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Postgraduate Researchers

Postgraduate Members: Team
Laura Doyle

Laura Doyle

Moving Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach in Disability Services: An Analysis of Social Care Worker Skills and Competencies

Laura Doyle is a Social Care Manager employed in a service for adults with intellectual disabilities.  In 2012, Laura graduated from the BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care in Waterford Institute of Technology.  In the years following her graduation, Laura worked as a Social Care Worker supporting adults with intellectual disabilities.  Laura currently supports a team of Social Care Workers in the provision of high-quality services and supports in a disability day service setting.  Laura is also a postgraduate student in Waterford Institute of Technology undertaking her own research project 'Moving Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach in Disability Services: An analysis of Social Care Workers skills and competencies' which explores how social policy manifests, or translates, into social care practice.  Laura is currently a member of Social Care Ireland, the Society for Disability Studies and the British Sociological Association.

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Jordan Kirwan

Understanding academia as a site for social activism

I am an assistant lecturer in Sociology in Waterford Institute of Technology. Previously, my research interests focused on the lived experiences of immigrants in Ireland and how immigrant communities accumulate social capital. Recently, my research has focused on understanding academic-activism from an intersectional perspective. This particular research explores the influence of the current neoliberal climate and academic environment on academic-activism. Prior to lecturing and before returning to do my PhD, I worked in Youth and Community Work both in Ireland and Australia for 5 years.

Twitter: @JordanKirwan3

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Wendy O'Leary

Fan communities and identity

Wendy O’Leary graduated with a BA(Hons) in Arts from Waterford Institute of Technology.  In 2017 she was awarded a scholarship from Waterford Institute of Technology to complete a Ph.D. on fan communities and identity. Her research focuses on the creation of identity via liquid modernity, and how symbols from a text are used to create relationships in communities. Wendy is a member of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) and has just completed a year as co-lead of the Research Postgraduate Forum at Waterford Institute of Technology. She is currently an active member of various committees at the Institute. Wendy’s other areas of interest are in the ethical issues of online research, and social media and its impact on sustainable fashion.

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Pilar Luz Rodrigues

Social and Economic Policies and Irish Work Practices: Examining the Influence of Policies on Brazilian Migrant Workers in Ireland

I am currently a Research Fellow of the Moral Foundations of Economy & Society Research Centre on a PhD scholarship (WIT President's Scholar) investigating the socio-cultural effects of Irish policies on migrant workers, with a particular focus on Brazilian migrants. I am based in Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. I am a member of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Race and Ethnicity Study Group and of the European Sociological Association (ESA) Research Network on Sociology of Migration. I hold an MA in Social Studies, a PG Dip in Cultural Management, and a BA in International Relations. I was also a Government of Ireland International Education Scholar (2015-2017), Education in Ireland International Student Ambassador (2017-2018), and Ambassador (2019). My areas of interest are: migration, labour migration, work, social policy, international relations, and cultural diversity.

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Maria Ronan

A Qualitative Analysis of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s State Apology to Ireland’s Magdalene Women

Maria Ronan is a graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT’s) Applied Social Studies in Social Care degree programme and currently lectures in WIT’s School of Humanities in addition to supporting social care students during practice placements.  Prior to this she held administrative roles in public and private organisations and undertook voluntary work in addition to working with adults with intellectual disabilities.  Having returned to education, her research interest in Ireland’s Magdalene asylums began during undergraduate classes on the site of a former Good Shepherd laundry.  Magdalene women were badly let down by their government and communities when they needed support and compassion.  However, Maria’s belief is that in acknowledging the wrongs of the past and offering a sincere apology, there is hope for healing and perhaps even reconciliation between perpetrators and victims.  Her research interest is enhanced by being a part of WIT’s supportive research community which is both personally and professionally fulfilling.

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