GMIT Mayo campus student, June Devaney from Ballina, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the area of social studies and social justice.
June will shortly commence her second year on the BA in Applied Social Studies degree programme in GMIT Mayo, has been awarded ‘Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award’ from Junior Chamber Ireland (Mayo) and JCI (Ireland) for her contribution to human rights in the Mayo region.
She is particularly recognised for her work on the ‘Mayo Youth Mental Health Initiative’ which is aimed at raising awareness and building wider knowledge around mental health and the effects of stigma and suicide.
June promoted this initiative through talks in schools, colleges, and conferences and through workshop and awareness campaigns during her first year of studies in the Castlebar campus.
The Social Studies student is also a peer educator for the ‘Real Deal’ – HSE Crisis Pregnancy Agency and a member of the Mayo Mental Health initiative. She was recently elected to the 2013 Council of the US Embassy in Ireland.
June chose the Applied Social Studies programme because she wanted to further develop her knowledge and skills in the area of social studies and social justice.
“I’m a young single mother who has seen and experienced the effects of inequality, discrimination, and marginalization first hand. It has sparked a curiosity in me as to why and how such inequality and injustice occur in the first place and has driven a passion within me to understand and highlight such issues on a bigger scale and work to develop proactive support systems for vulnerable groups and individuals in society.
“My experience of the degree programme, so far, is phenomenal.
“I thought I was going in to simply become ‘qualified’ in the social care area. But from September to May, I’ve gained so much more than academic achievements. I have learned more about humanity, social systems and about myself than I could have possibly imagined and that’s only in the first year.”
“The campus environment and staffs’ helpfulness make it all the more enjoyable for me. I plan to complete all four years and continue on to complete an MA in human rights law or something similar,” June adds.
Dr Mark Garavan, Programme Chair, says: “June Devaney exemplifies the very best of compassionate activism by having taken action on an issue much talked about today but still little understood. She also shows us once again the extent to which our students bring their own life experience and accomplishments with them which greatly enhance the learning environment on our programmes”.
The BA in Applied Social Studies programme in GMIT’s Mayo campus is a three-year ab inito degree. Students have the option of progressing to the Level 8 honours degree after completion of the third year.
The programme is grounded in a philosophy of social care that is person-centred, developmental and facilitative rather than in a medical dependency or deficit model.