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Meet the Class of 2022/23!

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Alix McDaid

Endangered Ireland

I am a Marine Biologist and PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast. My research focuses on the effects of microplastics on animal behaviour and physiology. A passion of mine is science communication and outreach, which is why myself and my friend Shannon Plummer founded Endangered Ireland. This platform educates people on the wildlife and ecosystems here in Ireland, the pressures they face, and steps towards prevention and mitigation of pressures. 

I applied for this programme to connect, share and learn from like-minded individuals so that we can lead the way towards a greener, cleaner future for Northern Ireland and beyond.  

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Aoife de Bhal

RSPB

I am a passionate advocate for nature from Belfast. After completing a degree in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, I returned to the North of Ireland to work in the environmental charity sector. I have previously worked for Ulster Wildlife and KNIB, and I am currently the warden for the RSPB’s Belfast Harbour Reserves. A native Irish speaker, I am particularly interested in the way in which language, folklore and stories relate to conservation, and leads bilingual nature events through Dúchas agus Dúlra. As part of the Wild Belfast collective, I am also an advocate for active travel and green cities. 

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Ashleigh Henry

PhD Student

I am a final year PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast in the field of chemical engineering. My project covers the production of green hydrogen from renewable energy sources like wind. I am interested in the analysis of renewable systems and the need for a varied portfolio of energy solutions for an energy transition. This reflects the need for a diverse range of groups and people to come together to solve problems, such as within this program. I hope to meet like-minded people who can share ideas from different disciplines to move towards a better future as Change Makers.

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Callum Carville

Belfast IT

I'm Callum Carville I'm CEO of start up Belfast IT providing digital solutions to clients and developing products in the Neural Health sector. I am also a software engineer at Johnson controls and I work on developing portals for security-based products. I'm currently in education studying Artificial Intelligence as this will be the next wave of smart technology.

I got involved with the programme to network, understand problems in the area and to make individuals aware of how technology is more vital to sustainability that people may think especially in the data processing

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Ciaran Ferrin

Ulster University

I am a planetarian-focused sustainability advocate that is consolidating the global philosophies of the sciences and humanities, through educational outreach on critical information channels, to establish the shared, holistic perspectives in which to approach our increasingly global and nuanced sustainability threats.  

I’ve graduated from Queen’s University in BSc Chemistry w/ Study Abroad and MSc Leadership for Sustainable Development, along with two DegreePlus awards. I’m a support provider at Ulster University, vice-chair of the Belfast Climate Commission’s YWG, Science and Environmental reporter for Queen’s Radio, co-founder of GaiaPrithvi and professionally proficient in Brazilian Portuguese and Latin-American Spanish. I hope to work with all the amazing minds here to bring about representative change that will benefit all aspects of society. 

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Ciara Grogan

Graham Construction

My name is Ciara, I'm 24 years old and I am an environmental advisor at Graham Construction. I've always been passionate about the environment, even when I was a child I was fascinated by everything nature had to offer. I am very privileged to have had the opportunity to pursue a career in a field i am truly passionate about. I graduated with a first class honours in Environmental Science from Trinity College Dublin in 2020. Knowing I wanted to further my knowledge and develop my interest in sustainable development, I applied to complete a MSc. in Leadership for Sustainable Development in Queens University Belfast, from which I graduated with a distinction in 2021. I think that the skills I learnt through both degrees have filled me with confidence to make a difference in my field. During this programme, I am really looking forward to meeting other young leaders in my field, learning from one another and from the world-class speakers during the workshops. I am hopeful that at the end of this workshop we, together, will have acquired a skill set which well help us understand how to develop Northern Ireland, and further afield, in a sustainable manner.

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Dakota Reid

RSPB

My name is Dakota and I'm a conservation officer with RSPB NI. I studied Politics and later an MSc in Ecological Management, both at Queen's University, and I was a long term volunteer with the RSPB and Ulster Wildlife. Outside of my job I am an environmental campaigner and record and photograph birds, insects and marine life. I have applied for the programme because I want to become a more effective advocate for the natural world and connect with other people who are fighting for a more sustainable future locally. I hope to learn about making a difference by working with people from different sectors and develop my leadership skills.

