University Cork ScholarsPhoto by Daragh McSweeney

Choctaw-Ireland Scholars Skylee Glass and Aurianna Jewell Joines graduated from UCC on the first day of the university's spring conferring ceremonies.

Choctaw-Ireland Scholars graduate from University College Cork

April 5, 2024

CORK, Ireland – Two Choctaw-Ireland scholars, Skylee Glass and Aurianna Jewell Joines, graduated from University College Cork (UCC).

The scholarships foster and deepen the ties between Ireland and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The scholarships recognize the act of generosity and humanitarianism shown by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma towards the people of Ireland during the Great Famine of the mid-Nineteenth century.

The Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship recognises the act of generosity and humanitarianism shown by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma towards the people of Ireland during the Great Famine of the mid-Nineteenth Century. It aims foster and deepen the ties between the two nations today.

Skylee Glass, from Verden in Southwest Oklahoma, was conferred with a Masters in Applied Psychology. Her master’s thesis explored education, intercultural and community work. During her time at UCC, Skylee completed a six-month placement with the Rainbow Club, an organisation that provides support for children with autism and their families.

Skylee said: “The Choctaw-Ireland scholarship has maintained the bond between two cultures who underwent similar experiences. It has allowed me to expand my worldview and meet the best people by attending UCC. I was challenged, encouraged, and empowered while obtaining my degree. I plan to continue my education and pursue a PhD in hopes to one day open my own mental health care organization that serves underprivileged individuals because mental health care is not a privilege, it is a basic human right.”

Congratulating Skylee, Dr Sharon Lambert, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology UCC, said: “Skylee has made outstanding contributions to UCC and Ireland during her time here. In addition to her studies, Skylee engaged in important events including the Traveller Visibility Group’s Traveller Pride event, a celebration of Traveller history and culture. Skylee met with Traveller women and discussed the similarities between their communities and the shared traditions associated with indigenous nomadic cultures, and the impact on health and well-being of the forced assimilation of these cultures.”

Aurianna Jewell Joines was conferred with a Masters in Digital Arts and Humanities. Her ambitious thesis explored the importance of storytelling within tribal culture and invited others to explore the parallels between the strong storytelling tradition of the Choctaw and how that might be evidenced in digital multimedia environments.

Aurianna said: “The Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship is no small gift. This scholarship encourages both personal and professional growth, traveling and being immersed in culture, and being transformed in your way of thinking. I was challenged but encouraged through my work at UCC and my time there was a gift that I will reflect on throughout my life. I have since started my brand design studio, Foundwell Design, where I create brands and websites for heart-led businesses rooted in storytelling. I am deeply thankful to be working with small businesses, many of which are a part of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.”

Congratulating Aurianna, Dr Órla Murphy, Head of the School of English and Digital Humanities at UCC, said: “Auriana’s work expertly ensured that aspects of traditional storytelling in the contemporary lives of Choctaw creatives were explored. The digital artefact of her thesis is a series of podcasts containing interviews with other members of the Choctaw tribal nation. The resonance of the work within the community is evident. The necessity of the work in its context and the depth and richness of the material is clear in the level of engagement from the community, and the personal and community resonance of this series.”

UCC’s College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences conferring ceremony sees more than 390 candidates conferred with degrees, Masters and PhDs across diverse specialist areas including applied psychology, sociology, work and organisation behaviour, planning and sustainable development, arts management and digital humanities.

For more information on the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship, visit