My loft apartment is buzzing with activity. Fortunately, Prof/Dr Pam Eddy (my former dissertation advisor) arrived just in time to help with a big project.
Last night my flat-mate, Don, was in the final stretch of submitting a grant application for a prestigious fellowship. Don, Pam, and I had all hands on deck.
Winning these prestigious fellowship requires rigor, passion, and attention to detail. It often requires applying multiple years and continually refining one’s approach. The difference between winning and losing often comes down to how much critique an applicant can gather and address (plus more than a pinch of luck!).
All this, Don well knows. And he’s giving it all he’s got.
For more than a decade Don has methodically established a network of contacts across Ireland. He has continually generated new understanding of the issues immigrant children face in coming to Ireland.
With years of preparation under his belt, Don is well poised to research how Nigerian children who have immigrated to Ireland establish a sense of identity — how they come to feel they belong here, how they deal with being different, and what they think it means to be or become Irish, for instance. And, with a spike in immigration to Ireland underway, the time is ripe for Don’s study.
What Don learns can potentially help teachers deliver content more effectively in their increasingly-diverse classrooms. It can also help Irish policy makers understand issues that are central in education today.
A couple weeks ago, Don arrived for a three-month stint to collect interview data at a primary school in the nearby district of Tallaght. I had a spare room in my place just the right size for an up-and-coming research fellow.
Don and I first met at one of the 2012 photography events sponsored on my behalf by Fulbright Ireland and the University of Notre Dame’s center in Dublin. I’ve been fascinated by his topic and his emerging findings ever since.
Since his arrival this year, Don and I have convened daily to discuss our research projects. These informal conversations help us both because we are both researching diversity, education, and identity and we are both building qualitative research skills.
Thankfully, I have an excellent mentor in Pam Eddy. And thankfully, she arrived for a visit just in time to help put the final touches on Don’s grant application.
It takes a village, I think they say, to raise a fellow!
A few days before Pam’s arrival, I’d had the chance to publicly thank the team who helped carry my Marie Curie fellowship application across the finish line. Dr Jennifer Brennan, Jean Cahill, Dr Marek Rebow, and Dr Nancy Stenson went above and beyond for me and my project — editing, polishing, critiquing and lending ideas. I could not have won the EU’s International Incoming Fellowship without them! And the reference letters from Colleen Dube, Dr Mike Murphy, and Dr Pam Eddy helped seal the deal!
I’m grateful that these knowledgable mentors are willing to share their time and energy with emerging researchers like Don and me!