Three NUI Galway Researchers Receive Fulbright Irish Awards

Pictured l-r: Rita Donnellan, Sally McHugh and Jasmine Headlam at the Fulbright Irish Awards Ceremony 2018-2019. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography
Jun 28 2018 Posted: 14:44 IST

Fulbright Irish Awardees 2018-2019 to conduct research and teach in the USA in areas of place-based learning, poisonous jellyfish and the Irish language

Three NUI Galway reseachers were presented with Fulbright Irish Awards for 2018-2019. An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,Simon Coveney TD, and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 37 Fulbright Irish Awardees who were recently presented with their awards at a Ceremony in the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Phoenix Park.

Students, academics and professionals from 13 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland and Europe will go to 33 leading US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from diverse disciplines spanning science, languages, technology, medicine, literature and the arts.

The three NUI Galway Fulbright Awardees are:

Jasmine Headlam, a PhD candidate at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway. Her research focuses on harmful jellyfish species such as the mauve stinger and the lion’s mane jellyfish, which are known to negatively impact coastal industries such as causing large fish mortalities in the salmon aquaculture industry. Jasmine’s PhD research is funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Climate Change and European aquatic RESources (CERES) project, which is examining how climate change will influence Europe’s most important fish and shellfish resources. As a Fulbright Marine-Institute awardee, Ms Headlam will be mentored in state of the art techniques to investigate the structural and functional characteristics of cnidae (microscopic stinging capsules on the tentacles of jellyfish) and the composition of venom by Fulbright Specialist, Dr Angel Yanagihara, Director of the Pacific Cnidaria Research Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Sally McHugh, a PhD candidate at NUI Galway. She received her BA in Archaeology and IT and her MA in Digital Media from NUI Galway. Her current research explores how creative and constructionist computing can be designed and deployed to enhance children’s learning with their local cultural heritage in formal and informal learning environments. As a Fulbright-Creative Ireland Museum Fellow to The Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco, Sally will conduct a place-based learning project within the Museum’s Fisher Bay Observatory. Her place-based learning project, ‘A Sense of Place’, carried out with San Francisco youth will focus on their engagement with the ‘local’, encompassing both cultural and natural heritage.

Rita Donnellan completed a BA in Modern Irish and English an M.A and a Dióploma Iarchéime san Oideachas at NUI Galway. Since graduating Rita has worked as a secondary school teacher and escapes to the Connemara Gaeltacht every summer to work with Irish Colleges. As a Fulbright FLTA, she will teach the Irish language and take courses at Davidson College, North Carolina.

Congratulating the awardees, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “Since the 1950s, the Fulbright Programme has strengthened collaborations and exchange between Ireland and the US. This year’s NUI Galway Fulbright Awardees are to be congratulated for being selected onto this prestigious programme. All three individuals demonstrate the innovative thinking and collaborative approach which is one of our strengths here in Galway. We are proud to have them represent our university in this way, and I wish them every success in the US.”

An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said: “I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the 37 Irish Fulbright Awardees for 2018– 2019. People are at the heart of the extraordinary relationship between Ireland and the United States, and the Fulbright Commission has an unrivalled record in selecting the very best people as Fulbrighters. This year’s Awardees will have the exciting opportunity to study, work, and experience life in the U.S., to forge new relationships, and to represent the best of contemporary Ireland to the United States. I wish this year’s Awardees every success for their time in the United States.”

Chargé d’affaires Reece Smyth, U.S. Embassy, said: “I warmly congratulate the 2018-2019 cohort of Irish Awardees. The Fulbright Awards are highly competitive, globally recognised, and associated with excellence and prestige. We are proud to have such bright minds embarking on educational and cultural exchanges to the United States, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their studies and research when they return to Ireland.”

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 31 August 2018, interested applicants should visit for more information. 


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