Dr Sindy Joyce doesn’t feel comfortable being a role model, yet there is no doubt that she is exactly that, having become the first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD, gaining her doctorate at the University of Limerick.
Ms Joyce reveals that she is “really proud to be the first in the Mincéir (Traveller) community to receive a doctorate”, but sad that it has taken until 2019 for this to happen.
She speaks of breaking the glass ceiling, a phrase repeatedly used by Hillary Clinton in her failed campaign to become US president.
In fact, Ms Joyce has broken two glass ceilings, achieving her doctorate not only as a Traveller, but as a woman.
Coming just a few hours after an inquest heard about the full horror of the Carrickmines tragedy (in which 10 people died at a halting site fire), her success is a comfort to all Irish Travellers.
Her success, wrought by hard work and perseverance, is also an inspiration to us all.
What makes her achievement all the more notable is the fact her award was based on a doctoral thesis that examines how young, urban-dwelling Travellers’ experiences are shaped by their ethnicity.
For decades, Travellers have been researched, documented, examined and commented upon by those outside their community.
Now, Travellers have their own academic, with, hopefully, more to follow.