Jago Communications Prize Winner Ciara McCabe
We are thrilled to award the Ulster University Jago Communications Prize to Ciara McCabe for attaining the highest mark in the Digital Communication module this year. We are very proud to be backing this prize again this year and to be supporting training and skills development in Digital Media. In what was a very challenging and unexpected year for many, Digital Media skills have proven to be more valuable than ever.
Congratulations to Ciara on her fantastic achievement. She’s kindly shared a few words on what this award means to her…
I was delighted and stunned to receive the Jago Communications Prize this year, having looked up to the students of previous years who have also received this honour. Despite a challenging year, I am so appreciative to have been able to continue learning in the happy and supportive environment provided by my lecturers. To celebrate the end of the year receiving this award has overwhelmed me with joy and I am grateful to Jago Communications for this opportunity.
What first attracted me to the Communications, Advertising and Marketing course at Ulster University was how diverse the content was. As an 18-year-old I had no idea what career path I wanted to go down and the CAM course seemed to provide a great balance in the range of skills it offered. Having never studied anything business-related before, everything was new to me. On top of this, I am dyslexic, so I was nervous to embark on a course that involved a heavy focus on communication, meaning spelling, grammar and reading were all massive parts of the course. However, I never felt disadvantaged, with careful guidance and support from lecturers, as well as from my classmates, I soon found myself flying through the course. From the creative elements in graphic design to the problem-solving skills I developed in advertising, I loved every module of the course for different reasons.
This past year I have grown a love for the modules ‘Digital Communication’ and ‘Principles of Marketing’. We were tasked with real-life scenarios, such as creating a marketing strategy for a local vintage clothing brand and developing creative communication executions for a fizzy drink brand. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to come up with my own ideas and the opportunity to work with a real company. This invaluable experience taught me so much about how the communications industry works and allowed me to discover my own strengths.
During lockdown, I was also able to start my own online business, selling my paintings. This allowed me to put to practice, the skills I’d learnt in my communication and marketing modules, such as creating a strong social media presence and the intricacies of email marketing.
Although I knew the course would provide me with a well-rounded skillset and arm me with plenty of new knowledge going into my placement year, what I didn’t expect was how many amazing friendships and memories I would make throughput the first two years. Despite the obstacles we faced in first and second year, with the pandemic, I have made many friendships in this course that I know will last me throughout my life. Our lecturers made every online lesson a joy to be a part of and made it feel as though we were in the same room. This is something I’m very grateful for, as although this year was different in many ways, I know that my education has not been hindered.
Going into my placement year, I feel equipped with experience and knowledge that I have already been able to exhibit. Through CAM I have learnt so much more than just the information in the textbooks, I have grown as a person with the help of new friends and lecturers and I have established a true passion for communication. I am excited for everything I will learn throughout my placement and final year of university, confident in the knowledge that I will emerge successful and with plenty of happy memories.