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Emma Denton

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

My name is Emma Denton. I studied Geography at Queen’s University Belfast, where I joined the Belfast Hill’s Partnership as a conservation volunteer. I’m currently working as Biodiversity Officer with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; as part of my job, I conduct outdoor workshops for young people and community groups, facilitate tree-planting projects, create nature-based signage for public parks and advise stakeholders on the best practices to protect biodiversity. I am extremely passionate about environmental education, and alongside my new 30 Under 30 peers, I hope to create new projects, inform policy and organise campaigns to help rewild and promote the natural world.

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Emma McKeever

Greeting Relations

I am an interdisciplinary researcher, writer & artist who specialises in climate change communication that tears down the ideological walls that separate us for the joy of embracing nature. I am a published climate journalist and a proud public amateur in my art and science practice.  I am currently working on developing a series of interdisciplinary workshops that teach people how to perform metagenomics sequencing of our genetic relatives. The aim of these workshops is to create new stories of how we relate to each other in paradigms that exist in a place of deep reverence for the life and death cycles that rule our systems of chaos.

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Erin Galbraith

McCloy Consulting Ltd

I’ve always had a strong attraction to the happenings of the world around us. As such, I completed my BSc (Hons) in Geography before completing my MSc in Environmental Engineering. I now work as a Geo-Environmental Consultant for McCloy Consulting, where I work on a wide variety of projects such as contaminated land risk assessments and remediation, bog remediation/restoration, and hydrogeological assessments. 

 

Outside of this, I conduct seasonal breeding bird surveys as part of the Environmental Farming Scheme with the aim of encouraging environmentally beneficial farming practices across NI; and, volunteer for the Copeland Bird Observatory, where I am involved in ongoing conservation projects. 

 

From 30U30, it gives me an opportunity to meet new people and to learn how we can all utilise more sustainable practices in our daily lives. 

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Gareth McClune

Barclays

My name is Gareth McClune and I work as an Associate Banker for a corporate bank in Belfast. I have the privilege of working with a varied portfolio of customers, spanning multiple different sectors including manufacturing, transport, technology, food services and retail. I am passionate about seeing local business in Northern Ireland flourish, innovate and be competitive on a global stage. My primary desire for the program is to educate myself on the topic of sustainability and bring my learnings into client conversations for the benefit of our customers and wider society.

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Harry Murphy

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

My name is Harry and I currently work in the Local Environmental Quality Department of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, I have a background in Environmental surveying and data collection, and I have completed a BSc in Environmental Management in Queens University. In previous roles, I worked for RPS Belfast on waste compositional analysis and the Living Bog Project where I looked at bog restoration methods this data then formed the basis pf my final year dissertation in 2021. Outside of work, I love Hiking, Camping and generally being outdoors exploring our coastline. I applied for 30U30 to meet likeminded individuals and see how we could explore partnerships and collaboration.

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Jacinta Hamley

Climate Craic

I am an environmental and climate action campaigner. I founded and lead Climate Craic, the group behind Northern Ireland's Climate Festival, held in Stormont in 2021 and Ormeau Park 2022. I also work full time as a  sustainability communicator for environmental data technology company, Vizzuality, and its supply chain management service, LandGriffon.

I have been involved in sustainability for many years. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Leiden University College in Earth, Energy and Sustainability. I then sailed across the Atlantic with 35 others for a climate action project at COP25 (Sail to the COP).  My next venture? Running for Green Party Councillor in the May 2023 elections.

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James Rae

Solv

My name is James Rae, a contracts manager for Solv Group who are a leading mechanical and electrical installation and maintenance company in Northern Ireland. This role mainly deals with the installation of any new heating equipment/ systems into customers’ homes and workplaces. I enrolled on this program to better myself and help keep our company at the forefront of change within our industry and, the renewables sector. I hope to become a sustainability champion with the new knowledge, skills and connections I will gain from this programme, enabling me to provide, relevant and true information to our customers.

