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Profiles of Past Participants

William Priestley

William Priestley Photo May14
Name:
William Priestley
ACE Class: ACE 12
ACE Placement: Biloxi, Mississippi
Qualifications:
BA European Studies (Trinity College Dublin), M.Ed. (Notre Dame)
Current Occupation:
Youth Work

Ciaran Cunniffe

Ciaran Cunniffe
Name: 
Ciaran Cunniffe
ACE Class: ACE 12
ACE Placement: Pensacola, Florida (5th grade teacher)
Qualifications: 
B. Ed. and M. Ed.
Current Occupation: 
5th class primary school teacher
Reflections on ACE Experience: 
 I really enjoyed my time participating in the ACE program. I would highly recommend the program to anyone considering it. ACE was quite challenging at times but very rewarding. It is a wonderful experience and opportunity.
How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
It's hard to say. I think I'm more open minded from doing the program. After living, studying and teaching in a different country for two years I developed a new perspective and learned different ways of doing things. I'm a better teacher for doing ACE. I think my faith is a little stronger and I've a greater awareness of the importance of community.

Anna Jacobs

anna egalite
Name: 
Anna Jacobs
ACE Class: ACE 14
ACE Placement: Tampa Bay, Florida
Qualifications: 
B.Ed. in Elementary Education (2006), St. Patrick’s College, Dublin, Ireland
M.Ed. in Elementary Education (2009), University of Notre Dame (granted through the ACE program)
Ph.D. in Education Policy (2014), University of Arkansas

Current Occupation: Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program on Education Policy & Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School

Reflections on ACE Experience: I am so grateful to have been a part of the ACE program and to Dr. Daire Keogh, who recommended I apply in the first place. It was a real course-changer, bringing me into contact with smart, talented, wonderful people and opening my eyes to all of the opportunities that are out there. Returning to Ireland after ACE graduation, I was particularly grateful to John and Elaine and all of the ACE Ireland folks, who warmly welcomed me home, understood my ACE experience, and knew the challenges and advantages of the context I was returning to. 

Megan Whyte

ACErs and Fr. Drumm2 1Name: Megan Whyte

ACE Class: ACE 19

ACE Placement: Mission, Texas (5th grade)

Qualifications: 
Bachelor of Education (St. Patrick’s College, 2012)
Master of Education (University of Notre Dame, 2014)

Current Occupation: 
Primary school teacher

Reflections on ACE Experience:
ACE is a fantastic program that provides a unique opportunity for Irish teachers to live and work in different parts of the States. I enjoyed my time in the program immensely, having made life-long friends and connections across the country.

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
My experiences in ACE have help me become more adventurous, open-minded, and mature. 

Ciara O’Brien

Hannah and Ciara 1
Name: 
Ciara O'Brien

ACE Class: ACE 20

ACE Placement:
Richmond, Virginia

Qualifications: 

B. Ed, 2013 Saint Patrick’s College, Drumcondra
M. Ed, 2015 University of Notre Dame

Current Occupation:
5th Grade Class Teacher

Reflections on ACE Experience: 

Saying yes to ACE was the best choice I ever made and I am grateful to the people who made it possible for me to part of the program.

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become? 

ACE has shaped the person I have become by teaching me how to live my faith. Before ACE the idea of faith in action was something that I was not familiar with. Through my two years I was able to witness the response of my fellow ACErs to God’s call in an active way. I came to understand that both action and faith is necessary to fully answer God’s call to serve others.

This change helped me to improve the ways I taught about faith to my students! I feel so much more confident teaching my students about religion now that I have a deeper understanding of my own faith.

ACE has helped me to grow as a person in faith and in my career. I feel so much more capable and ready for the challenges that life throws at me, thanks to my ACE experience!

Hannah Snowe

Hannah Snowe
Name: 
Hannah Snowe
ACE Class: ACE 20
ACE Placement: Santa Ana, California
Qualifications: 
Bachelor of Education, St. Patrick’s College of Education, Drumcondra
Certificate in Religious Studies, St. Patrick’s College of Education, Drumcondra
Master of Education, University of Notre Dame

