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Transatlantic Scholars, Virginia-Ireland

Irish castle at the edge of a body of water
Kylemore Abbey, County Galway, Irland/Ireland. Photo: Thorsten Pohl.

In 2022-2023 CEUTTSS and VCSS are partnering with schools in Virginia and Ireland. Our goals for the program include:  

For students

  • Inspire global citizenship
  • Ignite connections between students across the Atlantic
  • Broaden students’ horizons to other cultures and societies in Europe
  • Prepare students for their futures as active citizens and lifelong learners
  • Renew and extend connections between students within their own peer-communities.

For teachers

  • Provide professional development opportunities both with Virginia institutions and international educators 
  • Encourage transatlantic cooperation among social studies teachers
  • Develop cross-curricular, authentic social studies projects for students
  • Share cultural differences and find commonalities in teaching social studies across the Atlantic
  • Foster and build a network of transatlantic teachers, contacts, and institutions

Our 2022-2023 Cohort

Michael Bolger, Ireland

Head shot of Michael Bolger
Michael Bolger, Assistant Principal at St. Patrick's College, Lacken Cross, Killala, Co. Mayo

Bolger has taught History  and English for over 20 years. His
favourite topics to teach are Medieval and Late Modern Irish and European History along with Shakespearean Studies. He also serves as GAA Hurling Coach at School, Club and County Level.

John Heffernan, Virginia

Head shot of John Heffernan
John Heffernan, Virginia

Heffernan is a qualified History and Politics teacher currently working as Technology Enhanced Learning Co-ordinator with Tipperary Education and Training Board. He previously worked in Albemarle County Virginia as a Learning Technology Integrator. He has worked on a number of History and technology projects with Letters of 1916, Digital Public Library of America, Historiana, and the Declaration Resources Project (Harvard University). He is an alumnus of Monticello Teacher Institute, George Washington Teachers Institute, Gilder
Lehrman Institute’s Teacher Seminars, Translatlantic Scholars Programme (UVa/NAUK), and IWM Duxford AAM teacher residency.

Louise Larkin, Ireland

Head shot of Aoife Carey
Louise Larkin, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Louise been teaching world History and Geography in Colaiste Phobal Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, for the past 5 years.  In her spare time she enjoys  playing camogie, beinging outdoors, and keeping fit. 

Sam Futrell, Virginia

Head shot of Sam Futrell
Sam Futrell, Richmond, VA

Futrell is a middle school social studies teacher and a board member of the Virginia Council for the Social Studies (VCSS). She joined VCSS after winning the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Excellence in Teaching Award. Since that time she's served as the co-chair of both the Outreach and Equity committees and moderates the quarterly VCSS Scholars' Hour (a free professional development opportunity for teachers). Sam also hosts and produces the VCSS podcast, Content to Classroom, which can be found anywhere you listen to podcasts. She's excited to be the newest member of the Moving Writers team and is looking forward to discussing strategies for how to bring writing workshop into social studies classrooms. This year, the Transatlantic Scholars has already made a significant impact on her students, who are enjoying exchanging projects and ideas with their Dublin counterparts.

Sarah McDermott, Virginia

Head shot of Patty Laurence
Sarah McDermott, Richmond, VA

McDermott has been teaching history for over twenty years. For the last eighteen, she has taught at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, VA.  She teaches IB History and Contemporary World History. In addition to her time in the classroom, McDermott serves as the Model UN sponsor and a senior class advisor. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Virginia Council for the Social Studies. One of the things that McDermott enjoys the most is helping students see the connection between local history and events, and global issues.

Kim Hammers, Virginia

Head shot of Elizabeth Mulcahy
Kim Hammers, Chesapeake, VA

High schoolers in Chesapeake, Virginia, get to spend time with Kim in the secondary classroom discussing topics related to AP United States Government and Politics. The opportunity to collaborate with students in Ireland is an exciting and engaging opportunity to further students’ abilities to posture themselves as global learners, thinkers, and citizens. Kim joins the program this year bringing with her a variety of instructional experiences, including serving as lead for her faculty’s PBL planning committee. She serves as an AP Reader and Table Leader, was the VCSS Teacher of the Year in 2019, and the Grassfield High School Teacher of the Year for 2020. Accolades aside, one of Kim’s professional strengths is providing service learning to students at her school, such as an annual visual display of American flags planted in front of school to honor Veterans Day. From grassroots to global experiences, Kim loves bringing new and unique opportunities to her students.

Brian Munnelly, Ireland

Head shot of Brian Munnelly
Brian Munnelly, Drimnagh Castle Secondary School in the Dublin suburb of Walkinstown, Dublin 12.

Munnelly's schools gets its name from the 12th Century Norman castle on its grounds. He teaches history, politics, society and religion to all years, ranging from 12 to 18 year olds. He is very interested in American 20th Century history, the troubles in Northern Ireland, and tje Geopolitics of the EU. Outside of school, he supports his county side in GAA, Mayo, his club side Crossmolina Deel Rovers, and Liverpool FC in Premier League Soccer.

Student Projects

Richmond-Dublin Monuments and Memorials Film Festival

Below are student made mini-documentaries about monuments, memorials and historical sites in Richmond, Virginia and Dublin, Ireland

Madison Jewett and Klara Salley study the Potterfield Bridge and Civil War Era Richmond, Virginia.  


Finley Wittcamp examines past and present cultural impacts of the Lee Monument on historic Monument Ave in Richmond, Virginia. 

Sebastian Nagy,  Sam Sofowora, Jack O' Neill & Luke Heaslip take a look at the O' Connell Monument on Dublin's O' Connell St. 

Stella Vetrovec and Lilly Brooks explore over two hundred years of history at St. John's Church in downtown Richmond, Virginia. 

Andre Bau, Jimmy Kelly & Jack Noonan discuss the Famine Memorials on Dublin's custom house quay.


EU Advocacy Poster Contest

Place your cursor on the thumbnail to view the title of the poster and click to see a larger, more detailed image.

2022-2023 Student Documentaries

Produced by Oscar Zheng and Benson Jiang, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Virginia, “Murky Waters” is a documentary that aims to shed light on the growing problem of plastic waste in our oceans and its devastating impact on marine life, the environment, the economy, and public health. The film highlights the extent of the issue and the urgent need for individuals, governments, and industries to take action to prevent further damage and clean up existing debris. Through interviews with experts like Mercedes García Pérez, footage of wildlife entangled in plastic, and images of heavily polluted beaches and oceans, the documentary inspires viewers to be part of the solution and raise awareness about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic while encouraging government officials to create legislation and increase investments for more ocean cleanup initiatives and plastic waste regulations.