An Ulster student at one of the world’s top universities has said that A-level high-flier Alastair Herron can expect to “work hard and play hard” when he joins him in the USA.
RBAI pupil Alastair is set to travel to the elite Stanford University in California after receiving a remarkable seven A*s in his A-levels, the results of which were announced on last week.
And when he flies out to begin the autumn term, he will find himself in the company of fellow Ulsterman James Flanagan.
James, who celebrates his 27th birthday on Thursday, has been at the university since 2011 where he is studying a PhD in chemistry – which Mr Herron is also expected to study.
He described Alastair’s grades as a “terrific achievement”, adding that just managing to find time to study seven subjects was impressive enough in itself.
James (who got five As at A-level in 2005) said he will definitely meet Alastair to show him around the Stanford lab.
And since his own PhD involves a degree of teaching, it is even possible that he could end up with Alastair as his student.
Stanford University is believed to command fees of around £38,500 a year, and stands not far from the west coast city of San Francisco.
It even has its own sports stadium on campus, and James’ father Jim Flanagan described the place as being like a town in its own right.
“From what I’ve been reading about Alastair and having been in contact with him, I can confidently say that he will love it here,” said James.
“I’ve had the privilege of teaching some fantastic undergraduate students here over the past couple of years
“The one thing they have in common is that they all work hard and play hard. Stanford has world-class facilities – in arts, in sports, and in sciences – and students are encouraged to take advantage of these facilities both in and out of class.”
James, from Jordanstown in Newtownabbey, had gone to Belfast Royal Academy, then studied medicine at Cambridge before switching to study science at Queen’s – then going to Stanford.
And for him, Alastair will be the only other Northern Irishman he has met in his time at the top-tier institution.
“I haven’t come across any other Northern Irish people yet. However that’s not to say there aren’t any,” he said.
“Stanford is a big place, with about 18,000 students spread over 8,000 acres.
“Interestingly, Alastair tells me there is another Northern Irish PhD student (not in chemistry) due to start next year, so there’ll be at least three of us.” As previously reported, Oxford University had rejected Alastair after an interview.