Friday 15 November 2019

Rose whose sister died in balcony fall to begin UCD physics doctorate

Amanda Donohoe was San Francisco Rose in 2017
Amanda Donohoe was San Francisco Rose in 2017

A former Rose of Tralee contestant who lost her sister and cousin in the Berkeley balcony collapse four years ago is to study for a doctorate in physics at University College Dublin.

Amanda Donohoe, who recently graduated with a degree in physics in the US, lost sister Ashley and cousin Olivia Burke in the collapse on June 16, 2015.

The 22-year-old - the San Francisco Rose in 2017 - has been accepted on to a doctoral programme at UCD.

Amanda's sister and cousin died when the fourth-floor balcony of a rented apartment gave way in the early hours of a 21st birthday party being held for friend Aoife Beary, who was seriously injured in the fall.

The collapse claimed the lives of six medical students. The other four to die were Eimear Walsh, Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster and Eoghan Culligan.

On her Facebook page, Amanda revealed: "This summer has brought a plethora of changes, the two most prevalent being my graduation from the University of Nevada, Reno, with my Bachelor of Science in physics, as well as my acceptance into a doctoral programme at University College Dublin, where I will be studying central exclusive physics."


She will be accompanied by her boyfriend Andrew, who will be studying at UCD to follow his goal of becoming a brain surgeon.

Amanda added: "I also get to take my best friend and boyfriend with me as he pursues his dreams of becoming a brain surgeon in the University College Dublin medical programme.

"A huge thank you to my parents as they have helped shape me into the woman I am today and to all my family and friends who have made my first 22 years of life in the States unforgettable.

"Please reach out if you would like to get my new Irish phone number when I'm settled in. Let's bring on the next adventure!"

Ashley and Olivia, who died in the Berkeley balcony tragedy
Ashley and Olivia, who died in the Berkeley balcony tragedy

Scores of friends reacted on Facebook, with one saying: "Well done. Off to a new adventure. I know you have a wonderful future ahead of you."

Another said: "Congratulations. You are an amazing, beautiful young lady. Good luck with this giant step you are about to embark on."

Her mother Jackie Cronin Donohoe added: "It's hard to believe you have already graduated. It seems like yesterday you were graduating high school."

Ms Cronin Donohoe, originally from Dublin, successfully petitioned for changes in balcony construction after the deaths in Berkeley, California.

She told legislators: "My life was changed forever when I lost my daughter, Ashley, and my niece, Olivia."

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