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Jordan Birt

Business in the Community

I work as an Environmental Advisor for BITC and manage the Climate Action Programme. Previously I worked as an Environment Officer in the NHS and was responsible for Energy Management and managing Biodiversity Projects and was responsible for Energy Management and managing Biodiversity Projects. I have a BSc in Environmental Management from QUB, attended university in Australia to study Environmental Science and I am currently studying a Masters in Renewable Energy & Energy Management, attended university in Australia to study Environmental Science and I am currently studying a Masters in Renewable Energy & Energy Management.


I believe the programme will be a fantastic opportunity to gain insight from leaders in Northern Ireland and meet other young people across a range of environmental disciplines who are passionate about driving positive change. I hope to further my understanding of key issues that will affect Climate Action and become part of a network of inspiring change-makers that will affect Climate Action and become part of a network of inspiring change-makers.

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Josh Armstrong

RESPONSIBLE

My name is Josh Armstrong and my current role is Lead on D2C business for RESPONSIBLE. RESPONSIBLE is a start-up that is focused on combating the landfill & waste crisis, which currently exists in the fashion industry. With moving into this company from its very early years, it has allowed me to immerse myself in the circular economy and work with some incredibly new innovative companies who are looking to make a positive impact on the world.

I’m really excited to get to know the 30 Under 30 class of 2022 and broaden my own knowledge of everyone's respective industries. 

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Moya Doogan

Environmental Éadaí

Moya is an environmental activist, and works in the costume department for Film, TV & Theatre. She runs @environmentaléadaí, a bilingual account on Instagram, where she documents her attempt at a sustainable lifestyle, charity shop finds and how she tries to make the film industry less wasteful. 

Moya also runs Switch, an eco-conscious clothes swap that raises money for charities around Ireland.

Having been a charity shop fanatic since she can remember, she hasn’t bought herself new clothes since 2019 and tries to bring this mindset to her work as a designer on short films and commercials.

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Orlagh McNeill

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

I am a climate action officer with KNIB and previously worked as a Grassroots-YFCU project officer with Ulster Wildlife. I have experience delivering events, training, and education sessions to various audiences throughout my career to date.  I am passionate about environmental education and have a degree in environmental biology in addition to a PGCE in early primary education. This programme is a great opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together to talk about solutions to the climate crisis and I hope to leave the programme armed with knowledge, skills and contacts to enhance the environmental work I undertake. 

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Rachel Vaughan

Queen's University

I am Rachel and I have a background in sustainability nurtured through my placements within the National Trust and Ulster Wildlife. I have subsequently worked for three years within Queen’s University Environmental Team, gaining experience with implementing programmes, campaigns and initiatives which aimed to drive climate action at both organisational and personal level. I then spent a year with the environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, where I was responsible for implementing a range of environmental accreditation programmes, before moving back to Queen’s University Sustainability Team.

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Ralph Lavery

Catagen

I am a Net Zero Applications Engineer at CATAGEN where my role concerns commercialisation and business model development of our suite of net zero technologies we are designing to further our mission to clean and decarbonise the air. I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Masters in Chemical Engineering and am currently finishing my PhD in decentralised hydrogen generation for industrial and domestic use. My involvement in the 30 under 30 programme will help to develop the relationships and skills needed to propel Northern Ireland into a leading example of how to create sustainable success for everyone in society.

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Rebekah Bajko

Student

My name is Rebekah Bajko and I'm a second-year undergraduate studying marine biology at Queens University Belfast. I am the president of the QUB Marine Biology and Zoology society which is where I want to be able to make an impact using what I learn from this program. I applied to educate myself on what changes I can make at an individual level and also what larger changes I can contribute to regarding the current state of our climate.  I would like to use this information to influence the way we run the society and our attitudes toward climate education to make climate action realistic and feasible for students. 

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Reece England

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

In my current employment I am working with the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Biodiversity Team. This has been a great transition from graduating in 2021 with a geography degree. I have never known my direction for employment, but I have always loved the outdoors and admired the environment around me. I am well aware of the need to take action against climate change to help protect this and am blessed to have received this opportunity. I hope to create many connections and encourage collaboration throughout the country, whilst improving my knowledge on the subject in order to make positive change.  

