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€443,000 in Funding sends 39 Irish Students, Researchers & Professionals to the US on Fulbright Awards

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Friday 17th June 2016: The US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley and Ireland’s Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs & Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD, announced 39 new Fulbright Irish Awardees at the Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin last night.


Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and US governments, providing Irish students, scholars, and professionals the opportunity to study, research or teach at top American institutions. These all-discipline awards facilitate knowledge-sharing and cultivate connections between Ireland and the US. The Fulbright Program runs in 155 countries worldwide, giving awardees access to an ever-growing network of international expertise.

Mother and Daughter Rita and Ruth Melia were amongst those presented with 2016-2017 Fulbright Awards last night. This is the first Mother and daughter pair to win Fulbright Irish Awards in the same year. Ruth will go to Stanford University on her Fulbright Scholarship to research the use of innovative mHealth technologies in suicide prevention, while her Mother Rita will go to Project Zero in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Boston, where she will explore the preschool educator’s image of the child as a learner.

The US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley said:

“I warmly congratulate the 2016-2017 cohort of Awardees. The Fulbright Awards are highly competitive, globally recognized, and associated with excellence and prestige…so this is a real accomplishment,” said U.S. Ambassador Kevin O’Malley.‎ “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 & Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD said:

“I am thrilled with the level of prowess we see in this year’s Fulbright Irish Awardees. The 39 recipients come from varying professional and academics backgrounds including Law, Language Studies, Music, History, Psychology, Archaeology, Ecology, Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, mHealth and Cybercrime. While in the US, they will not only gain knowledge and expertise in their fields, they will also act as Ambassadors for Ireland, upholding Senator J. William Fulbright’s wish to expand the boundaries of human wisdom, empathy and perception through education.

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. Past FLTAs have helped establish GAA Teams and Irish cultural events that still flourish in the US to this day – they have made a mark, and we have no doubt that this year’s group will do the same. We will welcome 62 US citizens to Ireland as Summer Gaeltacht Awardees shortly. 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 FulbrightFLTAs who taught at their US universities.

Whatever your field of expertise, I strongly recommend students, scholars and professionals to apply for a 2017-2018 Fulbright Award this September. From speaking to those who have embarked on this journey to date, I know it is a worthwhile one which can open many doors for you on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Dr Dara FitzGerald, Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said:

“The calibre of Fulbright Awardees this year is exceptional and I know they will thrive as cultural Ambassadors in the US and when they return. It has been a personal pleasure this year to engage with all candidates.

We would like to acknowledge the incredible support that the Department of Foreign Affairs, the US Department of State, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the National Lottery give us – this ensures the continuity of Fulbright Awards and knowledge-sharing between the US and Ireland. Substantial recognition and thanks also goes to our Award sponsors – CRH, Geological Survey of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Institute, National University of Ireland, University Penn Law and University of Notre Law School. We are delighted to welcome the Hugh Lane Gallery, Uversity, AMBER, Geological Survey of Ireland and INFANT on board this year as sponsors of new Fulbright US Awards which allow American students and academics to share their culture and expertise with Irish institutions.”

The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Wednesday, August 31st, 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, October 28th, 2016.


For further information, interviews, etc. please contact:

Emma Loughney, Fulbright Commission
Emma.loughney@fulbright.ie 087-6654535 / 01-6607670

Photography  from Conor McCabe Photography

info@conormccabe.ie / 085.705.7255


Full List of 2016-2017 Irish Fulbright Awardees

Dr Eva Barrett is a Lecturer in Law at Maynooth University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin. As a Fulbright Schuman awardee Eva will deliver guest-lectures and work on the research and curriculum development project ‘Developing Energy Law in the EU & Comparing the Regulation and Liberalisation of Energy Markets in the US with the Regulation and Liberalisation of Electricity Markets in the EU’ in Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment.

Ms Vicky Brady graduated from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick in 2010 with a B.A. in Irish and English. She completed a Masters in Irish in 2011 and is currently a PhD candidate and tutor at Mary Immaculate College. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Villanova University, Philadelphia.

Mr John Brown is a PhD candidate at Maynooth University, Ireland. As a Fulbright Student Awardee based at the Centre for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University, New Orleans, he will be researching the politics of contemporary democratisation in Latin America, focusing on Bolivian and Venezuelan processes.

