The Pat McMahon Masters Level Exchange Scholarship Series

Our first Pat McMahon scholarship series provides Irish students with work experience at a San Jose technology company, academic training at San Jose State University (SJSU) and Dublin City University (DCU), leading to a Master’s of Science and Engineering degree through our partnership with Cypress Semiconductor.

In collaboration with CPGE and San Jose State University (SJSU), we have extended our Pat McMahon scholarship series to select an SJSU Graduate student from the College of Humanities and Arts (H&A) to study at Dublin City University (DCU) in Dublin, Ireland.

Megan Moriarty

Megan Moriarty with ‘Run Rivers Run’ Sculpture

Our 2019 outbound scholar is Megan Moriarty, a sculptor earning a Master of Fine Arts, Spatial Studies. Megan is spending Spring semester at Dublin City University (DCU) in her field of study, complemented by an opportunity to gain Academic Training experience in an organization in Dublin. In March, 2019, Megan sent this video update on her experiences there: click here to view the video

Aiofe Grady

Aiofe Grady, 2018 inbound scholar

Our 2018 inbound scholar is Aoife Grady.

Aoife Grady was born in County Meath in 1996, the second daughter in a family of 3 girls. Aoife is a high achiever having gained a first class honors degree in a Bachelor of Electronic and Computer Engineering majoring in Electronic Systems and Devices and awarded a scholarship for academic excellence from ON Semiconductor to complete her final year of undergraduate study.

During Aoife’s four years of study in DCU, Aoife made many notable contributions including acting as a class representative. Aoife was also heavily involved in the organisation of social events both in her role as a class representative and as a member of the Engineering Society. Aoife volunteered to help with Dublin City University’s Open Day activities every year during her undergraduate studies and was active in promoting the importance of Women in Engineering Network. Aoife has helped raise the profile of Women in Engineering encouraging and promoting STEM among her junior counterparts. Aoife has spoken to students at her former Secondary school promoting Engineering for Women. Aoife worked with Cypress Semiconductor for six months during her Undergraduate Studies.

After completing her first semester of work on a Masters Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering at Dublin City University (DCU), Aoife arrived in San Jose in January 2019 to continue her Master’s work.

Aoife has just completed her semester in SJSU, which entailed studying two graduate classes, and is currently completing a 20 hour a week internship with Cypress Semiconductor. Beginning June 3rd, 2019, Aoife will be working full time for Cypress up through this summer, and at the end of September she will return to DCU in Dublin, where her thesis project and final Master submission is due in September.

Aoife’s hobbies include travelling, swimming, hiking, and keeping active.

In 2017, we welcomed our sixth inbound Pat McMahon Scholarship recipient, Aidan Smyth to San Jose, and sent our first outbound scholar, Gurpreet Pannu, to Dublin.

Aidan Smyth

Aidan Smyth, 2017 inbound scholar

Aidan Smyth was born in Dublin in 1995, the eldest in a family of five. Aidan entered Dublin City University on an academic scholarship and last year he achieved a first class honors Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering, majoring in Systems and Devices. During the course of his studies he completed a six month internship at Cypress Semiconductor in Dublin, where he worked as a Co-op Design and Verification Engineer. While working at Cypress he developed a suite of Perl testbenches and an automated project menu system for design and verification engineers in Cypress. Aidan was both chairperson and instructor of the DCU Taekwondo club, and has a black belt in the sport. His other hobbies include working with the charitable Raspberry Pi project, playing Gaelic football and following the NFL.

Aidan completed a semester at San Jose State University, while Gurpreet  completed her semester at Dublin City University.

Our first outbound scholar to Dublin was Gurpreet Pannu, a second year Masters in Music Education student at San Jose State University.

Aidan Smyth And Gurpreet Pannu

2017-2018 Pat McMahon Scholarship recipients Aidan Smyth And Gurpreet Pannu

Raised in a small rural Central California farming town of 14,000 people, Gurpreet graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Music and a minor in Education. She describes herself as being captivated by music. Her passion is reflected in this sentiment, which she wrote in her scholarship application: “Music is the relation that binds people together, binds people to their cultures, religions, ethnicities, to family, friends, and even the stranger next to you.”

