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Fulbright Commission Board


The Fulbright Commission’s eight-person board is appointed by the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, with members from both Ireland and the U.S.

U.S. Members

Prof. Diane Negra

Fulbright Board Chair Emerita
Professor of Film Studies and Screen Culture

A member of the Royal Irish Academy, Diane is the author, editor or co-editor of twelve books including What a Girl Wants?: The Reclamation of Self in Postfeminism (2008), Extreme Weather and Global Media (2015), and Imagining "We" in the Age of "I": Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture (2021). Her work in media, gender and cultural studies has been widely influential and recognized with a range of research awards and fellowships. She is Chair of the Royal Irish Academy Working Group on Culture and Heritage. An in-demand speaker with a long track record of editorial board service for journals including ScreenCultural Studies and The Velvet Light Trap, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and currently serves on the Board for Console-ing Passions. An American academic trained at the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Negra has been based in the UK and Ireland since 2002.  She was Fulbright Professor at the University of Gdansk in 1999-2000.

Ingrid Specht 

Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland

Ingrid Specht is the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.  Her overseas assignments include Hyderabad, India; Vancouver, Canada; and Monterrey, Mexico.  In Washington, she worked in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs supporting public diplomacy efforts in Ireland, Germany, and the United Kingdom and in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, supporting the Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing Fulbright, EducationUSA, and other academic programs.  Before joining the Foreign Service, she focused on global water issues in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science.  She also worked in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s International Affairs office and as a paralegal at a DC law firm.  She received a BA in linguistics from Georgetown University and an MA in global environmental policy from American University.  

Thea Gilien

Director, Programmes and Experiential Learning Abroad, Boston College Ireland

Thea received her BA in International Studies with an emphasis on Germany from Sonoma State University in California. In addition to serving on the Board of the Fulbright Commission, she is a founding Board Member of the Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI) and is currently Treasurer of the Irish US Alumni Association (IUSA).

Kellee Farmer

Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland

Kellee Farmer is the Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.  A Foreign Service Officer since  2007, Kellee has most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy and Cultural Affairs Officer in U.S. Embassy Hanoi, where she oversaw the administration of the Fulbright Program in Vietnam.  Kellee has also served in public diplomacy roles in U.S. embassies in Vienna and Islamabad. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kellee was a House of Representatives congressional aide for eight years. She is a Jayhawk, a proud graduate of the University of Kansas.  

Irish Members

Prof. Sarah Culloty

Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science at UCC

Prof. Sarah Culloty is Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science at University College Cork and has been Director of the Environmental Research Institute at UCC since 2014. As Head of College she leads a student and staff body of over 6000 with nine academic units and 24 affiliated research centers and institutes including the Environmental Research Institute, APC microbiome Ireland and the Tyndall National Institute. She holds a BSc and PhD in Zoology from UCC. She was Head of the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences from 2014-2018. Sarah is a marine biologist and zoologist working on the impact of anthropogenic factors on aquaculture and fisheries industry and more recently has been looking at the potential impact of climate change on these sectors. She has served on a number of national and international advisory boards and working groups and her research has informed international guidelines and legislation on aquatic animal health. She has had extensive engagement in supporting the EDI agenda at UCC and was part of the university’s committee when it received its first institutional Athena Swan award and was Head of one of the first schools at UCC to receive its award. She is currently a Governor of Fota Wildlife Park and chairs its Ethics Committee, is a board member of the Irish Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform and a board member of NIBRT – the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training.

Prof. Derek O'Keeffe

Professor of Medical Device Technology at the University of Galway

Prof. Derek O’Keeffe is a Physicianeer, he holds dual first-class honors degrees and doctorates in Engineering and Medicine.  He was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard, a Green Templeton Scholar at Oxford and is a graduate of the Endocrinology Clinical Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, USA. As well as multiple academic publications, he holds biomedical patents and several international research prizes. He has previously worked with NASA placing a sleep experiment onboard the International Space Station and was their flight surgeon for a NEEMO Aquarius mission. He has explored over 110 countries, volunteered extensively & was awarded The Outstanding Young Person of the World by Junior Chamber International. He is a Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor, Qualified Pilot, Advanced Scuba Diver & Triathlete.  In 2022 he designed an award winning Cardiovascular themed garden for Bloom in the Phoenix Park. He was recently awarded a first-class honors MBA degree and is the new HSE National Clinical Lead for Diabetes. He is a Consultant Physician (Endocrinologist) at University Hospital Galway and is the Professor of Medical Device Technology at the University of Galway.

Prof. Paul Donnelly

Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board
Professor of Management and Organisation Studies, Technological University Dublin

Paul received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a graduate of the Institute of Directors’ Chartered Director Programme. He is both a Fulbright Fellow and a Taiwan Fellow, and is President Emeritus of the Irish Fulbright Alumni Association. In addition to serving on the Board of the Fulbright Commission, he serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Vice Chair of Transparency International Ireland, as an Independent Non-Executive Director of Dóchas (the Irish network for international development and humanitarian organisations), and as a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s Social Sciences Committee. Previously, he served as an Independent Expert on the National Economic and Social Council, and as Chair of the Critical Management Studies Division and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Academy of Management. Over the course of a 30+ year career spanning the public sector, academia and the not-for-profit sector, he has gained particular expertise and experience in the areas of strategy, governance, and organisation.

Marianne Doyle

Marianne Doyle

Deputy Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board
Head of Internal Communications with An Garda Síochána 

Marianne is Head of Internal Communications with An Garda Síochána, the Irish national police and security service with 18,000 personnel.

Currently, Marianne serves on the boards of the Ireland-US Fulbright Commission, National Museum of Ireland and Quality and Qualifications Ireland, the state agency responsible for promoting the quality, integrity and reputation of Ireland’s further and higher education system. Previously, Marianne worked in international marketing, predominantly in the higher education sector in North America, China, Russia, and the EU. She also worked in the US Embassy in Dublin press office, and as communications manager for the Fulbright Commission, Ireland.

Marianne holds postgraduate qualifications in communications, law, corporate governance, innovation and an MBA, with a BA (Hons) in Russian (with Polish) and German. She is an alumna of the University of Oxford's Executive Leadership Programme.

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