First Trinity Access Programme Student Receives Doctorate

Posted on: 11 September 2008

The Trinity Access Programme (TAP) has seen the first of its students achieved a Doctorate degree.  Patricia Stapleton was conferred with her Ph D in July 2008, ten years after first starting in Trinity as mature access student.

Having left school at age 15, Patricia worked in various administrative and sales positions until she started a family. She decided to return to work when her youngest was three years old and after completing a ‘Back to Education’ computer course Patricia attended the Trinity Access Programme open day in March 1998. Patricia started the TAP Foundation course for mature students the following October studying philosophy, sociology and history, maths, study skills, educational and personal development.

“The TAP staff were fantastic,” says Patricia “They were always there to listen, advise and encourage us. College was particularly difficult financially but TAP helped out as much as they could supplying a small stipend each month during my undergraduate years.”

After completing the TAP Foundation course, Patricia applied through the CAO to study History at Trinity as an access student and secured a place in October 1999. Patricia graduated ninth in her class overall and first in her year for her dissertation. Encouraged by this, she enrolled to do an integrated M.Litt/PhD in History in September 2003 and wrote her doctoral thesis titled The merchant community of Dublin in the early seventeenth century: a social, economic and political history over the next five years.

On 11 July last Patricia was awarded her doctorate from Trinity College . She is now working in the School of Histories and Humanities in Trinity as extramural officer and is also the administrative co-ordinator of the Semester Start Up Programme. She hopes to write some articles for publication and eventually convert her doctorate thesis into a book.

  “Nine years ago I never in imagined that I would get a degree, a Ph.D, and end up working at Trinity College.” said Patricia, “Without TAP, I would never have developed the skills and, more importantly, the confidence to apply for a place in College in the first place. I can quite honestly say that without TAP I would simply not be where I am today.”

The Trinity Access Programmes are part of Trinity College ‘s contribution to tackling social exclusion, through a range of innovative, targeted initiatives for individuals who, for socio-economic reasons, have not yet realised their full educational potential. TAP’s mission is to work in partnership across the education sector and with families, communities and businesses to widen access to third level by addressing the reasons contributing to the under-representation of lower socio-economic groups and ethnic minorities at third level.