Aside from her studies, her interests include performing as a musician, participating as a dancer in her cultural Punjabi folk dancing Giddha/Bhangra, and reading. She participated in UC Davis’ Aggie Marching Band-uh! for four years as a Baritone, and was selected to be on the only collegiate Giddha dance team in California. At SJSU, she directed the Young Musicians Program, providing an opportunity to low SES students to develop their love for the musical arts. She aspires to continue to offer students opportunities to access music through teaching and advocacy.

2016-2017 Pat McMahon Scholarship recipient Áine Cahill

In 2017, we welcomed 2016-2017 Pat McMahon Scholarship recipient Áine Cahill to San Jose from Dublin, Ireland. This is the fifth scholarship awarded by the program. Cahill is an electrical and electronic engineer from Dublin. She was awarded a first class honors degree and a gold medal in her Bachelors of Engineering, BAI, at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in June 2016. A Trinity College scholar, she is also the recipient of the Intel Leixlip Women in Technology Scholarship.

Hers is a background rich in both academic and industry research experience. In 2015, she was awarded the Naughton Fellowship to perform summer research on microwave signal processing at Notre Dame University. During her Bachelor’s thesis at Trinity College, she performed research on Bayesian optimal decision-making and collaborated on nanomaterials research in CRANN, TCD. She then travelled to China for an internship with Huawei Telecommunications and has been doing research on medical device design in Laerdal, Norway this summer.

Áine Cahill is both a leader and a team-player. She is passionate about sports, especially triathlon and outdoor adventures, loves music and qualified with distinction as a piano teacher from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2013.


Left to Right, father Billy Ronan, Dublin Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh, scholar Tessa Ronan, mother Fran Ronan, and US Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Stuart Dwyer.

Our 2015 scholarship recipient was Tessa Ronan of Dublin. Tessa was awarded first class honors with her Bachelor of Science degree at DCU, earning the Lynam Medal for best overall academic performance. Previously, Tessa studied Business, Economics and the Social Sciences in Trinity College Dublin, and in the summer of 2015 Tessa was awarded a Naughton scholarship to carry out solar cell research in a biochemical engineering laboratory of Notre Dame University, Dublin. Tessa interned at Cypress Semiconductor for the next few months and earned a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering. During her Cypress internship, Tessa developed a Bluetooth Low Energy wireless sensor network for a project in precision agriculture and now, as a full-time Cypress employee, Tessa is working in the RF Systems domain for IoT.

US Scholarship Lunch. Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

US Scholarship Lunch with Left to Right, DCU President Brian McCraith, 2015 scholar Tessa Ronan, 2014 scholar Louis Free, SJD Community Chair Tim Quigley. Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

Tessa loves to travel, meet new people, and experience different cultures. She plays the piano (classical), and maintains interests in music, art and literature.

Our 2014 scholarship recipient was Electronic Engineer Louis Free of Dublin, who completed his programs and immediately embarked on a entrepreneurial company with contacts he made here in San Jose while continuing to work on a PhD degree.

2014 scholarship winner Andrew Kiernan

2014 scholarship winner Andrew Kiernan

Our 2013 scholarship recipient was Electronic Systems scholar Andrew Kiernan of Dublin, who arrived in January 2014 and is presently working in Seattle at Parade Technologies, formerly a Cypress Semiconductor company on touch screen technology.

In October of 2012, Barry Cannon was announced as the first recipient of our first Pat McMahon Masters Level Exchange Scholarship in the Series, sponsored by Cypress Semiconductor.

Barry Cannon has now completed his programs and is back in Ireland pursuing a Masters Degree in Music at BIMM (British Irish Modern Music Institute of Dublin).


Barry Cannon, with Stephen “Tim” Quigley, President of San Jose – Dublin Sister City Program and Naoise Ó Muirí, Lord Mayor of Dublin in October 2012.

These are the first graduate level scholarship exchanges to be offered by a US-Irish sister city program, and the first scholarship of its kind among the Sister Cities International (SCI) network. Considering that 40 percent of all direct foreign investment (DFI) in Ireland comes from within 25 miles of San Jose, the exchange deepens existing strong economic ties while providing San Jose companies with access to Ireland’s most promising engineering talent.

Your donation helps San José Dublin Sister City Program, Inc. support the Pat McMahon Masters Level Exchange Scholarship Series and its other activities.