Katie Laverty was so inspired by her university work placement that she decided the organisation with which she had spent one year, would be the subject of her final year dissertation.
The Portadown girl today graduates with a BSc Hons Communication, Advertising and Marketing degree and continues to work on a voluntary basis with Fields of Life, a non-profit organisation bringing education and clean water to communities across East Africa.
Says Katie: “Fields of Life have their Northern Ireland office just outside Portadown. I was very keen to do my placement with them because I knew I would be able to get commercial experience to help me in my degree and future work, while also changing lives in East Africa.
“I was also given the opportunity to travel to Uganda for a week to meet the staff in Kampala and witness first-hand the work that Fields of Life do. This was a life-changing trip and I am extremely grateful to Fields of Life for enabling me to do this.”
“Throughout my placement I developed a real passion for charity work and as a result I decided to base my dissertation around that.
“My dissertation explored the concept of branding within non-profit organisations and aimed to discover whether branding impacted motivations to support particular charities.
“I have really enjoyed the CAM (communication, advertising and marketing) course. I found the lecturers were very enthusiastic and always willing to help in whatever way they could, making the topics interesting and engaging.
“The course was particularly appealing as I was able to study communication, advertising, marketing and PR and therefore I have gained a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge.It has been a great four years building self-awareness and confidence which will remain with mein the future.”
CAM Course Director, Dr Aodheen O’Donnell adds: “Katie has been an excellent student throughout her course and has achieved a first class honours degree.
“She also came first in her final year Advanced Advertising module and is the recipient of the ASG Advertising Award.
“Katie was the first placement student taken on by the organisation. Her work was such a success that another University of Ulster student was recruited the following year.
“Fields of Life received a University of Ulster Placement Employer of The Year Award, in May.”