My Irish Experience

Elizabeth Caldwell, COL ’25, Glenwood, IA

The Career Services Summer Funding Award allowed me to participate in a volunteer internship position at the Philadelphia Irish Center. I had the opportunity to work with Irish Center members to produce oral histories about Irish immigrants in the US, help organize the Top 100 Irish Women of Philadelphia event, and as a part of this opportunity I was able to travel to Ireland and take Gaelic lessons there.

This was one of the most unique experiences I have had in my entire life and has helped me understand not only more about Irish culture but also more about my heritage. My ancestors are from the county Fermanagh in Ireland and as a part of my experience and I actually got to visit Fermanagh where my ancestors started Belleek Pottery. This was such a unique experience as I got to make connections with the stories my grandparents had told me as children and real places and events.

As part of my internship I was also able to make a meaningful impact on the Irish community by recording their stories through oral histories so that people generations from now can hear about their immigration, their accomplishments after coming to America, and their lives. This was a project particularly special to me as I got to discover more about my heritage. I thought it was important for people to record things and make it available so that their great-grandchildren might be able to learn about their lives even after they are gone.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here

By Career Services
Career Services