Watson Chronicle


Education Updates and Features

Higher Ed Students Complete Internships in Maynooth, Ireland

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Six students enrolled in WCE higher education programs participated in an internship experience in Maynooth, Ireland in October. Assistant professors James DeVita and Andrew Ryder led the experience in partnership with Maynooth University.

The internship, offered each fall, is designed to provide students with rich applied learning and cultural experiences. Pre-departure activities included an overview of Irish history, the education system, politics and sports, as well as introductory Skype meetings with the students’ internship mentors.

The trip began with a weekend in Dublin steeped in history and culture. The group toured Trinity College Dublin, where they had an opportunity to view rare manuscripts including the Book of Kells, a ninth century handwritten and richly decorated copy of the Gospels, considered to be Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure. They also participated in the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour, which details the Easter Rising of 1916 against British Rule and events leading to the declaration of the Irish Free State in 1922 and Irish Republic in 1949.

Upon arrival at Maynooth University, students had an opportunity to work in a variety of campus offices including the Graduate Student Office, the Equity Office and the Office of the Dean for Teaching and Learning, a new office created to provide student academic and social support, and to infuse more innovative pedagogies into the university courses.

“Academic and social support services that are common at U.S. colleges and universities, are brand new at Maynooth,” Ryder said. “Often these services are lean as the university works to manage to a growing student population.” As an example, Maynooth University does not have professional student advisors, he said. Instead, undergraduate students are elected to serve as Student Academic Representatives. Their responsibilities include representing students’ interests to the faculty, and providing academic advice and support for their peers.

Highlights of the trip included a presentation by Catriona McGrattan, a doctoral student who shared a comparative perspective on Irish and U.S. higher education with a focus on student services; an opportunity to play Gaelic Football with a coach from the local Gaelic Athletic Association; and a final evening shared with WCE’s Maynooth University internship mentors and hosts.

“Our partnership with Maynooth has grown stronger each year,” Ryder said. “When we started, I had to individually make a case with internship hosts for what our students could learn and how we could contribute to the university during our two-week stay. Now, it’s a true partnership. Our students experience remarkable professional and personal growth, and we all work hard to ensure we produce something of value to leave behind when the trip comes to a close.”

The next Maynooth internship will be offered in fall 2018. The program is open to all students who have completed six to nine credits in a masters or doctoral higher education program at the Watson College. For more information, visit the website