What Colleen Did on Summer Vacation

The first day of classes looms ahead, and we all are wondering where the summer went. Some of us had time for vacations, others worked most of the summer—many probably wish there were a few more weeks before we get back to classes (on either side of the lectern!).

Colleen Fessler, a history major who will graduate in Fall 2015, worked (she’s one of the student workers in the history department office) and studied, like most Marquette students. But she was also as one of a half dozen young people selected for the Saint Patrick’s Centre of Northern Ireland’s Young Ambassador program (http://youngambassadorprogram.com/), which is designed to connect Americans with Northern Irish culture and to encourage them to conduct original research about some aspect of that culture.

Colleen reflected on the experience on her blog, “A Young Ambassador’s Journey Through Northern Ireland.”  You can read more about her and her journey at http://colleenfessler.weebly.com/. But here’s a brief excerpt:

The beautiful new dome atop the Victoria’s Square shopping centre is yet another testament to the progress Belfast and Northern Ireland has made since the troubles considering it is made entirely out of glass, allowing for a breathtaking 360 view of the city. Any type of construction across Northern Ireland throughout the past few decades never considered the use of glass because the fear of petrol bombs, IRA or Paramilitary/UVF attacks destroying the glass was all too real, so the fact that the city has confidence in building all glass buildings & domes is very significant in a change of times.


The Ulster Museum also had a wonderfully powerful exhibit called “Silent Testimony” dedicated to the Troubles created by a local artist. The exhibit consisted of large 3-D type portraits (oil on canvas) of people who experienced extreme personal losses, accompanied by a personal statement of their own story. The room was filled from wall to wall with these personal testaments and only offers a glimpse into what the people of Northern Ireland experienced during this time of their history.

Find out more about the project, Colleen, and Northern Ireland, on Colleen’s blog.


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