Five students in Ireland as part of Irish Fellows Program

Five Hastings College students arrived in Ireland last week as part of this year’s Irish Fellowship Program, a competitive study abroad program that allows students to conduct their own research in Ireland. The group will live in County Clare, a region in the west of Ireland that offers educational opportunities suitable for the students, before they return to campus October 19.

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Five Hastings College students are spending a month in Ireland as part of the Irish Fellows Program. They include (from left) Karson Weiss, Alissa Bailey, Kierra Spurgeon, Josephine Parker and Emily Nevins.

“Irish Fellows is an undergraduate program that gives Hastings College students the opportunity to learn both academic and life skills while they conduct an independent research project that aligns with their academic interest,” said Dr. Rob Babcock, a Hastings College history professor and director of the program.

To be considered for the Irish Fellows program, students are required to submit a project proposal, which includes a main research component. Then after completing their research in Ireland, students will present their findings in a public forum later in the academic year.

The program is sponsored by Hastings College and is funded nearly entirely by donations from alumni and friends of the college, including many former Fellows, and exists in partnership with Davy Spillane, the Grammy Award-winning Irish musician. The goal of the program is to blend on-campus coursework with independent study while in County Clare.

The 2023-24 Irish Fellows include:

  • Emily Nevins, an English and Marketing major from Littleton, Colorado, who is completing an internship with Salmon Poetry Publisher.
  • Kierra Spurgeon, a biology major from Omaha, Nebraska, studying “From Genes to Breeds: the use of Genetics in Livestock Research in Nebraska versus Ireland Compared.”
  • Karson Weiss, an art major from Hastings, Nebraska, studying “The Evolution of Irish Ceramics Based on Historical and Societal Context.”
  • Josephine Parker, a business and community development major from Omaha, studying “A Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Brain Drain between rural Nebraska and rural Irish communities.”
  • Alissa Bailey, a biology major from Gibbon, Nebraska, studying “Emergency Medical Training Comparison: Ireland and the U.S.”

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