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17 October 2019  


Rita Melia

Dr Rita Melia, 2016 Fulbright-NUI Student Award recipient.

Dr Rita Melia, 2016 Fulbright-NUI Student Award recipient.

 

Rita Melia received a Fulbright- NUI Award as a Visiting Predoctoral Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Education under the faculty sponsorship of Professor Howard Gardner from Sept 2016 to Jan 2017. She is a graduate of NUI Galway.


"As a mature student I completed my primary degree at NUI Galway in 2010; BA in Community & Family Studies, Community Education Centre, Adult and continuing Education NUI Galway. The idea that a mature student, studying early childhood education and care, an area of research in Ireland which is currently under developed could even aspire to undertaking a structured PhD programme and be awarded a Fulbright – NUI scholarship to Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education is testament to the vision of NUI Galway. Vision 2020 NUI Galway Strategic Plan emphasises the universities commitment to challenge and intellectually stimulate students to enrich their leadership potential, while maximising research potential within a global context."


"My Fulbright- NUI award was an experience
of a lifetime, some might say a rags to riches story.
The dual award also confirms that NUI are committed
to challenging, stimulating and enriching the leadership potential of all NUI students any thanks
for this wonderful lifelong learning opportunity.”

"Project Zero Harvard Graduate School of Education and my relationship with North America Reggio Emilia Alliance offered the perfect collaboration and partnership to conduct comparative ethnographic research in Reggio inspired preschools in Boston. Being a mature student brought many advantages to my scholarship experience. As an Irish Research Council Scholar; employment-based post graduate programme, I was in a position to link my knowledge of research, policy and practice and highlight the excellent progress and commitment by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs to Early Childhood Education and Care in Ireland to an American audience. Being a Fulbright-NUI awardee afforded me the opportunity to give credible visibility to the importance of research in early childhood education and care."

"My Fulbright – NUI award offered opportunities to meet with and build relationships with experts many of whom I have referenced in my PhD research. I embraced every opportunity attending public lectures, conferences and undertaking a module on play at Leslie University. I also travelled extensively within the United States and developed and further expanded my connections in research, policy and practice. I was invited as a key note speaker to present on the Irish context of Early Childhood Education & Care at Wheelock University Boston. The North America Reggio Emilia Alliance extended an invitation to present with other international speakers at their conference in Atlanta Georgia. While in Atlanta I met with the Irish Consul General Mr. Shane Stephens. I was awarded one of thirteen lasting leadership legacy Scholarship to attend the National Association for the Education of Young Children in LA. Further relationships were developed while attending a Fulbright enrichment seminar in Houston Texas which also included a trip to NASA!!"

James receiving his Travelling Studentship award from NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning at the 2016 NUI Awards Ceremony

Dr Rita Melia receiving her Fulbright-NUI Award from Dr Dara FitzGerald, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland at the 2016 Fulbright Awards Ceremony.

"Before leaving Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh on behalf of the City of Boston awarded me a Certificate of Recognition for my service to Early Childhood Education. Jan 9th, 2017. The Irish Emigrant Boston headline read: Athenry lady receives Fulbright National University Ireland Scholarship. I embraced social media from the outset and started to tweet my experiences these were retweeted by NUI, NUIG and Fulbright, this further helped to raise the profile of Early Childhood Education and the Fulbright NUI Award."

"Since my return I have been appointed Director of Training & Practice Early Childhood Ireland. My Fulbright- NUI award was an experience of a lifetime, some might say a rags to riches story. As the owner/ manager of a childcare setting, on a journey or “Aistear” through adult education to Harvard Graduate School of Education. The dual award was most significant as the recognition of coming from one of the National Universities of Ireland provided credibility to my research, but also built on links which had been previously established. For me the dual award was a confirmation that NUI are committed to research in early childhood education and care and recognise its importance for children and families. The dual award also confirms that NUI are committed to challenging, stimulating and enriching the leadership potential of all NUI students any thanks for this wonderful lifelong learning opportunity."

For more information please see the Fulbright-NUI Student Award section
on our Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships page.