Leah Mc Morrow


Leah Mc Morrow

Graduate of the BEng (Hons) Mechatronics

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choosing your course:

I chose Mechatronics as it is a broad subject which covers many disciplines of engineering. Working in the Medical Device industry requires a Level 8 Degree to secure a permanent role in Engineering. I have a few years’ experience in industry, and I’ve seen that a broad understanding of the engineering disciplines (Mechanical, Electrical & Computer Science) is very favorable to many employers. It lets you see the “bigger picture” of a given product or process. I like to work on different projects and not be tied to one thing specifically. 

What specifically about the course did you particularly enjoy?

The online nature for me was key as it suited my life. I enjoyed the lectures, and I was able to tie in what I was learning from the course to my job. 

What is the best thing about the course that you think new applicants should know?

For online applicants who are working full time, it is a big commitment. However, there is plenty of Continuous Assessment which takes the burden away from exam time, especially when you’re working. There are plenty of resources and forums where you can ask questions. The lecturers in general, are very responsive to any queries and there is an understanding that people have commitments outside of college.

Any favourite modules during your time studying?

I really enjoyed my final year project as I was able to tie it in to the industry I worked in. You have a lot of freedom to direct your own research and build. It opened many doors for me & I had the opportunity to present it at Sligo’s Engineering Expo & University Limerick’s All Ireland Conference of Undergraduate Research. 

Industrial Networks was very enjoyable and a key aspect in industry. I enjoyed the labs for this subject.

I enjoyed Power Electronics as I could see relevance to what I do day-to-day in my job. It was nice to see the electrical theory behind what I work with. 

What key skills did you learn while studying in ATU Sligo that have influenced your career?

Academic Writing. When doing assignments & a thesis you have to use clear academic language. I was not great at referencing before I did the course and now, I am much better at it. This is very relevant to work in the R&D sector. 

Can you share some detail of your career path or further studies to date

I started off as a production operator in the automotive industry. When I spoke to both technicians & engineers, I was recommended to try ATU Sligo (IT Sligo back then!). I did all my time in Sligo online. I started off with the L6 Certificate in Automation & Instrumentation. I got promoted to engineering, and then I completed my L7 BEng Mechatronics. I continued to work in the automotive industry for a few years. 

I then wanted to go into Medical Devices as there are a vast amount of those companies in the West of Ireland. I was self employed for some time, contracting with Medtronic. I then went back and completed my L8 in Mechatronics and am currently a permanent employee in Medtronic. 

It has been no easy road studying part time while working full time, however I am delighted I did it. My career is in a great place.

What does your current role involve?

I work in R&D Sustaining. This involves maintaining the product life cycle of Medical Devices, Ventilators specifically. Electronic Components have a certain market life, and they go obsolete. I qualify alternative parts by analysing their datasheets & conduct testing to qualify alternatives. 
I also do full product testing, which involves EMC (Electro Magnetic Compatibility) & Environmental testing. Environmental testing can involve temperature & Humidity Testing and Shock & Vibration testing. 

Often there are investigations that I am pulled into which require problem solving. 

Every day is different, standards are constantly changing, and I truly enjoy my job. 

What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field?

Speak to as many people in industry as you can, the industry is broad and there are many paths you can go down. I would attend the career fair days as companies give out a lot of good information about their internships or graduate positions. ATU has links with many companies, including some that I have worked with in the past & present. LinkedIn is also a very valuable tool. 

Engineering has so many sub fields and there are lots of roles out there, each different from each other. Do something that you enjoy. 

What did you like best about studying in ATU Sligo?

The flexibility of the online courses. It was ideal for me to study part time while working full time. 

What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo?

Keep on top of the continuous assessments. Not only is it an easier road to get a good grade, it reinforces what you are learning every week. The academic semesters fly by and before you know it, you’ll have the degree you want. 

Learn more about BEng (Hons) Mechatronics