An engineering professor from Glenties is up for one of the most prestigious awards in the UK and needs your support.
Máire O’Neill (née McLoone) is one of five people nominated for the Semta Engineering Hall of Fame. She’s delighted to find herself in such distinguished company one of last year’s nominees, James Dyson.
The 36-year-old mother of two is an electrical engineer and one of Europe’s leading digital security experts.
As Professor of Information Security at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) in Queen’s University Belfast, she is the youngest ever professor at QUB and its first female professor in electrical and electronic engineering.
She’s also the youngest person elected to the Irish Academy of Engineering and has been named British Female Inventor of the Year for her work on high speed data security.
In addition, Máire headed the team from Queen’s engineering department that won a silver medal in the Swan charter for promoting women in research and academia.
Her late father, teacher John McLoone, passed on his love of engineering to his children, she told the Democrat. “My two older brothers are in electronic engineering too. He was definitely an inspiration to us all. I remember him building a hydroelectric system on the river next to our house when I was young. We had free electricity.”
Máire also credits her teachers at St Columba’s Comprehensive School with inspiring her. “I had a lot of good teachers, especially Helen Corcoran for combined physics and chemistry, and Kathleen Molloy for Leaving Cert. maths, which is so important for electronic engineering.”
Máire loves working with companies to develop her research into products which use the latest technology to solve problems that matter in everyday life.
“Most people don’t realise that about electronic engineering but that’s one aspect of it that I really enjoy,” she said.