By JACKIE KEOGH
A SKIBBEREEN student who has secured a place on a prestigious postgraduate course at King’s College London is trying to raise the €13,626 shortfall she needs for her final year in college.
Amy Capener (27) is the first person in her family to be educated past junior cert level and has completed her undergraduate degree in Sports Science at Oxford Brookes University, achieving First Class with honours.
She is now one of just 12 people to have been offered a place on the unique MSc Space Physiology and Health at King’s College London, which starts in September.
Speaking after returning home for a well-earned holiday, Amy said: ‘The estimated cost of my postgraduate year in London would be £32,426 – a figure based on tuition fees, course supplies, rent, transport, and living expenses.’
Amy confirmed that she is eligible for a partial postgraduate loan, and that she has also applied for both an external and internal scholarship to help cover costs – the outcome of which will be known later this month.
However, Amy is facing a £13,626 shortfall, even if she factors in the money she can realistically earn during the year.
Amy originally moved from the UK to Clonakilty in 1997, with her mother and two brothers, but they relocated to Skibbereen in 2007 and that’s where Amy calls ‘home.’
She said she is the first person in her family to receive an education beyond junior certificate level. ‘Attending university was not always something I thought I would be able to do as a young woman from a single-parent family with low economic status.
‘When I began studying it was initially on the BSc nutrition course. After two years, I had fallen in love with the sport science side of things so I switched onto that course.
‘I developed a keen interest in extreme environment physiology, such as high altitude environments like diving. That’s how I came across research physiology in space. It grabbed my attention and I’ve been fully engaged with building a career in this industry ever since.’
Amy said access to education has not just transformed her intellectually but personally too. ‘I’ve been given opportunities that I would never have experienced otherwise, such as travelling Europe.
‘It has taught me to be more assertive, self-confident, and surprisingly, not to get too stressed out about things. Having this level of education makes me feel as though I have the power to change my family’s future for the better.’
Amy has also secured a full scholarship from the UK and European space agencies to study at the International Space University during the summer months. She has described her fundraising efforts as ‘a slow and painful process. The crowdfunding is the last push as it were.’
She said she knows there are much worthier causes but feels: ‘I have to know that I have given my all to this once in a lifetime opportunity.’
So far, she has raised £635 but is hoping that if she can reach enough people who will donate £5 it will soon add up. If you would like to support Amy’s endeavours go to her crowdfunding page and follow the links: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/space-inspires.