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Coveted Fulbright Awards recognise UCD scholars

Posted 14 June, 2024

Associate Professor Kate Frazer, UCD Deputy President Professor Colin Scott, Alimat Babatunde, John O’Grady, Órla Casserly, and Caleb O’Connor

Some of UCD's brightest have been awarded recognised by the (opens in a new window)Fulbright Program, enabling them to be hosted at some of America’s top universities for the next year. 

This year two awardees from UCD that received scholarships, (opens in a new window)Associate Professor Kate Frazer, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, and Caleb O’Connor, an environmental humanities and queer studies scholar graduating with a doctorate from the UCD School of English, Drama and Film.

The pair were among eight recipients of scholarships at this year’s Fulbright Irish Awards, and were presented with their awards at a ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Iveagh House.

Associate Professor Kate Frazer

As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar, Associate Professor Kate Frazer will join transdisciplinary colleagues at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), world-leading Centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education, to conduct research examining second-hand smoke exposure in marginalised communities, specifically with families experiencing homelessness.

As a Fulbright-National University of Ireland Scholar, Caleb will work with the Gallatin WetLab team at New York University to facilitate a series of workshops on queer ecopoetics and conducting a series of walking interviews with queer New Yorkers, which will inform his first monograph on queer urban ecologies. 

Caleb O’Connor

Caleb is one of Dublin’s Pride Poets who performed on the main stage of Dublin Pride in 2022 and 2023.

Receiving a Fulbright Irish Student Award was John O'Grady, who is in the third year of his PhD in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at UCD.

As a Fulbright-Teagasc Awardee at the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the University of Colorado Denver, John will leverage machine learning approaches and high-resolution bovine transcriptomics data to identify diagnostic biomarkers indicative of bovine tuberculosis disease under the guidance of Professor Casey Greene who has extensive experience in the characterisation of transcriptional biomarkers for cancer.

John O’Grady

A Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) award was presented to Órla Casserly, a UCD graduate with a first-class honours BA degree in Modern Irish and History. 

She is currently undertaking a Masters in Scríobh agus Cumarsáid na Gaeilge while working as a tutor to undergraduate and international students in UCD, and as part of the Fulbright programme She will teach Irish in Davidson-Davie Community College in North Carolina.

Órla Casserly

Also recognised at the Awards was UCD law student Alimat Babatunde, who received the prestigious ‘Study of the US Institutes’ Award for European Student Leaders – presenting her with the opportunity to meet other outstanding student leaders from across the globe at Michigan State University and gain a deeper understanding of the USA and Civic Engagement. 

Alimat was the only Irish recipient of the prestigious award this year, and is the inaugural Director for Diversity and Inclusion in the European Law Student Association.

SUSI Awardee Alimat Babatunde with US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mike Clausen

“The Fulbright Programme plays a crucial role in sustaining the close relationship that the United States and Ireland enjoy,” said Thomas Byrne TD, Minister of State for Sport, Physical Education and the Gaeltacht at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and at the Department of Education.

“As Fulbright Awardees across all disciplines embark on academic and cultural exchanges across the US, they serve as ambassadors for Ireland, forging academic links through innovative research, building global understanding, and representing the best of the island of Ireland.”

Speaking at the awards ceremony US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mike Clausen added: “Fulbright is the largest and most prestigious international educational and cultural exchange program in the world. It plays an essential role in strengthening ties between the United States and Ireland and fostering mutual understanding. 

“Through educational and cultural exchanges, Fulbright awardees work together toward common goals and finding solutions to global issues, ensuring that the spirit of transatlantic friendship continues to thrive. I warmly wish this year’s awardees every success.”

Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board Professor Paul Donnelly said in a year that saw the Commission award Fulbright Public Service Awards to Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Dr. Anthony Fauci so “too do Fulbright awardees represent the core Fulbright values of meticulous, innovative and high-quality research and teaching in service to the public good.”

The 2024-25 Fulbright Irish Awardees with Minister Byrne, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mike Clausen, Fulbright Chair Professor Paul Donnelly and Dr Dara FitzGerald

The global Fulbright Program was established in 1946, and the Fulbright Commission in Ireland annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the US and for Americans to do the same in Ireland. 

Since its formation, over 2,500 postgraduate students, scholars, professionals, and teachers across all disciplines have participated in the programme between the US and Ireland. 

“Each year, I take pride in the outstanding, passionate recipients of the Fulbright Irish Awards, and I’m filled with renewed hope and optimism for their service to Ireland. This year is no different,” said Dr Dara FitzGerald, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland.

“Fulbrighters create an impact not only through innovative research, teaching, or study, but through immersing themselves in the culture of a country and sharing their knowledge and ideas when they return home. I am certain that the empathy, understanding and passion of the Irish awardees will contribute to a global culture of understanding in today’s increasingly polarised world. 

“The Commission is deeply grateful for the 67 years of support from our partners, stakeholders and sponsors, including the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.”

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 29th August 2024. Interested candidates should (opens in a new window)visit here for more information.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie