Double degree success for twins in St Andrews

Thursday 15 June 2023

It was a day of double delight in St Andrews as several sets of twins celebrated being awarded their degrees today (Wednesday 14 June).

Aife and Orla Conboy, from Kildare in Ireland, were each awarded an MSc (Res) in Chemistry, while Ben and Josh Bicknell of Newton Mearns near Glasgow, achieved first-class BSc degrees in Computer Science and Maths.

They were joined in the town’s Younger Hall by Honorands, cancer scientist Professor Simon Tavaré and golf legend Sam Torrance, and hundreds of new graduates from the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Geography and Sustainable Development, as well as the University’s Graduate School, marking their academic success today.

Aife and Órla (pictured right) both graduated with an MSc (Res) Chemistry in the same ceremony this morning. The pair, from Kildare in Ireland, said they loved chemistry at school and have both already got BAs in Medicinal Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin. Aife said the twins were inspired to study in St Andrews by its “great reputation, idyllic seaside location” and “most importantly by the exciting research done in the Chemistry department.”

Praising the work of Professor Andrew Smith and his team, Aife said their year in St Andrews exceeded all expectations.

She said: “We both learnt so much, got to work with amazing people, and loved living in the town. We are really close, so it was lovely to be able to share the experience. We would both highly recommend studying in St Andrews to anyone who has the opportunity.”

Since finishing their studies in St Andrews, Aife (pictured left) and Órla have begun PhDs at the University of Manchester.

It’s been a case of puppy love for Sebastian Szommer who graduated with a BSc in Biology and Maths.

Sebastian’s family dog, Taz, has been living with him in St Andrews for the last year.

Sebastian, who is originally from Hungary but now lives in Largs, said highlights of his time in St Andrews include studying at the College of William and Mary in the US for six months in his third year, and exploring Antarctica as part of his course.


Sam Thom (above left), a member of the University’s Triathlon Club from Yorkshire, graduated with a BSc in Chemistry.

Masters Biology graduate Emilia Barteskaite (above centre) from Vilnius, Lithuania, said highlights of her time in St Andrews include joining the University’s Catholic Chaplaincy and Catholic Society and taking part in traditional events including May Dip. She now plans to take a gap year.

Margarita Chalganova (above right), from Sofia in Bulgaria, celebrated gaining a First Class Masters degree in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry. Margarita, who intends to embark on a PhD in Zurich, is pictured in Bulgarian national dress.

Below: Biology and Chemistry graduates celebrate their academic success in St Andrews.


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communicitons Office.

Category Student experience

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