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Robbie Jamison

East Belfast Enterprise

I'm Robbie! Currently employed as a Senior Business Advisor with East Belfast Enterprise, my role is to plan, manage and deliver a range of services and programmes to support economic development locally. With an academic background in International Business, I have a real interest in how enterprises can not only impact their local economy, but also thrive to become players in the international market. The Climate Crisis is impacting us all and I hope that through my work I can assist both clients and stakeholders to hold sustainability and environmental issues as fundamental drivers in their ventures.

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Ross Blackbourne

Student

I’m Ross Blackbourne, a third-year architecture student at Queen’s University Belfast. Within the context of our global climate emergency, I am researching the scope of re-use architecture in Belfast, seeking to minimise embodied CO2e in the repurposing of the buildings for current-day operational needs. I am currently working on an exciting reuse design project within the QUB campus. I hope that through further education and leadership training within the 30 under 30 programme, I will be able to positively contribute to a cleaner, fairer and resilient Belfast for all.

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Ross Portis

Westland Horticulture LTD/MR

My name is Ross Portis and I have a strong passion within the world of sustainability. Originally stemming from my childhood, being engulfed with nature. This evolved into an interest within geography at school/university, specifically surrounding environmental and behavioural change. This grew into a passion for Sustainable Development. To view change in an interlinking way through the environment, economy, and social values. Currently, I am Trainee Environmental Manager at Westland Horticulture, trying to learn, grow and develop in the field of sustainability. From the 30 under 30, I hope to meet and learn from many new people from different backgrounds.

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Ruairi Brogan

RSPB

I am a policy officer at RSPB NI where I work with farming networks and government to make NI agriculture more sustainable. I recently completed a masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Queen's University Belfast and I am also an organiser with the UKYCC where I work to empower young people to take positive action for climate justice. 

 Joining passionate delegates from such varied backgrounds, I hope to gain a different perspective on the environmental, social and economic problems we face. Inspiring and challenging me to learn new skills and to think differently, making me a more effective change-maker.

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Sarah Walsh

Bread 41

I work for an organic bakery, Bread41, in marketing and business development. I hold an BSc in Food Science and an MSc in Marketing Practice. I am passionate about food, sustainability and removing the barriers that prevent us from transforming the way we produce and consume food.

  My latest project for bread41 has been a Breakfast club support programme, which I co-founded in September of 2022. This initiative is rooted in SDG Goal 2: Zero Hunger and the aim is to provide children living in food poverty with a healthy nutritious breakfast.

  I believe that we can all be leaders, and in fact, it's best when we all are. I would really like the opportunity to up-skill, learn and connect with other change makers who are having a meaningful impact in their community and nationwide

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Sinead Murray

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

My name is Sinead Murray and I work as Environmental Education Coordinator for Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. I am part of the team that delivers the Eco-Schools programme which aims to improve the environmental awareness of pupils in schools across NI. We also deliver the Green Flag environmental award within schools. I am delighted to have been accepted onto the 30 Under 30 programme and I can’t wait to learn from the amazing list of guest speakers and other attendees. I hope to use the knowledge I gain from this programme to inform my future work within Eco-Schools.

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Tom Cowderoy

Ulster University

I am a research associate at Ulster University, examining the use of technology in the agri-food sector and how it can help increase efficiencies, environmental management, and traceability. This has been mainly self-lead and has required stakeholder engagement with participants from farmers to consumers. Studying Leadership for Sustainable Development [MSc at Queen’s University Belfast] and Economic History and Business [Ma Hons at Edinburgh University] I became ever more fascinated about the need for a holistic approach to sustainability. I want to learn about what other sectors are doing, expand my general knowledge, and interact with young leaders in the field.

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Una Barrett

Felix O'Hare

A graduate in City Planning and Design, I have recently begun working with Felix O’Hare & Co. researching carbon reduction strategies in construction to accelerate the sector’s transition to net zero. This research will form the basis for the ‘Roadmap to Net Zero’ which Felix O’Hare & Co. will publish next year and will have a strong focus on embodied carbon reduction. In my current role, my passion for environmental activism and education has been nurtured. The team at Felix O’Hare & Co. encouraged my participation in the programme, recognising the potential of meaningful youth-led cross-sectoral discussions in tackling the climate crisis.