Honors Student Travels to Ireland With Major Research Award

Will Maness, photo taken at Mangerton Mountain in Co. Kerry, Ireland

Will Maness has won a 2016 Robert L. and Marilyn D. Blanton Super-Curricular SEED Grant! This research grant, valued at up to $5000, is awarded to exceptional undergraduate students who are engaged in challenging research projects at NC State University. It is intended to help students “build on their undergraduate studies by participating in EXTRAORDINARY summer experiences.”

Will is a junior and an honors student majoring in history. Under the direction of Dr. Brent Sirota, Will is writing his honors thesis on the wildly successful, yet short-lived temperance movement led by Father Theobald Mathew in pre-Famine Ireland.

“I am specifically interested in the uneasy relationship between this movement and the Roman Catholic Church, which withheld the endorsement that Father Mathew so desperately desired,” Will said. Will’s thesis will investigate how a movement with overtly Protestant, northern origins came to be championed by a Capuchin friar from the south of Ireland. He is currently examining the failures of the Catholic Church in Ireland in its pastoral duties as a main reason for the success of Mathew’s movement.

Will plans to use the grant to fund research trips to Boston College, as well as Dublin and Cork, Ireland this summer. “I was ecstatic,” Will said upon receiving the news. “I feel honored to have been offered this incredible opportunity to improve my thesis and expand my academic horizons. Also, I’m in love with Ireland and so I’m chomping at the bit to get back to the Emerald Isle,” Will said.

Will studied abroad in Cork, Ireland last fall.

Congratulations, Will! The History Department wishes you success and safe travels.

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