Teenage tearaway turned boxing champ celebrates success

Jamie O’Reilly (23) from St Katherines, Inverurie graduated with a MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering with Distinction from Robert Gordon University on Friday 9 December.

Jamie O'Reilly EngineeringJamie led a troubled teenage life and was expelled from Ellon Academy at 13 after getting into trouble with local police, and finished his secondary education at Inverurie Academy.

Unemployed at 17, Jamie was given the chance to participate in the ‘Get Ready for Work’ Scheme and enrolled at Banff and Buchan College which offered an incentive of £55 per week to attend classes. Jamie then supplemented his existing qualifications by studying for a National Certificate (NC) and HND in Electronics.

Entering the third-year of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering course at Robert Gordon University via the 2+2 degree scheme, Jamie then excelled at his studies and after showing above average results in the first semester, was transferred to the MEng course.

In January 2009, Jamie began boxing training at Insch Amateur Boxing Club and continued to train whilst studying, joining the university boxing club participating in two university boxing tournaments and coming away with the Scottish Universities and British and Irish Universities and Hospitals Light Middleweight Gold Medals. Jamie was awarded a Full Blue from RGU: SPORT for his efforts.

“Boxing provided an outlet for extra energy and focus which brought new discipline to my life, going hand-in-hand with a new mature outlook. My academic performance was not adversely affected by my involvement in sport, in fact, I felt quite at home with university life – something I hadn’t expected!”

The ambitious graduate has not only been collecting accolades in the ring but has also been awarded a number of academic prizes during his studies. Earlier this year, Jamie became class representative and was awarded the NESSCO Prize for the most outstanding student on his course following excellent exam results.

Jamie, who now lives in Glasgow, recently applied for a position as a research student and is now being funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to undertake a Doctor of Engineering (EngD) at the University of Strathclyde.

He adds: “My childhood ambitions to be a doctor and inventor resurfaced during my time at RGU when I realised that there are opportunities in the healthcare technologies industry for those with a degree in an engineering discipline.

“I’m absolutely delighted to graduate and am really pleased to make amends to my mum and family for all the disappointments in my teenage years. The environment for both learning and sport at RGU was very encouraging and helped me push myself to do the best I could. I’m looking forward to my PhD and hope that the research I carry out in science and engineering will one day help people.”



Issued by:

Sarah Grieve

Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University



AB10 1FR

Tel: 01224 262206