Excellent opportunities for ATU students and staff to study, research or teach in the US on Fulbright programme

Monday, October 24, 2022 Press Office
Press Releases
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Dr Rita Melia, lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care at Atlantic Technological University (ATU), was recently appointed ATU Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, succeeding former campus Ambassador Katharine West. Dr Melia will continue the work of promoting the Fulbright programme and opportunities to students and staff to study, research or teach in the USA.

Fulbright Campus Ambassadors are Fulbright Alumni appointed by the Fulbright Commission in Ireland. Currently there are 21 Fulbright Irish Campus Ambassadors in Higher Education Institutions around Ireland. 

Dr Melia will offer guidance on how to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship and will liaise with ATU faculty to grow new Ireland-USA networks and collaborations through hosting Fulbright US scholars and students.
Dr Melia is a member of the Children's Research Network Ireland (CRNI), ATU Taught Programmes Research Ethics Committee (TREC) Mayo Campus and Membership Secretary Irish Fulbright Alumni Association. She completed a Fulbright scholarship to Harvard Graduate School of Education under the sponsorship of Professor Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences Theory) in 2016-2017.  

Fulbright Commission Executive Director Dara Fitzgerald attended a recent reception in ATU Galway with Fulbright Scholars Dr George Dierberger and Dr Tammie Bolling who are based in the ATU Donegal Faculty of Business and Dr Debra Shutika who is based in the Dept of Heritage and Tourism, ATU Mayo campus. They shared their Fulbright experiences along with Dr Seamus Dowling, Programme Chair and lecturer in Cybersecurity at ATU Galway-Mayo, who recently returned from a Fulbright-Tech Impact Scholarship to the Data Privacy and Security lab at the University of Texas, Dallas.

Through these Fulbright scholarships, Dr Melia and Dr Dowling, and others before them, have established new partnerships and created lasting connections between ATU and US institutions. 

ATU President Dr Orla Flynn, says: “The Fulbright programme offers an extraordinary opportunity to broaden horizons, develop relationships, and deepen knowledge. I would really like to encourage our staff and students right across ATU to engage with Fulbright. The possibilities are endless. A special word of thanks to The Fulbright Commission in Ireland for their support and encouragement!” 

Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland Dr Dara Fitzgerald, says: “We are delighted to work with ATU to create new Ireland-US collaborations and strengthen existing partnerships. There is so much potential for growth in this area and we are excited to see this year’s ATU applications for the Fulbright Irish Awards. Dr Melia has taken part in Fulbright interview panels and will be able to provide great insight to ATU students and staff who are considering visiting the USA through these scholarships. We are grateful to President Dr Orla Flynn for her support of the Fulbright Program and look forward to meeting with her and other faculty members and students at ATU Galway this September.”   

Fulbright Campus Ambassador Dr Rita Melia says: “I am delighted to be appointed as the Fulbright Ambassador to ATU. I will follow in the steps of the Fulbright ambassadors who have promoted the Fulbright programme to students and staff across the ATU campuses and be guided by them. My Fulbright experience was as a PhD student, but I have offered advice and support to numerous lecturers and students across different disciplines in various academic institutions nationally. I look forward to supporting ATU lecturers and students to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. My Fulbright experience was lifechanging on a personal and a professional level.

“The mission of the Ireland-United States Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange is to fortify Irish and American collaboration through exchanges of talent, knowledge and scholarship. While the vision of the Irish Fulbright Commission is to inspire minds to create a global culture of understanding and solidarity by nurturing academic and professional excellence, expertise and leadership.

“I encourage ATU students and staff to consider applying for a Fulbright scholarship. A Fulbright scholarship offers opportunities for reciprocal learning, mutual understandings and exchange of academic and professional expertise and knowledge across a range of academic and cultural interests.”

The 2023-2024 Fulbright Irish Awards opened for applications on 31 August 2022. Visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.  To learn more about the Fulbright Awards for Irish and EU citizens and find out how you can host US Scholars and students at ATU contact rita.melia@atu.ie

The Fulbright Commission in Ireland
The global Fulbright Program was established in 1946. Ireland-U.S. exchanges began in 1957 and the Fulbright Commission in Ireland annually awards grants for Irish and EU students, scholars and professionals with 5+ years relevant experience to study, research, or teach in the U.S. 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 program between the U.S. and Ireland. The Commission is supported by the U.S. Department of State and the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs. It is also a registered charity.