr, from Letterkenny, an Optum Healthcare Scholar in his third year studying medicine in NUI Galway, said: “Living away from home, the cost of living accommodation and travel is considerable. The Optum scholarship has taken the pressure off myself and my family.
"There is a great sense of security knowing that the support is there and the support, coming as it does from a local company, has meant a lot. I have been able to focus more on my studies and I’ve been able to travel home and stay connected to my family and community. My ambition is to work in a community-based practice at home in Donegal.”
The Optum Healthcare Scholarship Program for 2021/22 will be launched in January 2021.
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