Current Occupation: Primary Schoolteacher
Reflections on ACE Experience: 
ACE gave me the unique opportunity to grow not only as a professional but as a person. I distinctly remember being asked to describe my spirituality in my interview for ACE. Looking back now I honestly knew very little about where I was at in my faith. I wanted to do ACE to take the journey and develop my relationship with the faith. As an ACE teacher I have been given the opportunity to trace my own spiritual journey. This has enabled me to connect with my students on an entirely new level. I can guide them on their own spiritual journeys as they guide me on mine. ACE kindled in me a love for teaching the faith. I have discovered that we need to live out the Gospel values through our day to day actions and interactions with people. Our students need to not only be taught about the Gospel but also experience what it looks like in the world today. ACE has encouraged me to find ways of making the faith real and tangible for my students, relating it to the world that they live in.
How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
ACE serves to support, strengthen and spread the Catholic faith. Being an ACE teacher has given me the opportunity to educate the next generation of Catholics. I have become more grounded in my beliefs and I have a clearer vision of what a Catholic school should look like in Ireland today. I once thought that faith was simply about reverence. Living and working in a community which encouraged me to personalize and actively question my relationship with the faith has brought me to new level of understanding and appreciation of my faith. The overall ACE experience is quite the whirlwind! You definitely learn to appreciate those quiet moments in the day! I feel that it has prepared me for any future challenges that I may face. ACE changes you, for the better in my opinion. I think that I am most definitely a better teacher and a more well- rounded individual having said yes to ACE.

Louise Travers

Louise Travers 1Name: Louise Travers

ACE Class: 
ACE 21

ACE Placement: 
Chicago

Qualifications: 

B.Ed from Mary Immaculate College 

Current Occupation:
2nd grade, St. Sylvester School, Chicago, IL 60647

Reflections on ACE Experience:
So far, ACE has been an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity. It didn’t take long for me to fit into ACE summer and even though it was a lot of work, the support system is great. Everyone is going through the same thing as you are so there are always people to talk to. The activities that we do through ACE throughout the summer are great to make new friends and to grow spiritually also. I love the community life here in Chicago so far. They are my support system when I leave school and being able to have people to eat and talk to is really nice especially being away from home.

Has you ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
ACE is shaping me as a person as I am interacting with so many different people that it allows me to see different views daily. 
 

Ian Corbett

Ian CorbettName: Ian Corbett

ACE Class: ACE 21

ACE Placement: 
Sacramento, California

Qualifications: 
B.Ed from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. Certificate in Religious Education. 

Current Occupation: 
ACE teacher, 3rd grade

Reflections on ACE Experience:
It was somewhat over whelming at the beginning attending such a prestigious college, as once described to me “its like an academic Disney!” I was somewhat apprehensive before I left but having met some extremely friendly and influential people I settled in straight away. Irish ACE’rs are really integrated, included and welcomed. The coursework can be demanding at times and quite intense but it’s very practical and worthwhile. I’ve really grown into the spiritual side of program. We engage in prayer before each class and celebrate mass each night in one of the local chapels on campus. Each Sunday we celebrate mass in the Basilica in Notre Dame, which is an amazing experience. No words can describe the magic and enthusiasm that is created during it.

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
I am a dedicated believer in education and I feel that furthering my own learning with ACE will not only make me a better individual but also a better inspirer, guider and teacher.In terms of spirituality, I feel it is a journey of faith and commitment, and I see ACE as the next step. I am an active participant in my own faith community and through ACE I know my spirit of faith and commitment will grow and develop through ACE. By becoming a teacher with ACE my spirituality will be strengthened. It will not only have an impact on me as part of the lay community but more importantly as a teacher for future generations. I believe that community aspect of ACE provides a remarkable opportunity for people to practice and share their faith together and to develop, learn and grow as young teachers.

Edel Mooney

Edel PhotoName: Edel Mooney

ACE Class: ACE 19

ACE Placement:
 Sacramento, California (5th Grade)

Qualifications: 
B.Ed – Mary Immaculate College (2012)
M.Ed – University of Notre Dame (2014)

Current Occupation: 
Clinical Faculty – University of Notre Dame (summer)
As of October 2014; English Teacher at San Nicolas, Santiago, Chile. 

Reflections on ACE Experience:
Before embarking on the journey to the United States for ACE, I asked a former Irish ACEr to describe his experience in hope of receiving more of an insight into what I was truly getting myself into. I remember him telling me that ACE was a “truly unique experience” and that it would be impossible for him to say anything that would predict my time in the US. It is only now on finishing the programme that I can really appreciate his sentiments.

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
As cliché as it may sound, I believe that the three pillars of the ACE programme; community, spirituality, and professionalism are truly three pillars that we can apply to our lives in general. Although I did enter ACE at the wide-eyed age of 21, ACE has been, and continues to be, a hugely formative experience for me. In teaching, I now appreciate the vocation that is teaching in a Catholic school and the selflessness of others working within the system. This opportunity has allowed me to continue to persist in my work as an educator and learner with a sense of purpose. ACE has provided me with opportunities of reflection on the many dimensions of life surrounded by supportive, loving people who have helped shape me as a person. Spiritually, ACE has allowed me to recognize the importance of sharing your life and faith with others. Through ACE, I have become more appreciative of my opportunities and developed a new sense of gratitude. 

Additional Comments
I cannot speak enough about the lessons that I have taken away from ACE and would encourage anybody who is open-minded, extremely hard-working, and has an interest in their faith to consider this truly amazing opportunity. 


