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Second Laois woman wins prestigious scholarship to study in America

Miriam Keegan and Caroline Dowling

A second Laois woman has secured a prestigious scholarship to study in America.

Back in April, we revealed how Miriam Keegan, a primary school teacher from Emo, will head to the States this autumn after receiving the Fulbright-EPA Student Award to study her masters in fashion and sustainability.

And now a second Laois woman – Caroline Dowling from Errill and a past pupil of St Fergal’s College who graduated in 2015 – has been granted the Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency Award to study in Cornell University.

Caroline is a PhD candidate in plant genetics at the School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin.

She completed her BSc in Plant Biology at UCD which included a semester abroad at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a research internship at the National Science and Technology Development Agency in Thailand.

Caroline’s doctoral research is funded by an Irish Research Council-Environmental Protection Agency scholarship and focuses on elucidating the genetic control of flowering time in hemp (Cannabis sativa).

Hemp is a highly versatile, sustainable crop, but to facilitate global cultivation by developing new cultivars adapted to specific climatic conditions, a greater understanding of flowering time control is crucial.

As a Fulbright-EPA Student Awardee to Cornell University in New York, Caroline will investigate the genetic variation in a hemp germplasm collection to characterize the genetic architecture of flowering time in hemp.

In simple English, Caroline is doing some science heavy research that could have a global benefit for the migration from cotton to hemp as a clothing, and broader, material.

The Fulbright Irish Student Awards are grants for Irish citizens to complete postgraduate research in the United States for a period of four months up to one year.

Congratulations to Caroline and Miriam!

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.