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Graduate Interview with Michael Lawlor BEng '88

Mike Lawlor BEng Mechanical Engineering '88Tell us about yourself ...

"I’m originally from Shannon Banks, Co. Clare, just over the Limerick city border so the University of Limerick has always been quite close."
"While an undergraduate at UL, I won a Scholarship to the US where I studied Robotics & Manufacturing Automation at F.I.U., Miami, Florida. I graduated from UL in 1988 with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and took up a position with Digital Equipment Corporation as Robotic Engineer."
"While with DEC, I attended UCD part-time to pursue a Master of Engineering Design and later moved to Motorola BV as Automation Engineer. I also attended the Royal College of Surgeons where I graduated in Medical Sciences."
"I have done my tour of multinationals as I’ve also worked with Intel, Nortel and Boston Scientific. My home is now in Galway as my first job after graduation was with Digital and having enjoyed the lifestyle in the west of Ireland, I decided to base myself there."

"I have now changed career from Electronics to the Medical/Healthcare industry and have most recently worked as a Research Vascular Engineer with University College Hospital in Galway and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick."

"While in college, I played soccer with the UL Club and was selected nine times on the Irish Universities Soccer Team.  I also played with Limerick City and Galway Utd in the League of Ireland and against Roy Keane’s Cobh Ramblers prior to his departure from League of Ireland football to the UK. Today, I support Chelsea FC and am currently the Chairman of the Chelsea FC Supporters Club in Galway - which helps greatly when applying for home match tickets in London!"
Tell us about your current job ...
In hospital gear at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick.
"I recently received a PhD Biomedical Scholarship on Stroke Prevention and so am currently working on that at UL and in the hospitals of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick and the Galway Clinic. The work I do now can be both intensive and also rewarding. It is very engaging as the objective is to determine a method which can predict Stroke occurrence during the angioplasty surgical procedure. The ability to work with very skilled and dedicated surgeons at the hospitals and similar academics at UL makes my current work an excellent experience for which I feel very privileged."
Why did you choose UL originally?
"UL was - and still is - a very progressive and dynamic University.  At the time, it was unique in providing both work experience and formal academic education. Its excellent reputation both from the lecturer and graduate perspective resulted in UL being much admired."
Did the course meet your expectations?
"The course exceeded my expectations. I did my Co-Operative education in the Research & Development department of Verbatim Ltd. which was a great experience. It really brought home how interesting engineering can be and the long hours working (including weekends) on the design and development of new equipment to enhance the manufacturing process was a privilege (and also worthwhile financially!). I continued to work there part-time when I returned to college – although my soccer manager wasn’t too happy to have me missing training due to R&D activities elsewhere!"


Pictured, on the left, with fellow Irish University soccer players prior to game v Wales at UL Who impressed you most?
"I met some great people at UL, both from an academic and sporting viewpoint. Prof. Ken Wylie, who was the head of Mechanical Engineering when I was an engineering undergraduate, was very informative and appreciative of the study-sports involvement."
"I was also impressed with Dave Mahedy, at the time a Staff member of Thomond College, now Director of the excellent Sports Arena at UL. His sporting knowledge from a training and rehabilitation perspective was very helpful."
"Currently, Dr. Michael Walsh and Prof. Tim McGloughlin are a source of excellent help and guidance at UL while undertaking the biomedical PhD."
Recent trip to Hollywood down at the Walk of Fame after a recent biomedical conference in LA.How did your time at UL help you to get to where you are today?
"I must have enjoyed my time here at UL as I am back here again, now taking a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. My time as an undergraduate at UL provided me with both the knowledge to carry out industrial work effectively and also the appetite to undertake the challenges within academia and industry."
How would you sum-up your experience?
"I made great friends at UL that I'll have for life, both within the classroom and also on the sports field. I played with the UL college soccer team and enjoyed the change from academia to sport as it was a welcome and healthy distraction from the significant study required in the Mechanical Engineering degree course."
Pictured with the San Francisco Rose as Escort at Rose of Tralee.
What else have you been up to since graduation ?
"While with Digital, I was selected as the Digital Rose of Tralee escort a couple of times. The Roses were from San Francisco and Brisbane, Australia.  Unfortunately, neither Rose won the event ... my lack of dancing ability may have been the root cause!"
Would you recommend UL?
"Definitely – excellent opportunities exist here currently in R&D while at Postgraduate level the positives I’ve stated earlier for undergrads are still in existence today. The excellent Sports Arena on campus offers a very healthy method of relaxation."  
Any advice for prospective students?
"Going to University can be daunting at first but if the location and course on offer are the preferred choices, UL is more than equipped to make the experience very beneficial."
What unique qualities would you expect a UL graduate to have?

"A UL graduate will have the necessary academic knowledge, excellent work experience and also (within reason), a healthy anatomy from the neighbouring Sports Arena! "

 Pictured with my sister and mother on my graduation day from UCD where I received my Masters of Engineering.
How do you maintain your relationship with UL today ?
"As my PhD is here at UL, my relationship with the campus is very much alive and is one which I hope to maintain into the future. I am also a member of the UL Alumni worldwide graduate commmunity via UniversaL."
Finally, if you were President of UL for a day, what would you do ?
"I would aim to ensure that all students try to achieve a study-and-sporting/exercise balance as the benefits will be seen both physically and academically."


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