Denise McKeown


 My story begins in the small often misunderstood city of Belfast. I started out young, hopeful and keen to contribute to society in the ways I saw most fitting. 

I then went to university where my first and second year were almost entirely wasted on drugs, because I was studying for a Pharmacy qualification that I never completed. Thankfully I realised early on that drugs  weren’t for me and I think I got out just in time.


I decided I rather toil in another field, that of Biology and ecology, which is how I then finished my undergraduate.

Realising that I was happiest working with people, I took the natural route into teaching, the gruelling Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Unfortunately there are no pictures to show for this chapter because I was too busy... 

 Needless to say, I soon became disillusioned by the prescriptive teaching and standardised school system. Shortly after finishing my ‘education in education’, I began to look for something a little more stimulating for both me and my audience. A friend told me about quite a liberal school in Mexico city, where learning was valued more than grades. I was very fortunate to secure a job with them where I stayed for a few years doing almost as much learning as I did teaching. Incredible and colourful though they were, I knew I wanted to try something else. 


So I did what most qualified young people do, I went back to university to study for a Masters. Choosing to focus on something a bit more sustainable this time. Through that search I found Mastatal and its fair to say I couldn't believe my luck. I came here somewhat stumbling (as others can attest) and already I’ve been humbled and inspired by my experiences so far, the patience of the team and the thought and energy that has gone into the program. I look forward with excitement and curiosity to the year ahead which I hope will allow me to see a bit more clearly the bigger picture.