Tara West

Advertising creative and writer

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Tara West left Victoria College in 1989 with ‘A’ Levels in English Literature, Art and History and Appreciation of Art. She studied foundation at Belfast School of Art, completed a degree in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at the University of Ulster, and secured her first job in advertising in 1995. She specialised in copywriting and creativity, and over the years worked her way up to Creative Director level. She is now Joint Head of Creative in Genesis, one of Northern Ireland’s leading advertising agencies, and has been responsible for high-profile and award-winning campaigns for Tourism Northern Ireland, Health and Safety Executive (Farm Safety), the PSNI, the Public Health Agency, SPAR, firmus energy and Genesis Crafty.

Tara is also a published writer: her first novel, Fodder, was published by Blackstaff Press in 2002, and her second novel, Poets Are Eaten as a Delicacy in Japan, was published by Liberties Press in 2013 and was described by Ian Sansom as ‘the funniest book written by a Northern Irish author this century’. Liberties Press will publish her memoir about depression and recovery, Happy Dark, in 2017. Her writing has also been published in The Glass Shore, a much-lauded collection of short stories by Northern Irish women writers, Blackbird, the inaugural anthology of writing from QUB Seamus Heaney Centre alumni, and next year will see her work included in The Female Line, the follow up to the seminal 1985 collection of fiction and nonfiction from Northern Irish women writers.

Tara appears at numerous book and arts festivals including the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, the Belfast Book Festival, Aspects Festival Bangor, the West Belfast Festival, the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and the John Hewitt International Summer School. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast, is a member of the Society of Authors, the Irish Writers Union, and a professional member of the Irish Writers Centre. She has received a number of Arts Council Northern Ireland Awards for her creative writing, including the sought-after Artists Career Enhancement Scheme. She lives in Co Antrim with her husband and daughter (who she hopes will go to VCB too!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Dr Jillian Hunter

VCB 1995 - 2002

Queen’s University Belfast – Medicine – Graduated 2007

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After graduation I completed my Foundation Programme and General Practice training. My medical career to date has been both varied and exciting and has led to travel around the world. A portfolio doctor is a doctor who fulfils many roles and can include a variety of specialties.

My most exciting jobs to date are; General Practitioner for the Athletes’ Village at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Venue Doctor for North Greenwich Arena (O2 Arena) at the London 2012 Olympics where the gymnastics and basketball finals were held. I have also accompanied expeditions to Madagascar and Peru to name a few.

Recently I have completed a period of on-call for UKEMT (UK Emergency Medical Team) which is the UK Government’s international medical response to any natural or humanitarian disaster. I will be on-call again in May for 4 months.

Currently I am employed as a GP in Altnagelvin Hospital Emergency Department in Londonderry. Other current roles include BASICS Doctor for the North West of NI where I respond with the Ambulance Service in case of bad RTCs or major incidents and I am Northern Ireland District Medical Event Lead for St John Ambulance. I also travel to the UK for event doctor work such as Tough Mudder, Triathlons and Velothons.

Who knows what is next!

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Joanne Laird

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  My name is Joanne Laird and I am a Sergeant in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, living and working in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. I started at Victoria College Belfast in September 1979 aged 9, having moved with my family from Londonderry. I became a boarder in September 1981 and remained at “Vic” until finishing my A levels in June 1989. I loved my time at school, playing “goalie” for the hockey team, running the film club, even having to wear your uniform, to go to church on a Sunday morning!

Between 1989 and 1992 I completed a degree course in “Human Communication” at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, then managed an off license in Lisburn until September 1993.

I joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in October 1993 successfully completed my training and passed out in April 1994, in the first squad ever to have armed female Officers! I was posted to Omagh in County Tyrone, bought a house in Enniskillen. I got promoted to Enniskillen in April 1999.

Throughout my career so far I have had an amazing number of opportunities; I spent 9 months working with CID on the Omagh Bomb investigation, which was such an intense, fascinating and sometimes harrowing experience. I have lied for up to 10 days with colleagues in the back of a landrover at the height of the Drumcree protests in Portadown, been involved in rioting (only on the police side, I might add) at the Harryville Church protests in Ballymena, flown around in helicopters with the Army, been set on fire whilst riot training, sped up and down Lough Erne in the police boat and was awarded a Chief Constable’s Commendation for my investigation into an fatal road traffic collision. In 2000/2001, I spent 12 months in Kosovo working as a United Nations Peacekeeper, along with 82 other RUC colleagues plus Police and Non-Governmental Organisations from across the world, including countries I have never heard of. We lived in the local houses and worked with all sides of their communities, Serbian, Albanian and the Romani Gypsies. It was an amazing year, during which I met so many fantastic and inspiring people, also my Geography improved immensely (My VCB Geography teacher Mrs Pendry, would be so proud!)

