Award made to an undergraduate student who has demonstrated significant personal achievement or a substantial contribution to University life.
Michael Jennings will receive the First Trust Bank Convocation Student of the Year Award 2018, in recognition of his commitment to local and university life. Michael has recently completed a five-year Master’s degree in Electronic Engineering, including a one-year placement and a semester in Southern Germany at the Hochschule Augsburg.
During his placement, Michael learned many engineering skills that he has transferred to working life, being awarded the runnerup prize in the Innovation in Placement Awards 2016. After placement, he worked for several fledging start-up companies, including a drone-based Search and Rescue company, eventually leading Michael into volunteering for Skywatch; a charity dedicated to missing person searches.
During his first year in Ulster University, Michael trained to be a Gliding Instructor in Newtownards, leading him to win the RAF Charitable Trust Award for Flying Excellence and racking up over 50 hours flying time. This led to a fascination with aircraft, allowing him to help build a two-seater light aircraft in a youth outreach programme, funded by Boeing. The aircraft, a Sting S4, will debut at the UK’s largest military air show in July 2018. Additionally, Michael is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassador who has volunteered in the Tutoring in Schools programme, helping pupils from Wellington College through their Technology GCSEs and A levels.
Most notably, Michael has helped found the Ulster Society of Student Engineers (USSE) with the assistance of fellow students and staff. This involved more than 180 members and running more than 20 events, including an induction day for 270 students, a formal dinner for 220 people and a ten-week electronics prototyping workshop. For this, the society won a UK-wide award as the Best New Society and runner-up Best Academic & Careers Society in the National Societies Awards 2018. Additionally, the student/staff team won a UUSU Partnership Award for their close working relationship and dedication to student-life.
Currently, Michael is helping to design a radio frequency telescope, mentoring a youth team in the RAF Engineering Competition, representing Ulster University on the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Professionals committee and building the Sting S4 twoseater aircraft in his weekends. Michael has recently published an article in the British Human-Computer Interaction Conference, helping him obtain a job as a Research Associate for Electronics within Ulster University where he hopes to feed into the future successes of the University.