UCD Alumni Award Winners 2020

As we gear up for the announcement of our 2021 UCD Alumni Awardees in September, we spoke to the 2020 winners about their time at UCD, their careers, and the advice they have for students and graduates. These nine awardees are the epitome of passion, success, and ongoing support in their own communities as well as to our community of nearly 300,000 alumni worldwide. To see their full bios as well as the 2021 winners in September, you can visit the Alumni Awards website.

Dinuka Tharangi Jayaweera | Sri Lanka

Dinuka Tharangi Jayaweera is a Business Analyst at Sysco LABS Sri Lanka and Social Media Chair at IEEE Young Professionals She graduated from UCD with a BSc in Computer Science in 2017 and is based in Sri Lanka.

Barra Fitzgibbon | United Kingdom

Barra Fitzgibbon is a UCD Arts graduate who went on to study law and become a solicitor. While working as a solicitor he discovered his passion lay in media and communications and he became a Channel 4 broadcaster. Barra has also worked as a voiceover artist and lent his voice to ad campaigns for 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and, most importantly, Kerrygold Butter. Following a near-death experience after contracting COVID-19, Barra changed career again and now is a conversation specialist working with individuals, corporates, institutions, charities and the NHS, delivering a wide range of talks, programmes and workshops.

Nicole Li | China

Yaxin (Nicole) Li is a UCD Smurfit Business School graduate. Following the completion of her Master’s Degree in Marketing in 2019 she moved to Shanghai to work for Enterprise Ireland. She still misses the comparative peace and quiet of Ireland every day.

Niall Norton | Ireland

Niall Norton is a UCD BComm graduate. He has a very successful career in the telecommunications sector and is CEO of Openet (an Amdocs Company), a world leading Digital BSS company that provides data management solutions. When Niall is not working, he enjoys a little cycling, swimming, science fiction and not surprisingly taking old computers apart. 

Kara Kelly | Ireland

Kara Kelly is a Business and Law (BBL) graduate from the Sutherland School of Law.  She has spent over 8 years working in television production and currently works as a Freelance Assistant Producer & Reporter with RTÉ Sport, Ireland’s national broadcaster.

Michael Coleman | Finland

2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Michael Coleman’s graduation from UCD with a BA in History. Michael retired from a successful academic career at The University of Jyväskylä in Finland in 2010. He is the author of the book “American Indians, the Irish, and Government Schooling: A Comparative Study”. He lives in Finland with his wife Sirkka.

Kristof Molnar-Tatai | Hungary

Kristof Molnar-Tatai arrived as an Erasmus student in autumn 2009. Although he studied Philosophy, he has broken into the tech industry as a coder whilst using his humanities background. You can currently find him at the Hungarian development centre of Oracle.

Anne Harris | France

Anne Harris, née Hennon, was born in Dublin in 1950, educated at Manor House School in Raheny, University College Dublin and Harvard Kennedy School. She worked in a senior position at the European Parliament in Luxembourg for 24 years before returning to Dublin in the late 1990s. She has four sons and four granddaughters who live in Ireland, Luxembourg, the United States and Argentina. She currently lives in France with her husband.

Captain Dick Twomey | Mauritius

Born in Wales to Irish parents, Captain Twomey spent two years in the Royal Air Force before studying Economics at UCD. In this interview, he discusses setting up a small airline in Berlin during the Cold War, challenges facing the aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and why more secondary school students should study STEM subjects.