In 2001, the RUC became the Police Service of Northern Ireland and over the last 15 years we have gone all high tech with our computer systems. When I joined the police, everything was all hand written and there was not a computer in sight (I kid you not, and I don’t consider myself to be old, even if I did grow up with only 3 channels on the telly!) In 2012 with Fermanagh being the most Western part of the United Kingdom, I had the immense pleasure of being able to hold the Olympic Flame on Lough Erne and in 2013 we had an incredible number of months, and then a manic 2 days, as the 8 most powerful leaders in the world arrived in Enniskillen for the G8 Summit. There was a temporary police station, built within the lough erne Golf Resort complex and I worked in it maintaining the integrity and security of the site for the months up to and during the summit. It was an amazing piece of history to have been a part of, memories I shall never forget.

Of course my job isn’t everything in my life, I love to travel and have visited many countries. I’ve stood on the Great Wall of China, seen the terracotta warriors in Xian, visited the Taj Mahal and Mother Theresa’s hospital in India, swam in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, walked on the battle plains of the Falkland Islands, flown in a sea plane in Alaska, climbed the Dunn’s waterfall in Jamaica, swam with Stingrays in the Cayman Islands, visited the Titanic graves in Halifax, Nova Scotia, whale watched in New Zealand, toured the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, visited the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and ridden down the Grand Canyon on a Mule, to highlight but a few.

And so to now, I have no real plans to change anything in my life, I love the variety in my daily job, I love the camaraderie with my work colleagues and the freedom to travel the world, and when the weather in nice the beautiful scenery in County Fermanagh…..and all of this started, aged 9 in Victoria College Belfast!

 

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Suzan Thompson

In 2001 I left VCB and was accepted by Queens University Belfast to study Biological Sciences. I graduated in 2005 with a 1st class hons degree. I then started working in Biosearch where I was responsible for the detection and identification of bacteria in food and water samples.

In 2006 I moved to AFBI (Agri Food and Biosciences Institute) where I have spent the past 10.5 years working with various veterinary diseases. I am currently employed as a Senior Scientific Officer and my main role is to manage staff working on the Brucella and TB Eradication Schemes.

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Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Rachel Bell

After leaving Victoria in 2010 I went on to study Molecular Genetics at the University of Edinburgh. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my degree, I didn’t feel that research would suit me as a career and so I headed down the accountancy route.

I am now half-way through my 3 ½ year training contract with BDO Northern Ireland to become qualified through Chartered Accountants Ireland. Despite the extremely hard work involved, I am really enjoying the challenge and am hopeful that I will qualify as a Chartered Accountant within the next couple of years which will stand me in good stead for career progression.

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Amy Molloy

Amy started her acting in earnest by participating in some VCB productions and pursuing solo LAMDA exams with Gwyneth Murdoch in Belfast, achieving her LAMDA acting diploma with distinction.

She applied for a handful of English drama schools after doing an evening course at Central school of speech and drama in London as well as a summer course at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, winning a bursary at Mountview academy of Theatre Arts in London, graduating in 2008.

Since then Amy has worked extensively in theatre, working with all the major theatre producers in Ireland including Gate theatre, Abbey theatre and Druid theatre. She returned to NYC to perform at BAM Harvey theatre with Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan in 2011.

She performed "Over the Bridge" for Jimmy Ellis one last time in London's Finborough Theatre and was involved in the successful thriller '71 with Jack O'Connell.

In 2014 Amy began producing and fundraising for a one woman show "TeaSet" by Gina Moxley, taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2015 with the help of the Pleasance theatre. It garnered great reviews from publications such as the Guardian and the Scotsman and helped raise awareness for 3 local charities including Silverline Scotland.

Other film and tv work includes "Call the Midwife" series 3, "The Fall" series 3 and the film adaption of John Banvilles "The Sea".

Amy has returned to Belfast from London to work on a few occasions, including "Playhouse Creatures" with Bruiser theatre company and the 'Chilean Trilogy' of plays with Prime Cut productions as well as "Black Milk".

Most recently she was at the Lyric studio as Runt in "Disco Pigs".

2016 saw Amy in a co-production with the Abbey theatre Dublin and the Royal Court London in David Ireland's ground-breaking and controversial new play "Cyprus Avenue", starring Stephen Rea.

Amy continues to be involved with the on going workshops of artists and writers set up by Stephen Rea's "Field Day" company, which originally produced Brian Friel's work.

Amy keeps up an interest in writing and art, as well as specialising in SEN educational assistance in London, having developed good relationships with a number of schools. 

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Erin Byrd

Since leaving VCB in 2003 I went to study at the University of South Alabama on a Track and Field scholarship for pole vaulting. During this time I was still competing internationally for Ireland.

I obtained a Bachelor’s degree and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (Physiotherapy) from South Alabama. I went on to specialize in Sports Medicine gaining my Sports Clinical Specialist Certification and becoming Clinical Manager of the sports medicine department of a large Children’s Hospital in Atlanta- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I worked with USA Gymnastics on injury prevention strategies and published research on gymnastics injuries.

I moved back to the UK and took up a Lectureship position at the University of Plymouth in their physiotherapy programme. I both lecture on the physiotherapy programme leading the Applied Movement Science module, and continue my research activity on gymnastics injuries and athletic low back pain. In the upcoming year I will be partnering with British Gymnastics for some research projects and injury prevention strategies.

Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Hannah Craig (nee McMillan)

Hannah left Victoria College in 2006 to study for a Masters Degree in Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast. She graduated in 2010 with a 1st Class Honours Degree and completed her pre-registration training with McKays Pharmacy in East Belfast. After successfully completing her pre-registration training, she was accepted as a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland in July 2011. Hannah then began her doctorial studies in September 2011 and graduated with a PhD in Ocular Drug Delivery in 2014.

Hannah works as a Formulation Development Scientist for Warner Chilcott Ltd (a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceuticals) where she develops new pharmaceutical products and married Darren in October 2015.


Rachael McMillan

Rachael left Victoria College in June 2007 to commence a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Ulster Jordanstown.  She graduated in June 2011 with 1st Class Honours.

She then successfully gained a place on the PGCE course for Physical Education in the University of Ulster.

Since graduating from that in June 2012 she has taught PE and RE in The High School Ballynahinch. Rachael has just recently been appointed as Head of Department. She has most recently graduated from Queens University Belfast with a Masters degree in Education.


Ruth McMillan

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Ruth left Victoria College in June 2007. She studied Business Studies at the University of Ulster Jordanstown and graduated in June 2012 with a 2.1 class honours degree and a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Ruth then successfully gained a place on the PGCE course for Business Studies and Economics at the Institute of Education, London.

Since graduating in June 2014 she has taught Business Studies and Mathematics and currently teaches in Regent House Grammar School in Newtownards.

In December 2016 Ruth graduated from Queens University Belfast with Masters degree in Education.


Posted on May 30, 2017 .

Flora Delargy

Flora Delargy, a former pupil of Victoria College Belfast has won the Citi Group Award for being the Highest Performing Student on Placement as part of her MSC in Financial Services at the Ulster University Business School.  It was a proud moment for Flora’s father, UTV’s Business Correspondent Jamie Delargy, as he had completed the same course at the School ten years previously.  The Award was presented at the annual Ulster University Business School’s Student Awards event organised by the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics. Also pictured is Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of the Ulster University Business School.

Posted on November 21, 2014 .

Corrie Moore

Corrie left VCB in 2006 and completed her degree in Psychology BA (Hons) at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 2010. After graduating Corrie headed to Berlin to satisfy her cultural and historical curiosity. She stayed there worked her way up the ladder of the hotel and tourism industry having started out mixing cocktails at a 5-star hotel.

Corrie changed fields about seven months ago to work in Innovation Strategy and Marketing. Corrie is currently running workshops and doing public speaking about Creativity and Haptic Thinking, writing articles and press releases, organising events. 

Posted on February 9, 2014 .

Louise Trimble

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Louise left VCB in 2001 and obtained her law degree from Queens University Belfast in 2005. She completed her professional qualifications at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queens and was admitted as a solicitor in 2008. Louise joined the litigation department of C&H Jefferson Solicitors in September 2008. Louise is congregational secretary in her local church where she is also involved in youth organisations and fundraising projects.

Posted on February 9, 2014 .

Dr Niamh Kennedy

Niamh Kennedy

Niamh left VCB in 2002 and went to QUB to take an undergraduate degree in Psychology. During this time her particular area of interest was recovery after Brain injury so after finishing her undergraduate degree, she completed two summer research internships at Harvard University and Boston University. The studies she was involved in were focused around learning and memory in individuals with Brain injuries. After completing her internships she started a PhD in 2006 at Queens University Belfast, looking into the neurological aspects of stroke rehabilitation. After finishing in 2010, Niamh became a Lecturer in Stroke Recovery at the University of East Anglia.

Posted on February 8, 2014 .

Kirsty Milliken

Kirsty left VCB in 2004 and went to Queen’s University Belfast, without a gap year to study a 3 year honours degree in Social Work. Kirsty graduated in summer 2007 and commenced work in her first social work post in Belfast in October 2007.

Posted on February 8, 2014 .

Suzan Thompson nee James

Suzan left VCB  in 2001 and went to Queen’s University Belfast where she obtained a first class Bsc Hons in Biological Sciences. She currently works in AFBI as a Senior Scientific Officer in the Veterinary Sciences Division. She manages 2 labs, statutory testing on behalf of DARD for tuberculosis and brucellosis in cattle. She is also carrying out research into the development of new methods of detection of tuberculosis in cattle.

Posted on February 4, 2014 .

Sarah Henderson

Sarah left VCB in 2006 and studied Nursing at Queens University Belfast achieving a first class honours degree. She works as a Staff Nurse in Belfast City Hospital. She is studying for a  Masters (part-time) in 'Developing Practice in Healthcare'.

Posted on February 4, 2014 .

Leanne Brown

Leanne left VCB in 2005. She graduated in Medicine in 2010 from Queen’s University Belfast and  got married in 2012. She is presently a Trainee Doctor in Emergency Medicine.

Posted on February 4, 2014 .