From California

It is hard to believe but I am writing from Stanford, California. It is amazing how fast the year flew by. It seems like just yesterday I arrived in Belfast. My program is not over though – I am currently working on my dissertation. This summer I am interning at the Stanford Law Center for Internet & Society where I am researching self-driving vehicles and I am planning to utilize the research in my dissertation.

The week before I left Belfast I participated in the Mitchell graduation events with the other scholars. The events were wonderful! In Dublin we met President Higgens at Áras an Uachtaráin (the official resident), Abbot Mark Hederman of Glenstal Abbey presented us scholars with rings, and then we took a trip to Cork with USIA President Trina Vargo. In Cork, real estate developer Tom McCarthy hosted a dinner for us at Fota House and later we had dinner with Sean O’Sullivan of SOS Ventures in Kinsale. Fota House is a magnificent historical house, arboretum, and garden now in the care of the Irish Heritage Trust. We received a tour of the property before dinner and learned of how the property has been restored. On our way to Cork from Dublin we stopped at Kildare Village where me met photographer John Minihan in a gallery displaying his work. We saw John’s iconic photo of Princess Diana. Next we stopped at animation studio Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny and saw how animated movies are made – the work is quite tedious. The animators and artists are incredibly talented.

Overall this year has been nothing short of marvelous and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to study on the island of Ireland. I’ve made many friends that I plan to keep in touch with and I look forward to visiting the island – although I must say the weather is just a little better in California!

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