Student Achievement

Marist Abroad Students Present at Global Conference in London

Marist Freshman Dublin Experience Students in London with Program Director Shane Duffy— Courtesy of Sam Bland, FIE, London
— Courtesy of Sam Bland, FIE, London

April 26, 2022 – Marist College Freshmen, studying abroad in Dublin, traveled to London earlier this month to attend the Foundation for International Education’s (FIE) Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC), an event providing a unique opportunity for students and delegates from across the world to explore how they can become better leaders. Hosted by the Royal Geographical Society, this event comes near the end of the students’ year abroad, as part of Marist’s Freshman Dublin Experience (FDE) program.

The conference gave students valuable experience of how a conference works, including the keynote address, panel discussions and participating in the question-and-answer sessions, as well as group activities.  

Marist FDE students Eric Pfalzer, Maeve Kirwan, Brennda Melo and Natalie Brown volunteered to deliver a presentation titled Global Vision and Local Practice, which involved, in part, primary research in The Liberties, the community they resided in Dublin. The presentation was a mixture of PowerPoint, Q&A and audience participation through lively small group discussions and feedback.  

“It was my first time to present to a public audience like this,” said Pfalzer ’25. “It was a very jittery experience to begin with, but turned into something truly very special to present to such a knowledgeable and interested audience. Public presentation is such a vital skill to have both at college and for our future work life and this opportunity provided great practice and made me more aware of areas I need to work on going forward.” 

Marist Freshman Dublin Experience Students Presenting at Student Global Leadership Conference in London — Courtesy of Sam Bland, FIE, London

“The SGLC experience was unique and one I really enjoyed,” said Kirwin ’25. “I found the topics interesting and overall, I was able to learn how to interact with other delegates I had not previously known.” 

“Although it wasn't the first time I've had to do research and present with a group, this project felt a lot more real,” said Melo ’25. “Past presentations I've done have always been in the classroom, so it was exciting to be able to meet people from different backgrounds and age groups that were interested in what I had to say.”

“Presenting at SGLC gave me new confidence in myself as I had never seen public speaking as one of my strong suits,” said Brown ’25. “Few students my age gets to say they presented at a Global Conference and even fewer get to say they did it well. This experience has just further encouraged me to keep speaking up for what I believe in, knowing now that people will listen.” 

All Marist FDE students on the trip also had a free day in London, where they took in the sites of the historic city. “I began the day by watching the sunrise from nearby Hyde Park and explored the parks scenery and greenery,” said Marist FDE student Victoria Conlon ’25. “Later in the day, along with some other Marist students, I walked around and went to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London's Eye, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe theater and Tower Bridge. I enjoyed just talking and exploring the city of London on our free day.” 

The FDE program offers students an engaging international experience in one of the most beautiful, dynamic, and charismatic cities and countries in Europe. Students from a broad range of majors are able to participate and stay on track with major, minor, and core course requirements. 

“This was an amazing, truly a life changing experience,” said Pfalzer. “I am so grateful Marist presented this program to me. It’s crazy what life throws at you. So many experiences, friends made, and fun had. Thank you to everyone at Marist for making this possible.” 

Learn more about Marist’s Freshman Dublin Experience program, here.

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