Board and Staff of UCDVO

Board of Trustees

James O'Brien, Chairperson

James O’Brien is the Executive Director of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum). Prior to joining Forum he worked for VSO Ireland and volunteered with them in Rwanda and Uganda.

Dr. Helen O’Connell, Deputy Chairperson

Helen currently works as a Senior Clinical Psychologist, in the School of Psychology in UCD and also in an older adults mental health service in the HSE. Prior to training as a psychologist, Helen worked in the international development sector, both in Ireland and overseas, for ten years.

Rachel Cosgrove, Secretary

Rachel has a background in Finance, having worked in Banking for over 20 years.  In 2021/2022, she did a Graduate Diploma in Design Thinking for Sustainability in UCD. Rachel first volunteered with UCDVO in 2022 as Team Coordinator on the Ukrainian project.  This year she is one of the Team Coordinators for the 2023 project in Assam India with Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU).

Dr. Ellen Regan

Dr Ellen Regan is a primary school teacher with an MA and PhD from UCD. Her doctoral research topic was Irish women as missionaries and volunteers in education and health settings. She has been involved in international development since 2007, volunteering in education projects in Malawi, India, and Haiti. She was Group Leader for UCDVO Delhi in 2011. She has facilitated pre-departure trainings and de-briefing sessions for Comhlámh and UCDVO.

Dr. Brona Fullen

Brona is an Associate Professor in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. Outside of the UCDVO Programme she has volunteered as a physiotherapist in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Dr. Jacob Eisenberg

Jacob joined UCD in 2003 and is an Associate Professor in the Smurfit Graduate School of Business, lecturing in the areas of organisaitonal behaviour, cross-cultural management and creativity. He has travelled extensively and worked in several countries.

Dr. Sunita Kaistha

With more than four decades experience in teaching and research, Sunita has also been actively involved in the development field. She is the founder of The Society for Working Life (SWL-2002) which has been working for the girl child and has partnered with UCDVO for the last two decades for its student volunteer program in New Delhi, India.



Hilary Minch

UCDVO Manager 

Hilary joined UCDVO as Manager in July 2019 following four years as Senior Desk Officer for the Syria response in Irish humanitarian organisation GOAL. Hilary has over 13 years’ experience in the humanitarian and international development sector. She has worked in Darfur, South Sudan and Palestine and in Ireland as Middle East Regional Liaison Officer with Trócaire; Programme Officer with Aidlink; Project officer roles in Comhlámh and Dóchas.

Prior to her career in international development, Hilary worked in marketing and business development and spent three years teaching English in Japan. Hilary has an MSc in International Development; a Higher Diploma in Business Studies and a BA in English and Philosophy – all from University College Dublin.

Zoe Liston

Programme and Education Officer  

Zoe originally comes from a broadcasting background, having worked in television for 11 years as both a Researcher and Producer on live television. She retrained in 2009 with an MA in Development Studies from Kimmage Development Studies Centre. Since then she has worked with Aidlink - a development NGO, and has worked with UNHCR Ireland in their Communications Department  and Amnesty International in their Human Rights Education Department. Zoe joined UCDVO in 2013. Zoe also produced the radio documentary 'The Girls of Kajiado' as part of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund and participated in the Tanzania Morogoro Project in 2016 as Team Coordinator.

Zoe has an MA in International Development Studies (KDSC) Postgraduate in Arts Administration (UCD) and a BA in Fine Art: Sculpture. (Edinburgh College of Art).

Sorcha Lyne

Programme Assistant 

Sorcha completed a BA in Psychology and Sociology from UL, during which she completed a volunteer placement in a rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities in Ghana. After completing her bachelor's degree, Sorcha went on to volunteer with a counselling psychology institution in Uganda, prior to conducting a research master’s in international development studies in the University of Amsterdam (UvA). While in the Netherlands, she
worked part-time with the university’s Green Office, a student-led sustainability organisation, as well as worked as a Junior Researcher with the Centre for Law and Behaviour (UvA), facilitating a project on organisational culture. Sorcha joined UCDVO as Programme Assistant in December 2023.