University of Galway appoints new Traveller Education Officer

Anne Marie Stokes has been appointed as Traveller Education Officer at University of Galway. Credit – Aengus McMahon.
Mar 13 2023 Posted: 10:41 GMT

University of Galway has appointed its second ever full-time Traveller Education Officer to lead on the recruitment of and support students from the Irish Traveller community.

Anne Marie Stokes, a Traveller and alumnus of the University, succeeds Owen Ward in the role and will manage the Mincéirs Misl'd in Education - Empowering Irish Travellers project to transition and build a sense of belonging in Higher Education. The project is funded by the Higher Education Authority's Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH 3) fund, and the role will be shared across University of Galway and Atlantic Technological University Galway-Mayo.

As Traveller Education Officer, Anne Marie Stokes will work in partnership with various stakeholders, including Irish Traveller organisations and the Irish Traveller community, and build on critical government policies and strategies to provide a detailed, evidence-based understanding of barriers to access, progression and retention in higher education for Irish Travellers.

Anne Marie Stokes, Traveller Education Officer, said: “I am proud to take up my new role with the Access Centre at University of Galway as I have seen the University’s commitment to increasing the number of Travellers reaching higher education. I am very passionate about education, and I have a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree from University of Galway, and I look forward to supporting the further development of outreach, recruitment and support strategies to not only enable Traveller students to access university but to succeed once they do.”

Having previously worked with the Galway Traveller Movement, Anne Marie Stokes has also delivered cultural awareness training and anti-racism training to numerous service providers and industries. She now joins a multi-disciplinary team of professionals supporting students that are under-represented in higher education from the pre-entry stage of the student journey and throughout their time in University of Galway and Atlantic Technological University Galway-Mayo. 

Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at University of Galway, said: “The need for further engagement with the Irish Traveller Community has been identified through both practice and policy. A lot of progress has been made in recent years, but Irish Travellers are still heavily under-represented in higher education. We are delighted with Anne Marie’s appointment to continue and build on the work that has been done to date and look forward to new collaborations.” 


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