Magherafelt student Kevin Toner has been named Study USA Student of the Year and he hopes to put his knowledge to good use.
The 22-year-old Queen’s University Belfast student spent a year studying business at Hastings College, Nebraska and in the future, hopes to use the experience to set up his own software business.
Kevin, who studies Computer Science, was among 50 students from Northern Ireland to successfully graduate from the programme and was honoured at a graduation ceremony at the Harbour Commissioner’s Office in Belfast recently.
Study USA is managed by the British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy and since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2,000 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States where they have successfully completed a year studying business or business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at one of 140 institutions.
Kevin was named Student of the Year after achieving top academic marks and for an essay highlighting how the experience has helped further his employability. This year’s award - which was sponsored by First Derivatives - saw fellow Queen’s University Belfast students, Kathryn White and Thomas Moore, named runners-up.
Speaking about the award, Kevin said: “During my time on Study USA I tried to say ‘Yes’ to everything - stepping outside my comfort zone and maximising every opportunity that came my way.
“Taking up business has made me a high achiever in a new subject area, and I was able to combine this with sport, leisure and charity activities.
“I have shown adaptability and resilience as well as building team-working, presenting and communication skills, all in a new environment. My year in the US has transformed me into a confident, resilient individual who views the world as a small place full of wonderful diversity and opportunities.”