Professor Maire O’Neill from Glenties, has enjoyed a trailblazing career in the world of digital security.
Now she has beEn nominated to enter the Semta Engineering Hall of Fame.
She is the youngest ever engineering professor at Queen’s University Belfast and also the youngest to be elected a fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering.
The 36-year-old, who juggles a busy career with caring for her two children, works at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s.
Maire is one of five people shortlisted for the Semta Hall of Fame award which celebrates the most inspiring and innovative UK engineers.
Respected as one of Europe’s leading digital security experts, she previously won British Female Inventor of the Year for work on high speed data security.
Her research involves designing novel security solutions for communications applications such as email, cloud, set-top boxes and mobile technologies.
As Maire explained, there is a long tradition of women in engineering but they are still very much under-represented in the profession.
“I try to get involved in events to promote engineering at secondary school level.” she said.
“I was part of an initiative called Scientific Women Academic Network. Queen’s has been awarded a silver medal in the Swan charter about how we go about promoting women in research and academia. I led the team that won that award for our engineering department in Queen’s.
“We are proud of that and are trying to address the lack of women in our discipline and how we can go about increasing representation.”
On her Semta Hall of Fame nomination, Maire added: “I am pretty proud I am alongside the shortlistees. I noticed James Dyson was previously shortlisted. I am in good company – I feel it is quite an honour.”