Skip to content (Press Enter)
facebook Twitter Linked In Instagram Pinterest Youtube Rss

MCC Student Wins National Scholarship to Study Abroad in Ireland

McHenry County College (MCC) student Alyssa Kasey was recently awarded a national scholarship to cover her studies in Carlow, Ireland this summer. The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship awards nearly 3,000 scholarships of up to $5,000 each year to U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad.

"It’s a great point of MCC pride that Alyssa is a recipient of this nationally competitive award,” said Lindsay Carson, Spanish instructor and Philosophy and Languages department chair who leads MCC’s study abroad program. “In 15 years, she is just the second MCC student to win this scholarship. One of the Gilman program's objectives is to support students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including students attending community colleges. We are so excited for Alyssa as she embarks on what will surely be a life-changing experience in Ireland this summer.”

Kasey will be leaving for Ireland on May 29 and returns on June 27. While there, she will be studying Irish experience and contemporary Irish writing.

“I wanted to study abroad to gain new experiences and skills that will help me in my future career,” Kasey said. “I can't wait to take advantage of everything this program has to offer. I'm eager to learn about the Irish culture and way of life.”

Through MCC’s partnership with the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, students are able to earn credits by studying abroad in Austria, Costa Rica, England, France, Ireland, and Spain. Kasey decided on Ireland because of her Irish heritage.

“Growing up, I always had Ireland on my list of places to visit because I’ve always felt a strong connection to the culture and beauty of Ireland's countryside and geography. Being able to immerse myself in Ireland's culture and interact with the individuals that call Ireland home could help me live how my family once lived.”

After her time at MCC, Kasey plans to transfer and earn her bachelor's and master's in social work. Her goal is to become a licensed clinical social worker who provides counseling to those who have struggled with mental health.

“I believe the study abroad program will provide me with skills I’ll use every day in my future career,” Kasey said. “The field of social work will require me to work with individuals from different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. By immersing myself in Irish culture, I will be able to gain an understanding of how they live differently from Americans. This will allow me to practice gaining more in-depth knowledge of how others live, which, in the long run, will help me learn the skills to do the same in my future career. I will then be able to adapt and change the approaches I use when working with individuals from different backgrounds.”

Kasey wasn’t initially considering studying abroad when she first started at MCC, but knew she wanted to pursue the opportunity after attending a presentation on the program.

“Finding out how to study abroad through MCC was a really simple process for me,” Kasey said. “I feel extremely grateful to be chosen as a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship and so thankful that the individuals selecting recipients chose to support my experience.”   

To learn more about study abroad programs available through MCC, visit