TWO of the 31 Irish people to earn Fulbright awards to study and work in the US are from West Cork.
Hannah Collins from Skibbereen and Vera O’Riordan from Macroom were selected on the basis of their research and academic projects as well as their leadership qualities.
Earning a Fulbrite scholarship has a certain cachet given that 60 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes while 88 more have won Pulitzers.
Skibbereen’s Hannah – who graduated with a first-class honours BA in music and Irish from UCC in 2019 – will be teaching Irish to Americans at the University of Montana.
Hannah attended on a full Quercus Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship, and went on to complete a BMus in 2020, where she graduated top of the class.
During her time in UCC, she was particularly involved in organising events with the Traditional Music Society as well as the university’s Irish society, An Chuallacht, and the residential Irish accommodation, Áras Uí Thuama.
Her love of the language was clearly fostered after many summers working as a ceannaire and as a bean an tí on Cape Clear Island.
She is a traditional piano player and composer, and is currently undertaking an MA in Irish traditional music in Maynooth University.
Macroom’s Vera is a PhD student in energy engineering at the School of Engineering at UCC. Previously, she interned as a building services engineer, and spent a year studying at the University of California.
Her doctoral research is based at Marine and Renewable Energy Institute with the Energy Policy and Modelling Group, where her work focuses on low-carbon pathways for passenger transport in Ireland.
As a Fulbright-EPA student awardee, Vera will visit Tufts University and the Stockholm Environment Institute where she will explore the use of an energy systems modelling tools developed there.