Naughton Scholars

Naughton Family Foundation Scholars' Retreat

Since 2008, the Naughton Family Foundation has awarded scholarships to Irish students across all 32 counties to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Irish universities. The scholarship is intended as a reward and encouragement to exceptional students who would like to study in the STEM field at University.

To celebrate these scholars, encourage their professional development and build community, the Naughton Family hosts a yearly retreat weekend in the exceptional surroundings of the University of Notre Dame’s Global Centre at Kylemore Abbey. Here, students take part in adventure and team-building activities, enjoy in-house entertainment and learn from prestigious and inspiring speakers, who are counted among the best people in sports, business, psychology and academia.

The Naughton family has close ties to the University of Notre Dame on both sides of the Atlantic. They offer the Naughton fellowship which encourages Irish students and students from the University of Notre Dame to take part in research projects in a transatlantic exchange of talent and academic excellence.

 Kylemore Grounds

2023 Speakers

This year, speakers include Alan Kerins, Eddie Murphy and Josephine C. Sepeku

Alan Kerins

Inner Winner Institute


Alan Kerins is an elite multi-code athlete, humanitarian, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. He founded The Alan Kerins Projects in 2005 where he raised over 5 million euro directly and several more million indirectly for many vital and life saving projects and programmes for communities all over the World.

Alan has received many awards & acknowledgments for his tireless work for those less fortunate in Africa, Asia & Haiti. The Alan Kerins Projects recently partnered with Gorta Self Help Africa.

As well as these charitable activities, Alan is also performance consultant, executive coach, public speaker & Trinity College graduate in physiotherapy resulting in wealth of experience in academic, business and sporting fronts.

In addition to being a Chartered Physiotherapist, Alan holds a diploma in Child and Family Support and has collaborated with UNESCO on several global development initiatives. He was acknowledged for his great work by receiving an ESB Rehab People of the Year Award and a Galway Person of the Year Award in 2006 while he was also awarded Ireland’s one most outstanding young people.

Alan has the distinction of winning both All-Ireland football and hurling medals for both his County and Club - a feat rarely achieved. He is also a keen musician and can play several musical instruments.

Alan has used his broad range of experience and professional expertise to design, develop and lead the Inner Winner Institute, which offers hugely popular and successful elite leadership, personal and professional development courses in USA, Africa, India and Ireland. Companies such as Aer Lingus, HP, Medtronic, Veolia, Vodafone, INM, Salesforce, Zurich, University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, National University of Galway, UNESCO have engaged with many of Alan’s programmes.

Eddie Murphy

RTE Operation Transformation

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Dr. Eddie Murphy is the psychologist on RTE’s Operation Transformation where his practical, respectful and hope orientated approach using cutting edge psychological research – CBT, Mindfulness, Solution Focused therapy, to help you become your real self. An engaging, dynamic and entertaining public speaker, he has given many seminars and training events on mental health, wellness to the general public, schools, professionals, organisations and companies.

Dr. Eddie is a clinical psychologist, mental health expert, author, teacher, & life coach committed to promoting enduring change using cutting edge psychological research to help you become your real self. He completed a Masters in Health Psychology in City University London, his Doctorate of Psychological Science in Clinical Psychology in University College Dublin (1997–2000) and the MBA at UCD Smurfit School of Business in 2009. He is a lecturer, supervisor, researcher and author of professional publications.


Josephine C. Sepeku

Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi)

Josephine Sepeku

Josephine is currently working at Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi) as the project manager for Future Stem Business Leader, a program funded by the United Kingdom’s Institute of Physics (IOP). Ambassador of the SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) initiative in Tanzania, she coordinates its annual training program and African Code Challenge (ACC) programming competition. Still as part of SAP Africa Code Week, the Camden Education Trust in Galway has appointed her Regional Manager of the Women Empowerment Program (WEP) for all of East Africa.

A former intern with NUIG's Global Women's Studies, Josephine is also a member of Women Action Towards Entrepreneurship Development (WATED) and Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA). Josephine has been actively volunteering in WATED as a lead youth and girls connection officer, especially in activities involving women and children rights. Some of her notable work includes volunteering in awareness campaigns aimed towards women’s land rights in rural Tanzania.

During her time at DTBi, she cooperated with representatives from DHL and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to initiate the program Drone X. The project aimed to use drones to deliver medicine and blood samples from Mwanza (Bugando Hospital & local medical department stores) to the remote Ukerewe Islands in Tanzania.

Josephine holds an MA in Gender Rights and Globalisation from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG, 2019) and an LLB in Integrated Law and Sharia from the University of Zanzibar (2016).

Past Speakers

Diogo Bolster

University of Notre Dame

After completing an undergraduate degree at UCD back home in Ireland, Bolster worked as a CFD Engineer and Project Manager for a year before deciding to move to the States and completed a PhD in Environmental Fluid Dynamics at UC San Diego. Since August 2010, Bolster has been working in the US as a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Gerry Duffy

Gerry Duffy Academy

Gerry Duffy runs a public speaking and training business and has given over 2,000 presentations and workshops, sharing ideas and strategies with companies like De Puy, Microsoft, Workday, Facebook, Salesforce, Oakley, United Drug, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi and many, many more.

Jim Warny

Cave Diver & Motivational Speaker

Jim was one of the main players involved in rescuing the boys’ soccer team who got trapped in a 4km cave system in Thailand in July 2018. Jim also had the responsibility of extracting the team coach out through the complex underwater cave system. He has participated in the making of a feature film depicting the epic rescue due to be released in 2019. Jim also holds the record for completing the longest traverse of water-filled underground cave in Ireland.

Paul Slaggert

Paul Slaggert served as Director of Executive Education at the Stayer Center for Executive Education from 2015-2019. He leads training sessions for corporate clients on the topics of leadership, paradigm shifts, delegation and empowerment, systems thinking, and financial literacy. He also has designed a unique learning tool to facilitate the understanding of accounting and finance at all levels of a company.

Melvin Dowdy

Dr. Melvin Dowdy serves as program faculty for Executive Education in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Dowdy joined Executive Education’s faculty in 2009 and is an experienced leadership development specialist whose consulting career spans more than 30 years. Dr. Dowdy was awarded the Mendoza College of Business, Executive Education Inspiring Educator Award for 2011.

Bernard Kirk

Bernard is a former primary school teacher and is currently director of Galway Education Centre, the Department of Education & Skills funded provider of CPD for teachers. Bernard co founded Africa Code Week, which is the largest digital literacy initiative in Africa. Bernard is also co founder and a member of the Global Steering Group of Refugee Code Week. In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Masters in Science by National University of Ireland, Galway. The citation concluded: “NUI Galway now wishes to formally recognize and honour Bernard Kirk for his outstanding contribution to the education of our young people throughout his career by the award of a Master of Science.”