My first trip across the Atlantic to the European city of Dublin, Ireland began with a short flight from Huntsville to Charlotte, followed by a not-so-short transatlantic flight into Dublin. Our group of six started our first day in Dublin with a walking tour of the historical area of the city. We had the opportunity to visit the Book of Kells and the Long Room in the Trinity College Library — both humbling sites to see.
We started day two of our trip with a bus tour of the city. Some of the highlights of the bus tour was getting to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin’s historical Georgian Squares where every door is a different color, and the beautiful Phoenix Park. Following this we traveled to the Innovation Academy at the University College of Dublin for a Design Thinking Workshop where we learned about how different ideas from individuals can be merged to create solutions to problems. We participated in an exercise where we were assigned with redesigning the umbrella. In this exercise, we were required to conduct interviews with passers-by around the university and then discuss as a group the data gathered from the interviews. From this data we continued the design thinking process of creating a prototype, testing our redesigned umbrella, and presenting the prototype. It was a fun exercise, and we learned about how each other thinks as well as how we, ourselves, think.
Day three was my favorite day. As if the four hour drive to the northern coast of Ireland wasn’t beautiful enough, we got to see the natural phenomenon known as Giant’s Causeway. As we got off the bus, we took a twenty minute hike down the mountain to see the naturally formed hexagonal columns that extend from the water. As I stood on the columns looking at the waves crashing in from the sea and looked back toward the massive mountains, I couldn’t help but be in awe of God’s handiwork.
The fourth day of my trip started off with a walking tour of Dublin’s Silicon Docks. With Ireland’s 15% corporate tax rate, large companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others house their European headquarters in the Silicon Docks district. After eating lunch we visited LogoGrab, a technology company known for its technology in logo recognition software. Many companies such as Coca-Cola, AT&T, and other companies with trademarked logos seek out LogoGrab to have analysis on the use of their logos through social media posts. This is a way they can monitor when and how their logo is being used. If you have a public account on Facebook or Instagram, there is a great chance that a photo you have posted is in LogoGrab’s database and has been part of a logo analysis. Following this lecture, one of my classmates and I walked over to the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute where we had the opportunity to interview a postdoc Ph.D. about her research in cancer. She informed us of the innovations of today in cancer research, including immunotherapy in which she specializes. After the interview she took us to her lab for a quick look.
On Friday, our last day in Dublin, we attended a MAKESHOP workshop. MAKESHOP is a place owned by the Science Gallery at Trinity College where the public can attend hands-on workshops where they can actively learn about science and put their knowledge into practice. Our group learned how to solder on circuit boards. We used the knowledge we acquired to create a portable speaker that can be plugged into an auxiliary port on a device.
We did have to come back to the USA on the seventh day, but I will never forget the incredible experience I had in Dublin, Ireland. The opportunities I have had at UAH are incredible. I was humbled to receive the Honors SAGA airfare grant, and I am forever grateful for that. Below are some of my favorite photos. Until next time, Dublin.