A Derry man has won an international award for being one of the brightest and most innovative students in the world.
Twenty-eight year-old, Maran Lowry, from the Strand Road area of Derry won the award in the Life Sciences Category for his paper entitled ‘Assessing the Escapement Success of Migrating European Silver Eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) from Lough Neagh Using Acoustic Telemetry to Corroborate a Traditional Mark/Recapture Method’.
Maran is a student at Queen’s University Belfast and his entry was amongst 5000 from over 200 universities right across the globe.
Maran’s father is Gerry Lowry who owns Maiden City Butchers in Waterloo Place and his mother is Eunice Lowry.
Speaking to the Journal from a remote Malaysian island, Maran recalled the moment he heard he had won and said much of what he has achieved would not be possible had it not been for the support of his parents.
As a youngster, Maran attended St. Canice’s Primary School in Dungiven before moving on to Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana.
“To be honest, I had no interest in school as an adolescent and dropped out prematurely with next to no qualifications.
“I returned to education as a mature student in 2009 doing the Access Diploma in Science at North West Regional College in Derry and began my degree at Queen’s University Belfast in 2010, graduating in 2013 with first class honours in Marine Biology.
“Upon graduating, I worked with the Biology team at the Loughs Agency in Derry over the summer before heading to New Zealand.”
Maran found out that he had been shortlisted for an undergraduate award last month but said he was bowled over when he recieved a phone call to tell him that his paper had won the top award in its category.
“I found out I had been highly commended for my paper (and therefore shortlisted for the award) earlier this month,” said Maran.
“That in itself had me really pleased. I had actually forgot that I even submitted my work. But when I found out a few weeks ago (September 22), having just arrived at a beach resort in Southern Cambodia, I was buzzing and had to celebrate!
“It’s always great when hard work pays off... especially so unexpectedly almost 18 months after completing the work. I definitely wasn’t expecting it. Wasn’t expecting to have to cut my travelling short and return home early. So it was a big shock.”
Maran will travel back to Derry in the coming weeks in time for the The Undergraduate Awards Global Summit, which is taking place in Dublin, from November 19-21.
“After I graduated in July 2013 and began working over the summer with the Biology team at the Loughs Agency, I then went to New Zealand and worked in Freshwater Ecology there with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) for a while.
“Then I went backpacking around New Zealand and settled here and there, doing whatever work I could get my hands on.
“I then came to Southeast Asia in August and had planned to return home for in December, but those plans have now changed so that I can attend the three day Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in November, and have to attend a PhD interview in England this month.
“So that’s the path I may head in - a PhD in some area of Fish Biology/Ecology. Although I’ll seek out all opportunities when I get home, so who knows what the future holds. I’m open to all sorts of possibilities, but definitely want to work in the outdoors,” said Maran.
Five other Queen’s University Belfast students from across the North of Ireland have also won awards.
David Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “I would like to congratulate all of our students on their success at this year’s Undergraduate Awards. We, at Queen’s pride ourselves on the world-leading education on offer here and the success of our students in these prestigious and internationally competitive awards is testimony to that.
“A degree at Queen’s is about much more than an education, it is about the student experience and being afforded a lifetime or opportunity.”