UL student becomes first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD

UL student becomes first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD
Dr Sindy Joyce. Picture: True Meida

Among the 1,715 University of Limerick students who celebrated their graduations yesterday was Dr Sindy Joyce, who became the first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD.

Joyce, a well-known human rights activist in her own right, was one of a number of familiar faces who gowned up and received a scroll at UL, including musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof and best-selling novelist Marian Keyes, who were each awarded with Honourary Doctorates of Letters.

In total there, 67 students were conferred with PhD awards.

Joyce, a proud Mincéir (Traveller) is a doctoral graduate of UL’s Department of Sociology.

Her PhD thesis examines how young Travellers’ movements, through access to and use of public and commercial urban space, are shaped by their ethnicity and by anti-Traveller racism.

Through her analysis, Dr Joyce illuminates the boundaries that young Travellers encounter in urban spaces, and highlights how young Travellers have developed a range of tactics to negotiate boundaries and the risks associated with traversing them.

Congratulating Joyce on her historic achievement, Martin Collins Co-Director Pavee Point, said her research “gives important visibility to the Traveller perspective, in this case, the perspective of young Travellers in Galway”.

Mr Collins said it was rare for a Traveller to research and document their own community.

"Travellers, down through the years, have often been researched and documented – but usually by people outside our community. It is an important step for Travellers that we have our own academics who can decide what is important from a research point of view – and what is ethical in carrying out this research.”

He described Joyce as “a great role model and an inspiration” for the community.

“Her hard work and determination in her studies show that all Travellers are missing are the opportunities to succeed,” he added.

Mr Collins said the “Irish Traveller Movement is delighted to pay tribute to Sindy Joyce, PhD for her outstanding achievement”.

“This PhD compliments her reputation as a committed human rights defender and passionate educationalist, whose community is to the forefront of her focus.” “Given her ongoing research interests, she is a deserved education ambassador especially for anyone who advocates for equality through the difficult lens of experience.”

Dr Sindy Joyce. Picture: True Meida
Dr Sindy Joyce. Picture: True Meida

During the course of her studies at UL, Dr Joyce was awarded a number of competitive awards, including an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholarship, and the University of Limerick FAHSS Dean’s Scholarship, and AHSS Registrar’s Scholarship Award.

UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald explained that “UL's graduate employment rate for 2017 primary degree-holders is now 17% higher than the HEA’s most recently-available national average figure which is 62% for 2016 graduates”.

“80% of UL’s 2017 graduates are employed, 18% have chosen to take on the further study with just 2% seeking employment,” Mr Fitzgerald added.

On Friday, UL will confer Honourary Doctorates on Noel and Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler of The Cranberries as well as awarding the band’s late singer Dolores O’Riordan with a special posthumous award.

More on this topic

17 new scholarships for asylum seekers as UL designated as "University of Sanctuary"  17 new scholarships for asylum seekers as UL designated as "University of Sanctuary"


More in this Section

Fatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker saysFatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker says

Man due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin parkMan due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin park

Homeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton JohnHomeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton John

Katherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusalsKatherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusals


Lifestyle

As UK legend John Surman gets ready to play at Cork’s jazz fest, he tells Philip Watson about his well-travelled career and why he’s so angry about Brexit.Jazz legend John Surman on a well travelled career and why he's angry about Brexit

Dr Naomi Lavelle answers a weekly science question.Fish live in water all their lives but does that mean that they never get thirsty or do they even drink at all? To answer these questions we need to look at where the fish live.Appliance of Science: Do fish ever get thirsty?

More From The Irish Examiner