Monday 22 July 2019

Lucy looks to make her mark in DC

Doneraile student to take part in prestigious US programme

Bill Browne

A woman from Doneraile is among a select group of third-level students from across the island of Ireland selected to take part in a prestigious US-based initiative aimed at nurturing the talents of the next generation of Irish leaders.

Lucy Roche, a final-year BSc Government student at University College Cork, is among 31 Irish people taking part in the 2019 Washington Ireland Program (WIP).

Now in its 25th year, the programme offers participants internships with government departments, businesses, research organisations and advocacy bodies in Washington DC and New York City. 

Since its establishment, WIP has played a key role in post-conflict Ireland by bringing together young leaders from different communities and backgrounds to take part in its leadership and skills development programme. 

During the placements, each participant is  guided through an extensive curriculum focussing on the two core tenets of the WIP program - leadership skills and commitment to community service. 

The participants are hosted by families, offering them an insight into life in the US and are encouraged throughout the programme to interact with their fellow interns, business leaders and  prominent American politicians. 

On their return to Ireland they are supported to use their new-found skills to address the issues and challenges within the wider Irish community. 

Past-alumni have gone on to forge successful careers within Irish politics, business, the academia and the arts.  Lucy, the only student from UCC to be selected for this year's programme from 420 applicants, will be interning with the Irish embassy in Washington DC for the summer. 

A passionate advocate for women's rights, Lucy has combined this with her interest in education and politics through volunteering and becoming involved in students societies. 

She has undertaken voluntary work with the Suas Literary Programme, the SVP Homework Club, and as a Brownie leader in Edinburgh during an internship as part of her degree in the Scottish Parliament with Labour MSP Jackie Baille. 

The former chair of UCC's Young Fine Gael (YFG) branch, Lucy currently sits on the YFG Women's Network with the aim of encouraging more females in to politics and was last year among just 40 women from across Europe chosen to participate in the annual European Women's Lobby AGORA Young Feminist Summer Camp.