Fulbright Commission Awards US Citizens to Study Irish in the Gaeltacht

Monday, 25 July 2011

20 UScitizens have been awarded grants for the Irish Language Summer Study Awards from the Ireland - United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange. These new awards enableUS citizens, currently studying Irish in theUnited States, to participate in Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht this summer. Half of the total scholarship awardees,  supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the National Lottery,  will study at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in An Cheathrú Rua.

Successful candidates have received a monetary award to cover travel to and fromIrelandand tuition in the course of their choice. Those studying at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in An Cheathrú Rua include:

Mr Kevin Clark, a Fair Haven, New Jersey attorney and security consultant, served over thirty-five years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Jersey State Commission of Investigation and Ocean County Prosecutors Office.  A member of Daltaí na Gaeilge atBrookdaleCommunity College,Middletown,NJ, he has attended Irish Summer Colleges with Oideas Gael, NUI Galway and Rath Cairn. He will spend a month studying at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.

Ms Kerri Farrell holds an MA in Irish and Irish American Studies fromNew YorkUniversity and is currently working towards an MA in Irish Literature and Culture atBostonCollege.  She will spend two weeks in an Irish Intensive course with NUI Galway.

Ms Lynnasha Galbreath is a student of Graphic Design at the University of Kansas. Lynnasha studied Irish for one year at Haskell Indian Nations University and will spend one week at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.

Ms Jacqueline Geleta is a rising senior studying at theUniversity ofPittsburgh inPennsylvania. Ms Geleta has studied Irish for 12 months in Carraroe as well as at theUniversity ofPittsburgh. She will spend four weeks in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge again this summer

Ms Ciara Grogan is a full-time student entering her final undergraduate year atCUNYQueensCollege.  She will graduate in spring 2012 with a BA in speech-language pathology.  She has been studying Irish for three semesters and will spend four weeks in NUI Galway.

Mr Garth Lambson is a graduate student fromIdahoStateUniversity based inPocatello,Idaho. Mr Lambson has studied Irish for a year withLehmanCollege, City University of New York and will spend four weeks in NUI Galway.

Ms Edyta Lehmann is a native of Poland. She currently lives in Boston, writing her PhD dissertation at the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.  She will spend four weeks studying Irish at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.

Ms Molly Loesche is currently writing her History Master's thesis, Rural Women and the Irish Ireland Movement, at theUniversity ofNebraska,Omaha. She has been studying Irish for just over one year, and is looking forward to spending four weeks at NUI Galway in An Cheathrú Rua furthering her studies.

Mr Lucas Miller is a faculty member atHaskellIndianNationsUniversity inLawrence,Kansas,USA.  He has studied Irish for one year under the tutelage of an Irish Fulbright Scholar, and will be studing in An Cheathru Rua for one month this summer.

Mr Ed Shevlin is a NYC Sanitation Worker who holds an AA in Historical Studies from Empire State College. Mr Shevlin is pursuing a BA in Irish Studies from the same institution, while taking Gaeilge classes atLehmanCollege. Ed began his Gaeilge studies at NUI Galway in the summer of 2009 and will undertake the Intermediate level course this summer.

Commenting on the awards, the Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish language, Dinny McGinley T.D. said: “I am delighted that my Department was in a position to provide funding to the Fulbright Commission for this very worthwhile initiative. I am particularly pleased that an increasing number of students who study Irish in theUSand in many other parts of the world, continue their studies here inIrelandand as a consequence, can now be seen attending courses in the Gaeltacht. This results in bonds of friendship and a lifelong interest and understanding of the rich language and culture of this country. Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann muid!”

Speaking about the candidates, Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said: “We were delighted, though not surprised, by the response to this new program which confirms the diversity of reasons and places that Americans are learning Irish.   Recent research that we have conducted has identified just over 80 third level and community based institutions across theUSthat are teaching Irish.  The applications revealed that Americans are learning Irish not just to re-connect with their Irish roots but to assist their PhD research in anthropology, religion, history and comparative literature.  Irish is seen by several applicants as not just a hobby or luxury but an essential academic skill.

“Awardees’ backgrounds are varied, cross disciplined and stem from all walks of life.  We have students from a wide range of American universities includingBostonCollege, City University of New York, Emory, Harvard, Haskell Indian Nations, Idaho State College,UniversityofConnecticutand Yale. We hope these successful candidates will share their experiences with others on their return to theUSand encourage more to learn Irish in theUSandIreland.”

Other successful awardees will attend the following courses:

  • Oideas Gael, Glencolmcille, Donegal
  • Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, Ballyferriter, Kerry
  • FEICIM, Inis Oírr,Galway

The Irish Language Summer Study Awards are not Fulbright Awards but a separate initiative of theIreland - United States Commission for Educational Exchange (The Fulbright Commission) and are supported by the Irish Government Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs and the Irish National Lottery.

For more information visit www.fulbright.ie.

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