Ciara Finan did not always know that she wanted to be an engineer. But she loved mathematics, problem-solving and coding – “the idea that you could create a program that would do stuff for you!” – and so decided to study engineering at NUI Galway.

"Even the architecture of the engineering building itself is designed to get you thinking."

“NUI Galway is a great place for developing your skills, and especially your mindset."

She hasn’t looked back. Finan has just finished her final year in Electronic and Computer Engineering, and in September will take up a job as a software engineer.

“I feel confident now that I can go and start that job, and I’m not going to be too hesitant, because I’ve got this good foundation.”

 

The impressive engineering building at NUI Galway


 

Designing the 'Geec'

 

Finan got the chance to work on some hands-on projects from her earliest days at NUI Galway. But her final-year project stands out most of all.

Finan was involved in ‘the Geec’ (Galway energy-efficient Car), an eco-car designed and constructed by NUI Galway students, from a range of engineering disciplines.

"It is the most energy-efficient car ever built in Ireland."

Dr Nathan Quinlan, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway, has commented on the project: “Students have to turn their textbook knowledge into a tangible high-performance machine. It’s tough – sometimes the design doesn’t work the first time, and then it’s back to the drawing board or the computer.”

 

On the world stage

 

Every year since 2015, a version of the Geec has competed in Shell Eco-marathon Europe, a race where the winner is the car that completes a 16km circuit using the least amount of energy.

In 2017, Finan was the data acquisition leader on the project. “I had sensors across the car; I had to organise them and calibrate them, then take their data and process it."

"I made an app to display the data to the driver.”

In May in London, the Geec 3.0 finished 13th out of 41 competitors in the prototype battery-electric class.

“We nearly doubled our score from last year!” says Finan

Quinlan comments: “What they proved in London was that young engineers from Galway really can be world-class.”

 

The Galway energy-efficient Car 'Geec', designed and constructed by NUI Galway students


 

Women at NUI Galway

Finan says she would “absolutely” recommend studying engineering to young women.

NUI Galway has a long tradition of training female graduates, who have gone on to be very successful in their engineering careers. The new engineering building is named in recognition of Alice Perry, the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn an engineering degree. The Maire Brazil scholarship is awarded to the highest achieving female student in Civil Engineering. “You’re learning to understand problems, to fix problems and create things. With engineering, you can’t go wrong – because there are so many applications.”

 

Learn more:

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway provides professionally accredited education across a portfolio of undergraduate degrees. Students can choose from Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering. We are committed to delivering top quality teaching for our students. Our world-leading researchers are innovators in engineering and computing, and drive teaching forward. The new Alice Perry Engineering building is a world-class teaching and research facility, specifically designed to be an Engineering teaching tool in itself. NUI Galway Engineering graduates are highly regarded by employers and find employment soon after completing their programmes.