A new DCU scholarship program for people from disadvantaged backgrounds will “help a lot of people”, according to the DCU Senior Access Officer.
Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Google Lorraine Twohill announced she will sponsor an endowed scholarship to DCU on March 9th.
Twohill earned an Honours degree in International Marketing & Languages from DCU before joining Google in 2003. She has acted as head of global marketing for the tech giant since 2009.
The Carlow native is establishing the scholarship to offer financial support to students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Twohill’s scholarship will be named after her mother, Teresa, who passed away 20 years ago.
Twohill discussed the scholarship as she was presented with a Distinguished Leadership Award at The Ireland Funds Gala Dinner in San Francisco on the 9th of March. Speaking at the event, she reflected on her time in DCU and emphasised the importance of education.
“My parents were both teachers and I have been fortunate enough to have a great education. DCU gave me the confidence and passion for a career that I have loved. I would like to make sure that other girls get the same opportunities,” Twohill said.
The Access Service is “completely reliant” on philanthropic funding for scholarships, according to Senior Access Officer, Cathy McLoughlin.
The DCU Access programme aims to create equality of access to third level education by providing financial and academic support to students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. There are currently 1,300 Access students in DCU. 85 percent of graduates who passed through the Access scheme are now employed in an area directly related to their degree, according to the DCU Access Service.
“When people like Lorraine and companies give money, what it allows us to do is send out a very strong message to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to say that college and third level education is financially viable for them,” McLoughlin said.
The university will use this funding from Twohill to support at least one Access student per year, according to McLoughlin.
“Because of her own employment at Google, I think Lorraine probably has a natural leaning towards the STEM area, so we’ll be really promoting that message about women in STEM, and particularly women who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds going into STEM.”