Dr Linda Buckley is a composer and lecturer of Music at Trinity College Dublin. She will travel to New York for her Fulbright Scholarship and research found sound/electronic and cross-genre musical composition, in affiliation with New York University.

Mr Ian Corless completed a B.A. in Irish and Translation Studies in NUI Galway in 2013. He then completed the PGCE in Irish-Medium Education at St. Mary’s University College, Belfast in 2014. He has worked as a primary school teacher in Dublin since completing his education. Ian will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

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

Mr Michael Dawson has an MA in Ritual chant and Music from University of Limerick and is currently the Director of the Chamber Choir at Maynooth University. He will undertake a Doctor of Music Arts Degree at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music.

Mr Ronan Doorley is a PhD candidate in the Civil Engineering department of Trinity College Dublin. As a Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency Awardee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he will investigate the application of data science and machine learning techniques to the design of innovative urban mobility systems.

Mr Jason Finnerty graduated from NUI Galway in 2014 with a B.A. 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. He will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Davidson County Community College, North Carolina.

Dr Jennifer Goff is a Curator at the National Museum of Ireland. Dr Goff is completing a dual affiliation as a research scholar with Columbia University and as the first Irish Fulbright Scholar to the New York School of Interior Design, where she will lecture on 20th century Irish design, interiors and architecture, and the life and work of Eileen Gray in Europe and America.

Dr Ciara Greene is a College Lecturer in the School of Psychology at University College Dublin. As a Fulbright Scholar to Harvard University, Dr Greene will conduct research into the attentional and emotional factors that predict false memory.

Ms Rosemary Hennigan graduated with an LL.B. from Trinity College Dublin and has since qualified as a solicitor with McCann FitzGerald. As a Fulbright Student Awardee, Rosemary will complete an LLM at the University of Pennsylvania where she intends to focus her studies on public oversight measures and the use of parliamentary committees in the US political system.

Dr Andrew Jackson is an Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolution in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. As a Marine Institute of Ireland – Fulbright scholar, Dr Jackson will visit the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego to develop new mathematical models to track near-realtime changes in the species communities of impacted marine ecosystems using stable isotope analyses.

Dr Helen Lewis is an Archaeologist excavating prehistoric cave sites in Southeast Asia, and a specialist in Geoarchaeology. As a Fulbright GSI Geoscience Scholar based at the University of Washington, Helen will conduct research into the place of Geoarchaeology in Cultural Resources Management, exploring cultures of practice and specifically the barriers that exist at state level to the application of international professional standards of best practice.

Ms Eimear Kennedy graduated with a Masters in Irish in 2012. She is currently completing her PhD researching contemporary Irish-language travel literature and working as a teaching assistant in Queen’s University, Belfast. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Drew University and New York University.

Mr Eoin Mac Réamoinn is a PhD candidate in Trinity College Dublin. As a Fulbright Student Awardee, Eoin will carry out research to determine the role that immune system genes play in embryonic development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr Daniel McCrum is a lecturer in structural engineering at Queen’s University Belfast. As a Fulbright CRH Scholar, Daniel will conduct research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Los Angeles. He will collaborate on research aimed at providing new techniques to assess the severity of damage in high-rise building structures after being hit by an earthquake

Ms Ciara McGrath is a PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow where she also completed her Masters Degree in Aeromechanical Engineering. Ciara will go to MIT as a Fulbright-Schuman Student Awardee where she aims to develop a framework for constellations of satellites to rapidly respond to disasters on the ground.

Dr Kate McDonnell-Dowling is a recent graduate from the National University of Ireland, 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.

Dr Conor Meade lectures in Ecology and Biogeography at Maynooth University. As a Fulbright-EPA Scholar at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Conor will investigate the impact of climate change on alpine ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains Front Range.

Ms Rita Melia is a Doctoral Researcher at UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, an early childhood specialist with Early Childhood Ireland, and an Irish Research Council Scholar. As a Fulbright-NUI 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 graduated from NUI Maynooth and Trinity College Dublin. She 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.

