Off to Dublin

Hello, my name is Tai Shanahan, and I am a rising senior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am majoring in History with a concentration on political violence and Political Science with a concentration on American politics. I plan on attending law school after graduating from Pitt.

Last summer I worked as an intern with the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Government and Community Affairs. This semester I participated in the University of Pittsburgh World History Center’s Digital Atlas Design Internship, where I conducted a semester-long individual research project on American escalation during the Vietnam War using GIS software. Next year I will begin working on my Honors Thesis that centers on American immigration policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I always planned on studying abroad while I was in college, but after losing my freshmen year to COVID restrictions, I decided to remain in Pittsburgh for my remaining six semesters. Instead, I looked for summer options that offered significant time abroad while gaining useful internship experience. IIP Dublin provided this while also taking me to a city that I have always wanted to spend more time in.

This summer, I will be working as a research assistant for Dr. Nicola Fontana at Trinity College Dublin. His work focuses on political economy and historical economics, particularly in Italy. One of his current projects, on which I will be assisting, looks into the causes and effects of mass-migrations during the fascist period in Italy.

Working on a major research project like this will help to improve the research and writing skills I use in my studies at Pitt, as well as equipping me with analytical skills that will be useful in law school and beyond. This will also provide me with hands-on experience with economic principles and trends, broadening the scope of my academic field.

Professionally, I hope to gain skills in balancing teamwork and collaboration with individual work and taking initiative. The team includes researchers from around the world, and the challenge for me is to add value to the work being done without interfering with the work of those individuals. This will be a difficult path to navigate, but I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Personally, I am excited to spend significant time abroad and immerse myself in another culture. I have spent very little time outside the U.S. in my life, and hope to gain a better perspective on the world during my time in Ireland. I am nervous about being so far away from my family and friends for eight weeks, but I think this will be a good opportunity for me to learn more about myself and my ability to succeed on my own. I am looking forward to all of the challenges and opportunities I will face in Dublin and cannot wait to get there.