Katriona O'Sullivan Black and White Headshot

Dr. Katriona O’Sullivan

Psychologist, Award winning Author & Associate Professor of Science at Maynooth University

why book katriona?

  • Dr. Katriona O’Sullivan’s debut book, “Poor,” topped the Irish Non-Fiction bestseller list, offering a powerful memoir of overcoming childhood poverty and adversity. It has received prestigious awards, including Easons Irish Book of the Year and An Post’s Biography of the Year, highlighting its impact and significance
  • As a speaker at global forums, including the World Education Forum and UN gender equality workshops, Katriona actively contributes to discussions on education, digital inequality, and inclusion
  • Katriona is a Senior Lecturer at Maynooth University, where she challenges educational barriers. She leads the STEM Passport for Inclusion project and holds research grants for initiatives promoting inclusivity
Katriona O'Sullivan Black and White Headshot


Dr Katriona O’Sullivan is an associate professor in Maynooth University, a psychologist and memoirist. Her first book, Poor, debuted at #1 on the Irish Non-Fiction bestseller list. The book, a memoir of growing up in extreme poverty, describes the far-reaching impact of childhood poverty.

As one of 5 children in a home shaped by her parents’ heroin addiction, Katriona’s story chronicles her journey from poverty, teenage pregnancy, homelessness to graduating with a PhD from Trinity College Dublin and becoming an award-winning lecturer whose work challenges barriers to education. “Poor” is her stirring argument for the importance of looking out for our kids’ futures. Of giving them hope, practical support and meaningful opportunities.

“Poor” has received numerous awards including Easons Irish Book of the Year & An Post’s Biography of the Year award.

Katriona is Senior Lecturer in the Assisting Living & Learning Institute, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University. She is the Principal Investigator on the STEM Passport for Inclusion project, featured recently on RTE Changemaker series.

Katriona O'Sullivan Black and White Headshot

She has held research grants from the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland leading an initiative to tackle digital inequality in education. She also successfully led the largest HEA PATH funded programme entitled Turn to Teaching which focused on diversifying teacher education.

She has been an invited speaker at the World Education Forum, the European Gender Action Workshop on Women and Digitalisation and most recently at the UN gender equality workshop. She has worked with Irish policy makers to develop policies around education and inclusion.


Katriona’s talks are focused on her story and journey from growing up in poverty, mother at 15 and homeless, to then becoming an award winning lecturer and writer. Katriona’s talks can focus and develop on the following themes

Gender equality

Social class

STEM inclusion

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

Working-class women and how to empower



You may want to go deeper with your audience. Masterclasses can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.

Katriona can provide masterclasses in equality diversity and inclusion, as she can provide unrivalled insights as an individual who has come from a working-class background, who has then researched and published in this area, and contributed to national policy.

Topics include microaggressions, ableism, intersectionality, power dynamics and anti-racism.

These workshops can be delivered as 2 hour or Half Day masterclasses



Yellow Book Cover of Poor by Dr. Katriona O'Sullivan


“When Katriona speaks to education leaders of the struggles she experienced at school, her messages are raw, authentic and painful but also uplifting, inspirational and vital. Katriona is a wonderful storyteller and a persuasive advocate for all underserved learners who require teachers and school leaders to do more and better for them. When we were fortunate to secure her as a keynote speaker at the HFL Education’s Better Serving Underserved Learners conference, delegate feedback was that Katriona O’Sullivan was phenomenal – she was really moving and inspiring. Katriona’s words were so powerful in highlighting the power that educators have to make a difference. It was an amazing presentation: I laughed, cried and listened with interest. Every educator should hear this!”

Rachel Macfarlane, Lead Advisor, HFL Education