Erin Murr, a graduate of Greenback High School in Greenback, Tenn., and a current junior at Maryville College, recently received the first Ken Tuck International Study Award. The award, provided from the Tuck International Study Endowment, was established by MC alumnus Ken Tuck and his wife, Sara, to help cover the cost of study abroad for students, after seeing the impact that international study had on their daughters and grandson. Murr will use her scholarship to cover the cost of housing when she attends the University of Ulster at Coltraine next semester. Murr said that she particularly chose Ireland because of her family’s heritage.
“In Greenback, everyone is like Ulster-Scots, so I thought maybe I should check this out,” she said. “My grandmother did a lot of genealogical research and traced it back to Ireland.”
Murr will be attending as a part of the highly-competitive Irish-American Scholars program, which is an exchange program established by the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, between MC and the University of Ulster. Murr is the only student from Tennessee out of 27 selected for attendance this semester. Murr explained that she is eager to visit a new place and try new things.
“[I will be] living on my own for the first time,” Murr said. “I commute to college. This will be the first time living with people my own age, outside of the influence of my parents. This will be the first time I’ve ever been out of the country, so this is exciting.” Murr will also visit other parts of Europe on her trip abroad, and she said that she hopes to visit Italy with her mother, Lynne, as well as Scotland with her sister, Michelle. She also wants to visit England.
“I want go to Cardiff and see where they film Doctor Who, go to 221 Baker St. and the Sherlock Holmes Museum,” Murr said. Although this is her first trip abroad, Murr said that she does not plan on it being her last. “I want to travel everywhere,” she said. “I want to learn history from all the perspectives I can.”
Study is the primary reason for going to Ireland, Murr explained. “I don’t think that would have been a big deal before going to Maryville College, but it is a really big deal now.” Murr is a history major, and thinks that it will be a life-changing experience for her to study the subject abroad. “I love learning history here, but I’ll be learning it from an Irish perspective,” Murr said.
She said that as the time to leaves draws closer, she is more and more excited and nervous, but that she is “ready to take on whatever may come at her. “ Murr will be leaving in late January, and returning in the summer. “I really want to explore,” Murr said. “I want to do everything possible.”