Lucinda Mulholland from Carryduff, has today graduated with a first class honours in Product and Furniture Design. At the age of one and a half, Lucinda was diagnosed as profoundly deaf and had cochlear implant surgery that she credits as truly life changing.
"My cochlear implant has given me the confidence to be more social and grab opportunities with both hands. Without this ground-breaking technology, I would not be the person I am today. It really sparked my interest in design from a young age and how it can be used to improve people's quality of life.
"When my parents discovered that I was profoundly deaf, like any parents, they were worried about my future but I have never let it hold me back.
"On my first day of university naturally I felt nervous, but at Ulster University I got support to overcome any barriers including a note taker for lectures and seminars. My lecturers and classmates were also really supportive and had great deaf awareness, which made the university experience much easier for me."
During her third year of study, Lucinda got the opportunity to take part in a one-year work experience placement with James Leckey Design, a global leader in the development of equipment for children with postural needs.
"For my placement year, I was lucky enough to secure a design engineer position with James Leckey Design. It was a really important milestone for me and gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the working world and discover ways to overcome challenges such as communication with clients.
"I got the opportunity to work on Leckey's Firefly Scoot Seat project which is designed to help children with mobility problems get about with minimum effort. I was involved in the whole process, right through from concept design to production.
"As someone whose life has been transformed by technology, my favourite part of the experience was the clinical trials when I got to see how children interacted with the prototype. The smiles on their faces said it all. It was a real sense of achievement to be part of a team that is touching the lives of so many children worldwide.
"The product has won the international Red Dot Design Award, which is an amazing achievement. It's always been a dream of mine to receive this award and I never thought I would get it so soon or even before I graduated!
"In the future I want to travel world to gather design inspiration from different countries and cultures. Ultimately the dream is to purse a career in product design. You never know, you might even see me on Dragon's Den someday."