Aoife Grady has a full schedule between the two courses she is taking at San Jose State University, working at an internship at Cypress Semiconductors and working on her thesis as the final requirement to complete her master’s in electronic and computer engineering from Dublin City University (DCU). Grady is this year’s recipient of the Pat McMahon Masters Level Exchange Scholarship that allows a student from Ireland to study at SJSU.
“Obviously there was the draw of Silicon Valley name, and I wanted to experience it,” she said. “I wanted the just to explore and travel as well, so it was a great opportunity to study abroad here, and live and meet other people.”
The scholarship Grady received is the first of its kind to be offered by a US-Irish sister city program and is aimed at deepening existing economic ties between the two cities and nations. The program is named for Patrick Ross McMahon, who was the founding chairman of the San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program. McMahon was born in Dublin and emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, eventually settling in San Jose.
At her internship, Grady is part of the Internet of Things group where she is working on her master’s thesis, which involves speech recognition and audio processing. She is not new to the company, as she completed an internship with Cypress Semiconductor’s Irish location as an undergraduate. She said the Silicon Valley location has more people and has allowed her to learn about the many different roles the company has for employees.
“I have the opportunity to work with intelligent, qualified people,” she said.
In addition to her coursework and internship, Grady has also appreciated the opportunity to live at SJSU’s International House.
“It’s a good setup that I would recommend to any international student,” she said. “It’s really interesting to learn about everyone’s culture and see how we all are adjusting.”
She will continue working at Cypress throughout the summer and hopes to submit her thesis to DCU. Before then, she hopes to take a few more weekend trips with her newfound friends in I-House, with Yosemite high on the list of possibilities.
The College of Professional and Global Education, SJSU and the Sister City Program expanded the scholarship series to allow an SJSU graduate student study in Ireland in 2017.
Megan Moriarty, a sculptor who is earning a master’s of fine arts in spatial studies from SJSU’s College of Humanities and the Arts, is studying at DCU for eight months during which she is also working with the Dublin City Arts Office. She is focusing her attention on public sculpture and new methods of engagement with fine art.
Before embarking on the exchange program, Moriarty shared this in a blog post on her website: “When I am not bouncing around the city, I will be traveling the countryside to explore my ancestral homeland and the history of Irish art. This extraordinary journey is a culminating moment in my master’s research in how spirituality, nature, and technology are woven into contemporary art. I am so thankful to the SJSU Art faculty and fellow students who have supported my aspirations and guided me to this point.”