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Four Students Win Summer Study Awards from the Irish Fulbright Commission

June 7, 2011

From left to right: Fulbright Irish Language Summer Study Awards recipients Edward Shevlin, Professor John Gillen, Sheila Houlihan, and Professor Thomas Ihde.

Four Lehman students must have the luck of the Irish. They've won Fulbright Awards from the Ireland—United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the "Irish Fulbright Commission") to travel to the Emerald Isle this summer to deepen their studies of the Irish language.

The prestigious honor will allow Ciara Grogan, Sheila Houlihan, Garth Lambson, and Edward Shevlin—who all take classes in Lehman's Irish Language Program—to enjoy a month of travel and immersion in that language.

"I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to study in Ireland," said Edward Shevlin, a sanitation worker from Rockaway Beach, Queens. "This will be the second time I'm studying in this program and let me tell you: it is intensive." Shevlin was recently featured in the New York Daily News.

Students will take classes six days a week at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and room with local families who speak only Irish; the program carries six credits toward their B.A.

"When you look at them as though you have no idea what they're saying, they'll take it easy on you and speak in English," laughs Shevlin, who is pursing a bachelor's in historical studies at Empire State University. He hopes to go on for a master's in Irish language and history at New York University.

Professor Thomas Ihde, chair of Lehman's Languages and Literatures Department and director of the CUNY Institute for Irish American Studies, presided over the awards ceremony on June 1. He also gave out awards for excellence in elementary Irish to six students and another two awards for excellence in the Minor in Irish Language and Literature.

In addition, he recognized outstanding service on the part of Michelle Duarte, who is the secretary in the Institute for Irish-American Studies office, and Siobhán Ní Mhaolagáin, a Dublin native who has spent the year teaching the Irish language both at Lehman and Queens College as the 2010-2011 CUNY Irish Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.