Ms Nicola Mountford is Director of UCD’s Connected Health research programme. Her Fulbright TechImpact research project will be hosted by the New York eHealth Collaborative and involves a condensed ethnographic study of their work to make Electronic Health Records accessible state-wide.

Mr Eamonn Mulholland is an Energy Engineer currently undertaking a PhD in energy modelling in the transport sector at University College Cork. As a Fulbright Student Awardee, Eamonn aims to bridge the knowledge gap of behaviour representation in the Irish based energy models. At the University College of California, Davis, he will learn about integrating fundamental behaviour principles into transportation models allowing for a greater level of certainty when adapting for policy measures.

Ms Aisling Murray has completed an LL.B. at Trinity College Dublin. As a Fulbright Student Awardee Aisling will be researching private law theory at the University of Chicago, taking a critical approach to the law governing private relationships, in an effort to assess methods of empowering weaker sections of society.

Ms Anna Ní Choirbín completed a B.A. in Modern Irish and English in the National University of Ireland Galway in 2008 and completed a Dioplóma Iarchéime san Oideachas and an M.A. at University of Ireland Galway in 2010. She has been a secondary school teacher for the past 6 years and will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Elms College, Chicopee, MA.

Ms Siobhán Ní Mhuimhneacháin completed a Bachelor of Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in 2011 and an MA in Modern Irish at University College Cork in 2012. Siobhán has previously worked as a tutor at UCC and currently teaches in Gaelscoil Dhroichead na Banndan. Siobhán is this year’s Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Notre Dame.

Ms Áine Ní Shúilleabháin has completed a B.A. International in English & French, a Diploma in Irish, and an M.A. in Advanced Language Skills at the National University of Ireland Galway. Áine 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.

Ms Niamh Nic Leoid completed a B.A. in Applied Languages in Irish and French at the University of Limerick in 2014 and is currently an M.A .candidate in Irish and French Translation at University College Cork. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at University of Connecticut.

Dr Alan Noonan most recently worked as a historical consultant developing digital repositories. As a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the University of Montana, Dr Noonan will teach master classes in Irish history and the Irish diaspora to students, while researching connections and parallels between the Irish and Native American historical experiences.

Dr Anthony Quinn is an associate professor in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, where he teaches signal processing and probability. His research involves the design of optimal and implementable signal processing algorithms using probability principles (Bayesian methods), with wide application. As a Fulbright scholar, he will join the laboratory of Michael Jordan at UC Berkeley, focusing on problems where Bayesian signal processing and machine learning meet.

Dr Catherine O’Rourke is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law and Gender Research Coordinator at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University. As a Fulbright Scholar, she will be hosted by the Human Rights Program of the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota, where she will advance a monograph on international law norms for gender equality and their interface with domestic peacebuilding.

Mr Michael Paye is a PhD candidate in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, working on the literary depiction of fishery collapse and oil boom. As a Fulbright-NUI Student Awardee to Princeton University, Michael will complete a study of the correlation between fishery collapse and oil pollution in the literatures of Nigeria and Newfoundland in order to reveal the particular aesthetics and forms through which environmental crisis is coded across the Atlantic fish and oil frontier.

Mr Tadhg Ryan Charleton is a PhD Candidate at Maynooth University’s School of Business. As a Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Student Awardee at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, Tadhg will examine the organisational and macroeconomic drivers of innovation in knowledge sharing alliances between competitors.

Ms Saskia Ryan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geology, Trinity College Dublin. Saskia will undertake her Fulbright GSI Geoscience Award research at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology of Harvard University. She will use a geochemical approach to study ancient mobility in Ireland by comparing baseline environmental signatures to those preserved in archaeological human teeth and bone.

Dr Mark Scanlon is a Lecturer in Digital Forensics and Cybercrime Investigation at the School of Computer Science, University College Dublin. As a Fulbright TechImpact Scholar to the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University, Mark will focus on developing techniques for the automated creation and proficiency testing of digital forensic challenges for educational use.

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

Mr Pa Sheehan graduated with a degree in Applied Languages in 2014 and is currently a Masters candidate in Languages Education at the University of Limerick. He recently completed a thesis on the hurling pitch as an Irish language learning space. He will be a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Montana.

Ms Sylvia Soldatou is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at the NUI Galway. 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.

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