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Sean's Story

Sean, Class of 1988



"The High School of Dundee bursary for my F1 to F6 years was certainly transformative in terms of the education that I was able to experience and in supporting my future career.

My mother had suffered from TB when she was young, spending her entire childhood from 13 to 18 in hospital. She had to enrol as an adult through college to undertake her school exams and then on through Art College and Teacher Training College. She started her career much later in life and as a single parent, life could be tough. At the same time, the support and opportunity the High School bursary provided me was invaluable.

Through the excellent support from my teachers, I was able to enter Heriot-Watt University to study Building Economics and Quantity Surveying. DHS Economics classes served me well to enter into this field of study and I graduated with a 1st Class Honours.

My DHS Music and Physics teachers were inspiring, and this stimulated a later interest to couple acoustics, vibration and structural dynamics into a future PhD study which investigated mathematical models of vibration in buildings. The application of these complex models could then be applied to other structures and I was appointed as a Research Fellow and funded by the Government Defence Research Agency to investigate vibration in helicopters and aircraft.

Over a period of six years I then worked abroad as an Invited Scientist in government research laboratories in Canada, Italy and Germany. I returned to Scotland to work with Edinburgh Napier University and also as a Consultant to a major UK noise and vibration consultancy.

 "My current role leading a research institute for sustainable construction, as well as my lectures on architectural technology, encompass so many aspects which were underpinned by the positive values and experiences at Dundee High School."

Of particular mention should be the Combined Cadet Force, which through military exercises over weekends and late nights (till the early hours!) encouraged, teamwork, resilience, problem solving and a duty to do your best "whatever the weather"!

My mother passed away in 1996 and sadly never saw many of the pathways and outcomes for me from the seeds planted by her and the School community. I know how much the bursary meant to her as a keystone of support. For me, I am eternally grateful for how it positively shaped my education and career and also to the great friends I still have from the Class of 88."