Valerie O’Brien from Waterford is one of two students from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to have been chosen from hundreds to represent Ireland in Washington DC this summer, as part of the prestigious Washington Ireland Program (WIP).
Following a rigorous and extensive selection process, Valerie, an international business student at the Institute, and Meadhbh Roche, a health promotion student from Foulksmills in Wexford, were chosen as part of a 30 strong group of exceptional emerging leaders from 13 different universities and institutions across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Speaking about the quality of the WIT representatives, Bryan Patten, Executive Director of WIP said, "I have consistently been impressed by the high calibre of students from WIT. Within the Washington Ireland Program, we seek each year to identify some of the most talented students on the island. The WIT students we have worked with have been exceptional, excelling in a challenging environment in Washington and NYC. I continue to be impressed by their drive, focus and ability to build networks."
WIP is a cross-community and cross border organisation that identifies promising young people with a commitment to service, a track record of leadership and who excel both in influencing their environments and in making significant contributions for the benefit of others. WIP builds their skills through work experience, educational opportunity and hands on citizenship both at home and in the US.
Valerie is over the moon to have been selected for this year’s WIP class, saying “When I first heard about the programme, I knew I really wanted to be a part of it. As an international business student, the chance to immerse myself in an environment with 29 incredibly talented young people from a wide array of backgrounds, as well as living and working in Washington DC, was an opportunity I could not resist. This summer I hope to improve my leadership, communication and interpersonal skills but also learn from my classmates’ different perspectives and hopefully return home equipped with the skills and knowledge to make an impact on the world.
“It is a huge credit to WIT that the Institute has been so well represented on this programme over the last number of years,” she concludes. “As one of the few Institute of technology students selected on the programme, I realise that WIT are undoubtedly well capable of holding their own among other universities.”
Valerie is currently a second year International Business student at the Institute. She attended the Presentation Secondary School where she actively took part in Mental Health Ireland public speaking competitions, ran ‘Challenge to Change’ workshops and was a member of the school’s debating team. Valerie was elected chairperson of the student council and was a prefect, sports captain and deputy head girl of the school.
Valerie is currently involved in the development of camogie in her area, she is a member of Roanmore camogie club where she coaches and runs camps for younger players and is a member of a PRO committee, promoting camogie in Waterford. Valerie has represented her school, club, college and county at basketball and camogie, winning several championships and All-Ireland titles.
After the completion of the Washington semester, the graduates will go on to become part of the active WIP alumni network who are working to make a positive difference in their communities.
WIT offers a wide range of Business Courses so why not check them out.