Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO, NUI Galway and Mary McPartlan, Fulbright NUI Galway Ambassador, with Fulbright NUI Galway Awardees Kate McDonnell-Dowling, Rosa Shine, Sylvia Soldatou, Jason Finnerty, Ruth Cormican, Rita Melia, Ruth Melia, with Dónall O’Braonáin, NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.
Jun 24 2016 Posted: 11:45 IST

US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley and Ireland’s Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD, announced 39 new Fulbright Irish Awardees at the Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin recently.

Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and U.S. governments and provide Irish students, scholars, and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture, and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States.

Among the 39 awardees were nine winners from NUI Galway including mother and daughter Rita and Ruth Melia from Athenry, Co. Galway. This is the first mother and daughter pair to win Fulbright Irish Awards in the same year.

The NUI Galway recipients include:

Ruth Cormican, from Oranmore, Co. Galway, is currently completing her LLB at NUI Galway. She will be taking up the Fulbright-University of Notre Dame LLM Award in International Human Rights Law, focusing in particular on human rights issues arising in the context of international and internal armed conflict.

Jason Finnerty graduated from NUI Galway in 2014 with a BA in Irish, History and Irish Studies. In 2016 he completed a Professional Masters in Education at NUI Galway, while working as a teacher in St. Raphael's College, Loughrea, Co. Galway. Jason, from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Davidson County Community College, North Carolina.

Dr Kate McDonnell-Dowling, from Doolin, Co. Clare, is a recent graduate from the NUI Galway in the field of Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology. As a Fulbright Scholar, Kate will be hosted by Tufts University, Boston to carry out research on the consequences of early-life stress and drug exposure and focusing on how these experiences can lead to addiction in later life.

Rita Melia is a Doctoral Researcher at UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, an early childhood specialist with Early Childhood Ireland, and an Irish Research Council Scholar. As a Fulbright Student Awardee at Project Zero in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Boston, Rita will explore the preschool educators image of the child as a learner.

Dr Ruth Melia is a Clinical Psychologist who collaborates on a joint research project with the IT Department at NUI Galway where she is also Adjunct Lecturer in Clinical Psychology. Ruth works with the HSE West and is co-founder of CAATCH, a suicide prevention initiative. As a Fulbright TechImpact Scholar, Ruth will research the use of mHealth technologies in suicide prevention at the Suicide Prevention Research Laboratory, Stanford University.

Anna Ní Choirbín graduated with a BA in Modern Irish and English, a Dioplóma Iarchéime san Oideachas and an MA from NUI Galway. Originally from Corr na Móna, Co. Galway, has been a secondary school teacher for the past 6 years and will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Áine Ní Shúilleabháin has completed a BA International in English and French, a Diploma in Irish, and an MA in Advanced Language Skills at NUI Galway. Áine, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, has worked as an Irish teacher and translator and is currently employed in at a translation company. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Idaho State University. 

Sylvia Soldatou is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at NUI Galway after moving to Ireland from Greece. As a Fulbright Student Awardee, Sylvia will focus on a chemical ecology project comparing the chemistry produced by Irish algal and mollusk samples. She will conduct her research at the University of South Florida.

Rosa Shine graduated from NUI Galway in 2014 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. From Athlone, Co. Roscommon, Rosa is currently a PhD candidate in the Biomechanics Research Centre, NUI Galway. As a Fulbright Student Awardee she will be performing advanced experimental testing on bioresorbable polymeric stents at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kevin O’Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland, said: “I warmly congratulate the 2016-2017 cohort of Awardees. The Fulbright Awards are highly competitive, globally recognised, and associated with excellence and prestige, so this is a real accomplishment. We are proud to have such bright minds embarking on educational and cultural exchanges to the US, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their studies and research when they return to Ireland.”

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD said: “I am thrilled with the level of prowess we see in this year’s Fulbright Irish Awardees. While in the US, they will not only gain knowledge and expertise in their fields, they will also act as Ambassadors for Ireland. For us, promotion of the Irish language is a key element of this goal to share knowledge beyond borders. With the support of the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the National Lottery, the Fulbright Commission will send nine Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) to the US this August to teach Irish language and culture. We will also welcome 62 US citizens to Ireland as Summer Gaeltacht Awardees shortly where they will stay in Gaeltacht regions for 4-6 weeks to learn more about Irish culture and language. Indeed, many of these Awardees were introduced to the Irish language by former Fulbright FLTAs who taught at their US universities.”

The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Wednesday, 31 August, 2016. Interested applicants from all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website www.fulbright.ie for more information. Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year will be due on Friday, 28 October, 2016.

-Ends-

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