LIT Fulbright Scholarship recipient Jaswinder Kaur. Picture: Alan Place.
LIT student awarded Fulbright Scholarship
Ms. Kaur aims to create discourse on shared experiences of immigration while studying in the USA. The Fulbright scholarship will allow her to attend Michigan State University to further her studies in Fungal Biology.
LIT Ph.D. student and Irish immigrant Jaswinder Kaur has been awarded the Fulbright scholarship and plans to use the opportunity to share her positive immigration story while advancing her research in fungal biology when she takes up her place at Michigan State University in October.
“I hope to use my Fulbright Scholarship experience as a platform, not just for excellence in science, but as an axiom for creating a suitable discourse for shared experiences of immigration and more specifically the impact of social movement on a personal level,” said Jaswinder on learning of her successful application.
As a sixteen-year-old, Jaswinder moved with her family to Shannon, Co. Clare from New Delhi and completed her Leaving Cert in the local Shannon Comprehensive Secondary School. A keen student of science, the Ph.D. student began her academic career by joining Limerick Institute of Technology as a Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis Undergraduate. Following graduation, she remained at the college as a Masters and then a Ph.D. student.
“When I was made aware of the transformational opportunities that Fulbright offers in terms of sharing my experiences with a great nation built on immigration (USA), then I knew instantly that this was an opportunity far too valuable to miss,” said Jaswinder,
“I hope to use the Fulbright Scholarship to advance my area of interest in fungal biology while also seeing it as an opportunity to critically analyze the similarities and differences between Ireland and the USA in terms of immigration,” she added
“My cultural and educational experiences have shaped me. The Fulbright Scholarship offers me a platform to share and learn from similar experiences.”
“I have been given equal opportunity, access to knowledge and resources. In return Ireland now has a student who is hardworking and dedicated, who is able to make great strides and leap forward in her passion. A student who can apply her knowledge to quantifiable skills and share them with her peers and her juniors,” she said.
Area of study
Jaswinder began her post grad in fungal biology in 2012. While studying at LIT she also took the opportunity to work as a research assistant on an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership project – which treated solar panel glass to increase transmission and efficiency, as well as a number of other projects.
“Ireland has the ideal climate for the growth of varied Fungi. For my research for my Ph.D., I have collected mushrooms and fungi from Irish habitats and created a Bio-bank. Selected fungi from this biobank have been screened for various bioactivities,” explained Jaswinder.
The possible benefits of this research range from medicinal (drug creation) to industrial applications for fossil fuel replacement.
While in Michigan, Jaswinder plans to advance the scientific paradigm of fungal biology and transfer knowledge in terms of database generation and genome sequencing.
Commenting on Jaswinder’s Fulbright application success, President of LIT, Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “Jaswinder Kaur is representative of a new and exciting Ireland whose citizens or their parents may not have been born here, but who make this country their home and go on to represent it with pride across the world.
“We are so proud to have played a part in Jaswinder’s academic achievements to date, and look forward to the even greater success we know awaits her.
“Jaswinder is not only an example to other new Irish citizens and residents hoping to study and build a career in Ireland, but she is a role model for all young women looking to a career in the sciences. We wish her well during her scholarship in Michigan and look forward to welcoming her back to LIT again to complete her Ph.D.,” he said.
Jaswinder said of her scholarship to Michigan, “I believe I’ll be able to create a bridge between the two institutions – Michigan State University and Limerick Institute of Technology. I propose to serve as a conduit between these two institutes of higher education with different academic approaches. I plan to share knowledge and learn as many new skills as a scientist.”
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