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MIC Doctoral Student Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

26 June 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Hynes
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MIC Doctoral Student Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan TD and Mr Reece Smyth, Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, recently announced 38 new Fulbright Irish Awardees, including Seaghan Mac an tSionnaigh, PhD candidate at Mary Immaculate College (MIC).

The Fulbright Programme, set up by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946, is the largest US international exchange programme in the world. Currently celebrating 60 years of educational and cultural exchange between Ireland and the US, Fulbright scholarships have provided Irish students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture and research at top universities and institutions in the US since 1957. Recipients include students, academics and professionals from 15 HEIs across Ireland and Europe. These Awardees will go to top US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their field.

The unique nature of Fulbright Awards is that the Programme encourages cultural exchange as well as educational. In addition to completing study or research projects, Awardees are tasked with being cultural Ambassadors during their time in the US. They will then return to Ireland to share the knowledge they have gained there. The rigorous application process ensures that the successful candidates are those who have conveyed how their work can have a positive impact on society.

Speaking at the event, which was hosted in Iveagh House, the current Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD said: “The Fulbright Commission plays an important role in providing reciprocal opportunities for Irish and US scholars and academics to study, work and experience life in each other’s countries. These awards underline the breadth and depth of the Fulbright Commission’s work, covering 34 institutions in 18 states and Washington, DC. I wish this year’s awardees every success for their time in the US.”

Offering his congratulations the Chargé d’affaires, Reece Smyth, US Embassy said: “I warmly congratulate the 2017-2018 cohort of Awardees. This year, 38 Irish Awardees from 15 Institutions across Ireland and Europe will undertake Fulbright scholarships to study, research and teach in 34 institutions across the United States. Their diverse areas of expertise reflect the fascinating direction of Global research today. 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 in 2018.”

Originally from Kilkenny, Mr Seaghan Mac an tSionnaigh graduated from Mary Immaculate College with a first class honours degree in the Liberal Arts. He went on to write his Master’s thesis on Irish lexicography which was published by Coiscéim under the title Focail agus Foclóireacht T. O’Neill Lane (2013). He co-founded Meanmanra, a psychology and philosophy conference with proceedings published at the conference’s second edition. Seaghan has worked as an Irish tutor at UL and as a visiting Irish Language Scholar at Concordia University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Irish folklore in MIC which has seen him edit over a thousand pages of West Kerry folklore, under the supervision of Dr Breandán Ó Cróinín, in an attempt to further our understanding of the Irish storytelling tradition as well as of the Irish of that particular county. As a Fulbright FLTA, he will teach the Irish Language and take courses at the University of Notre Dame. 

Following the announcement of the award Seaghan said “I am absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious Fulbright award. To get to teach and study in the University of Notre Dame is a huge honour and will be an unforgettable experience. While I’m excited to start my studies in the US, I'm also looking forward to booking a return flight that will have me back in MIC for graduation in October.” 

Congratulating Seaghan on his achievement Prof. Michael Healy, Assoc. Vice President of Research, MIC, said “I wish to congratulate Seaghan Mac an tSionnaigh on being awarded a Fulbright scholarship and I wish him every success in his time at the University of Notre Dame over the coming academic year. This prestigious and high profile award is further evidence of the rising profile of research and scholarship in Mary Immaculate College, a development which the College takes much pride in”. 

The next round of applications for the Fulbright Irish Awards will open on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 with opportunities in all disciplines, including the new Fulbright-Creative Ireland Fellowship for Museum professionals. Interested applicants should visit, for more information.




Pictured above (L-R) Prof. Michael Healy, Assoc. Vice President of Research, MIC and Mr Seaghan Mac An tSionnaigh, MIC Doctoral Student and 2017 Fulbright Award recipient.

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