 

Maeve Crowe

Maeve Crowe
Name: 
Maeve Crowe

ACE Class: 
ACE 13

ACE Placement: Savannah, Georgia

Qualifications: 
B.Ed, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra
M.Ed, University of Notre Dame

Current Occupation: 
Trainee Educational Recruitment Consultant

Reflections on ACE Experience:
I thoroughly enjoyed the summer experiences at Notre Dame and made great friends whilst on campus. Arriving back in Dublin I found John O Malley, Elaine, and the ACE Fellowship in Dublin to be of huge support.  

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
ACE allowed me to develop as a person, become more independent, and helped me foster my faith. Although my experience was distressing and lonely at times I am glad I did ACE. Were it not for ACE I would not have met the people I did in Dublin and made such good friends. ACE Ireland Fellowship has been of such huge support to me during the past six years. Through personal and professional ups and downs I could always rely on the Friday Masses and wonderful retreats to revive my energy and spiritualism. The gift of John, Elaine, John-Paul and many more ACE’ers and non-ACE’ers are something I am thankful for.

Ciaran O’Rourke

Name: Ciaran O'Rourke
ACE Class: ACE 16
ACE Placement: Los Angeles (South Central), California (Grades 6-8 English Language Arts)
Qualifications: 
Masters in Education with English: University of Notre Dame
Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities: English & History: St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.
Current Occupation: 
Secondary School English & History Teacher
Reflections on ACE Experience:

My ACE experience has affected and shaped who I am today. From a professional standpoint, I firmly believe the high standards ACE establishes for its teachers, distinguishes us as generally more effective, efficient and caring classroom educators. Once finished with the programme, ACE teachers can choose if they desire to maintain such high levels of personal expectations for themselves and intense devotion to teaching; but, from my own experience, and from my knowledge of other former ACE teachers, they are still putting in the extra hours outside class, still striving to give their lessons a little something extra, and still wreaking their brains thinking of creative new ways to engage students. I think the impact of the programme for me, and all of its alumni, is ongoing and encouraging.

From a personal and spiritual sense, there is immeasurable personal growth inherent in facing the extreme highs and lows involved in undertaking ACE. For most its leaving home for a strange new city (or country) for the first time, living with strange people you’ve only recently just met, and for me it was the strange realization of reality, of having to wake up every morning to enter a classroom, stand, and teach, not just sit in the lecture hall absorbing information which is naturally so much easier. In a nutshell it is a strange time, it’s a time when most aspects of your life are in flux, it is almost like a second adolescence you are lost somewhere between college and professional life, oh and all of your friends and family are far far away too. It is hard. Yet, with every sacrifice involved you are rewarded tenfold with the knowledge that you are doing something good, impacting the lives of those twenty to thirty faces staring back at your every morning. It is here, thousands of miles away from home, that you become more selfless, responsible and mature. When reflecting back on my experiences considering who I was before versus who I am now, while naturally people grow and change over time, I believe I would not be as present and grateful for daily life had I not said yes to ACE.

Stephen McNamara

Stephen McNamaraName: Stephen McNamara

ACE Class: 
ACE 17

ACE Placement:
Oklahoma City

Qualifications: 
B. Ed with Geography 2010, Mary Immaculate College (Limerick)
Masters in Education 2012, University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana)

Current Occupation: 
Primary School Teacher

Reflections on ACE Experience:
ACE was a wonderful experience. It gave me the opportunity to teach in a cultural setting completely different to my own. In ACE I learned a lot about the Catholic School System in the USA. ACE broadened my knowledge on methodologies and pedagogies associated with teaching. Nothing compares to teaching in the classroom as your knowledge and experience grows and grows, ACE gave you that experience while at the same time giving you the chance to earn a masters in education. 

I would compare my experience somewhat to that of a rollercoaster, lots of highs and lows, twists and turns, unexpected surprises creating lots of thrills, but in the end you were glad you had enough courage to go on the rollercoaster because it was definitely worth the experience. That’s ACE for me!

How has your ACE experience shaped the person you have become?
ACE has helped me in many ways, both academically and spiritually. As I have previously mentioned, it has broadened my knowledge of teaching in the classroom. ACE introduced me to my first class which is a very significant time in any teacher’s life. I learnt a variety of strategies for teaching the different subjects. I became very efficient in planning and believed in my own ability more and more throughout ACE. All this helped the children reach their full potential. I also have grown spiritually. ACE presents you went many opportunities to deepen your faith, and my spiritual life has grown naturally throughout the two years. Due to the fact of me being a faith filled person I naturally pass that on to the children I teach back in Ireland. 

Finally ACE has helped me with my confidence and self belief. There were some times when ACE presented me with challenging situations, trying to keep on top of a full time job while studying is no easy task! The fact that I have completed the two years away from home and family has given the confidence to tackle any new challenges that face me.