High-performing Dublin City University student, Tessa Ronan, from Portmarnock, Dublin will be blazing a trail across the Atlantic after being awarded the prestigious 2016 Pat McMahon Master-level scholarship by An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh; Mr. Stuart Dwyer, Chargé d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Ireland and Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council Chief Executive. 

The one-year, 50,000 Euro scholarship was awarded at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House and is a key element of the 30- year old San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program “twinning” relationship.  It will see Tessa taking up a study and work placement in California with San Jose State University and the award’s corporate sponsor, Cypress Semiconductor, Inc (www.cypress.com).

Tessa is the fourth recipient since the scholarship was started, the fourth with a focus in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and is the initiative’s first female winner.  She joins previous winners Louis Free, the 2015 scholar, who has recently returned to Dublin after completing his placement with Cypress Semiconductors; Andrew Kiernan, 2014 and Barry Cannon, the founding year scholar from 2013.

US Scholarship Lunch. Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

(L-R) An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh; Tessa Ronan and Mr. Stuart Dwyer, Chargé d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Ireland

With 50 per cent of all direct foreign investment (DFI) in Ireland coming from within 25 miles of San Jose, the Pat McMahon scholarship exchange deepens existing strong economic ties while providing San Jose companies with access to Ireland’s most promising engineering talent.  It is the first master’s level exchange to be offered by a US-Irish sister city program relationship, and the first known scholarship of its kind among the 2600 city within the Sister Cities International (SCI) network movement.

Tessa Ronan said: “I am really looking forward to the year ahead. The Scholarship and the experience of studying and working in California will develop my skills, knowledge and confidence. I appreciate the opportunity and I hope it will also open doors to employment in companies that value and need the expertise that my studies in DCU have given me.  I am particularly proud that winning this scholarship reflects well on my parents and the inspiring staff and students in the School of Physical Sciences in DCU.  I am especially grateful to my wonderful parents and brothers for their continuous love and support.”

An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh commented: “International work and study is good for the individual in terms of developing experience and broadening mindsets. Dublin’s relationship with San Jose is paying valuable dividends by developing talent and building a network of ‘ambassadors’ for the sister cities.  Tessa’s award is the latest practical benefit of the 30-year San Jose-Dublin sister city program.  I wish her the very best for her time in San Jose and I look forward to her returning full of valuable experience for Dublin and the wider Irish economy.”

Speaking at the event, Tim Quigley, Chairman of the San Jose-Dublin sister city program added: “The San Jose-Dublin Sister City initiative has practical and focused programs that exchange people and knowledge, honour shared arts, culture and heritage while also promoting trade, investment and tourism.  At present, the funding for the scholarship is almost exclusively from private donations and corporate sponsorship on the USA side taking an Irish student from DCU to Silicon Valley, so we are looking for a significant and tech-related Irish company to fund a student in San Jose to come to Dublin to enrich and expand his/her academic and life experience while honing personal entrepreneurial skills.”

Peter Finnegan Dublin City Director of International Relations commented: “Sister City or twinning relationships have had a bad press in the past. Next year we will host a Summit between Irish and US Sister Cities/counties on the theme ‘Independence and Interdependence’. This Summit will help develop practical projects that can demonstrate the benefit of cities connecting with one another. This Scholarship will stand as one example of what can be achieved.”