A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Triona McGrath, has returned from three months in California. She shares her time on the beach and in the lab in this piece.
By Dr. Triona McGrath
I spent the final three months of 2013 on a post-doctorate Fulbright scholarship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), San Diego. This Fulbright program gave me the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading scientists in the field of ocean acidification and allowed me to develop high quality analytical skills in marine carbon chemistry. I attended an important conference in downtown San Diego and various lectures and presentations around the university. The professional relationships established with U.S. oceanographers will be forever invaluable. I feel I have returned to Ireland with more confidence and the ability to lead ocean acidification research in Ireland.
Not only was my Fulbright visit to the U.S. successful professionally, I had a wonderful life experience while living in La Jolla. I settled into life far too easily in this beautiful beach town – I lived in a lovely little apartment just off Windansea Beach, cycled to and from SIO, and surfed before work most days. It helped that SIO was positioned right on the edge of La Jolla Shores Beach! I swam with leopard sharks, went stand-up paddle boarding with the seals, visited San Diego’s world famous zoo, and drove north along California’s beautiful coastline.
I met some fabulous people in the U.S., who were all so welcoming and made me feel right at home. It has taught me to give people visiting Ireland a similar welcome since even the smallest of gestures went such a long way. It was truly an unforgettable experience and I thoroughly thank everyone involved in Fulbright for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.