Karolyn McDonnell

Karolyn McDonnell is a new Student Trainer to the Pool for 2019/20. She has just completed a Masters by Research in Humanities and has now begun PhD research in the Institute of Technology Carlow. With a wealth of experience working on behalf of students, Karolyn tells us a bit more about why she got involved with NStEP!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’ve been a full-time and part-time, self–directed and taught learner and this is my first year working with NStEP. I am interested in working to ensure that all students equally have access to all the opportunities that higher education can offer. I’ve studied Business, Law and Finance, Social and Community Work, have completed a Masters by Research in Humanities in socialCORE in I.T. Carlow and I’ve just started a PhD research study. I’m looking forward to meeting students and class reps, working with them and seeing the impact that this year’s programme has for students across colleges and across the country.  

As NStEP Trainers we are here to support you, to motivate you and to help you work towards making the Higher Education experience the best it can be for all students in your Institution.

You’ve been involved in loads of work that has benefited students across Ireland – tell us more?

I’ve worked as a Student Associate with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and conducted research last year with all students across the country capturing their perspectives on their Higher Education experiences. The results are being published shortly. Students want to be involved in decision-making, they want to be employable, they want to make friends, enjoy their studies and graduate. These are simple expectations that their deserve from the Higher Education experience, but are not always easily achieved. Through NStEP I want to support them towards success in Higher Education by motivating Class Reps to become more engaged in all aspects of college life.

I’m also on the National Student Success Working Group as well as a student representative on the National Digital Advisory Group for Higher Education (loads of exciting things happening soon – watch this space!).

Why did you want to get involved with NStEP and all things student engagement?

I’m passionate about advocacy, fairness, egalitarianism and equal chances and opportunities for all students. Let’s face it – many cohorts of learners are under-represented across many levels in our Institutions. I’m here to redress the balance. I know that everyone’s college experience is different. Higher Education can be a fantastic experience for some, and stressful and overwhelming for others. NStEP encourages all students to get more actively involved in college life. Getting involved and working together, we can enhance every students’ college experience, our involvement in decision making and our progression opportunities. We need to have our voice heard in decisions that directly affect us. We can’t do it without you!  Let’s drive the idea of Student Engagement at every level forward so that we all benefit from an enhanced Higher Education experience.

Student Training Programme 2019

The 2019 Student Training Programme is now open for bookings. Our team of Student Trainers will be criss-crossing the country to train up hundreds of class representatives. To book your institutional training sessions you can find out more here. For queries please contact nstep@usi.ie