Undergraduate Symposium   January 12 2019

Institute of Study Abroad Ireland, Bundoran Donegal

On Saturday January 12th, students from five institutes of education participated in our Transatlantic Connections symposium,  sharing their knowledge and experience of contemporary and cultural topics. We welcomed students from Birmingham Southern College Alabama, Drew University New Jersey, The University of Ulster Derry Northern Ireland, Letterkenny Institute of Technology Donegal and St. Angela’s College (NUIG) Sligo.


9:30am Panel 1 Irish History and Philosophy

Chair: Professor William B. Rogers, Drew University

Andy D’Amato, “The Squad, Political Upheaval and Violence in the Irish War of Independence”

John Rinald, “The Irish Philosophy of George Barclay”


10:10am Panel 2:  Engagement with/for Education: The Irish University Experience

Chair: Dr. Maria Gallo, St. Angela’s College NUIG

Marie Lyons (President of the St Angela’s Students’ Union)

Debra Pikul


11.00am Panel 3: Women’s Experiences in Alabama and Ireland

Chair: Professor Sandra L. Sprayberry, Birmingham-Southern College

Rachel Woods, “The Ghosts of History: Women’s Rights Campaigns from Alabama to Ireland”

Julianna Schock, “’Ain’t Gonna Let No Kilmainham Turn Me ‘Round:’ Prison Experiences of Women in the Easter Rising and the American Civil Rights Movement”

Hailey Mullins-Portera, “’On Behalf of Myself and All Other Women:’ An Examination of Reproductive Rights in America and Ireland”


11:40AM Panel 5: Irish Literature

Chair: Professor William B. Rogers, Drew University

Rowan Baxter-Green (Allegheny College)   “Shallow Wilderness: Working to Expand Interest in Suburban Ecology”

Lauren Downs  “Influences of Traditional Irish Music on Rock Music”

Mary Ferguson,   “The Representation of Class in John Millington Synge and Oscar Wilde”

Olivia Kingree “Sacred Soil’: The Meanings of Soil in Seamus Heaney’s Opened Ground”


12:15 Panel 4: Religion, Rights, and Repression

Chair: Professor Gina Armstrong Birmingham Southern College

Salma Crank, “Sectarianism and schools: The Philadelphia Bible riots, Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, and the results of a U.S. Supreme Court decision”

Connor Hansen, “’We’ll Fight for Uncle Sam:’ The Irish and African American Struggle for Citizenship during the Civil War”

Andrew McMahon, “Political Disenfranchisement in America and Northern Ireland: A Comparison”




2PM Panel 6 Irish Studies at University of Ulster

Chair: Dr. Niall Comer Ollscoil Uladh; Ulster University

Duane Long “Laoi na Mná Móire: The Composition and Performance of an Ossianic Ballad: Irish Storytelling”

Lauren O’Neil “Harping with words:  Re-imagining harp accompaniment to early Irish poetry”


2:40PM Panel 7: Torture, Imprisonment, and Intimidation

Chair: Professor Gina Armstrong Birmingham Southern College

Nathan Watson, “Bombing as an Intimidation Tactic: Bombs during the Irish Troubles and Birmingham Civil Rights Movement”

McKenzie Driskell, “Though there are torturers in the World:’ Torture during The Troubles and American Civil Rights Movement”

Stephanie Hochu, “In Prison You’ve Got All Kinds of People: The Violation of Human Rights in the Prison System”

Emily Wise, “The Crime of Being: Examining the Suffering of Pivotal Radical Figures from the American Indian Movement and Easter Rising”


3:10PM Panel 8: Community Engagement   

Professor Siobhan Cullen, Letterkenny Institute of Technology Donegal

Ryan McLaughlin “Donegal GAA and work placement in the Community”

Tara Gallagher “work placement (German-speaking, in Donegal) and internship in the Community”

Sarah Browne “Street Law”


4PM Panel 9: Irish and American Connections

Chair: Professor William B. Rogers, Drew University

Stephanie Burns, “The Election of JFK and its Impact on Irish American Culture”

Heather Dupont,    “The punk rock movement in Ireland”

Neelesh Kantheti,”The Green in the Blue: The Impact of An Gorta Mor on the American Civil War

4:40PM Panel 10 Arts Empowerment and Culture

Chair: Professor Sandra L. Sprayberry, Birmingham-Southern College

Sherronda Burt, “Across the world: Comparing education systems in Ireland and Alabama”

Alexis Nail, “Culture and Coping: Using culture as a means of empowerment during times of adversity in Northern Ireland and Black America”

Mitchell Kimbell, “’The Times They are a’ Changin’:’ Similarities Between Irish and American Civil Rights Music”

Ben Kimbell, “Voices are Heard the Loudest: the use of a child’s voice in Dublin and Birmingham’s poetry”