Skylee Glass and Aurianna Jewell Joines, two students from the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship program, have graduated from University College Cork (UCC). 

Glass, who received a Masters in Applied Psychology, and Joines, who was conferred with a Masters in Digital Arts and Humanities, both graduated from UCC through the Choctaw-Ireland program.

UCC says the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship recognizes 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-19th Century and aims to foster and deepen the ties between the two nations today.

Choctaw-Ireland Scholars graduate from University College Cork⁣ ⁣ Congratulations to Choctaw-Ireland Scholars Skylee...

Posted by University College Cork on Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Glass, from Verden in Southwest Oklahoma, explored education, intercultural and community work in her master's thesis. UCC notes that during her time at the Irish university, Glass completed a six-month placement with the Rainbow Club, an organization that provides support for children with autism and their families.

Glass 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.”

Dr. Sharon Lambert, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology UCC, congratulated Glass, saying: “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.”

Meanwhile, Joines explored the importance of storytelling within tribal culture in her ambitious thesis 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.

Joines said: "The Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship is no small gift. This scholarship encourages both personal and professional growth, traveling 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.”

Dr Órla Murphy, Head of the School of English and Digital Humanities at UCC, congratulated Joines, saying: “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.”