A former Castle Rushen High School and Isle of Man College student will fulfil an ambition to study in America after winning the 2014 Ella Olesen scholarship.
Lorrae Fox, aged 22, of Port Erin, will follow a long line of local students in spending nine months among hundreds of international students at the University of Idaho in the USA from August.
‘To represent and champion the Isle of Man while studying in a place I’ve aspired to experience for many years and is an opportunity I’m utterly thrilled and honoured to have been chosen to undertake,’ she said.
‘I will be making the most of every experience on offer and I’m excited to fully embrace the Idahoan and American culture while teaching others about our wonderful island.’
The scholarship is named after the late Miss Ella Olesen, a former registrar of the university who died in 1985.
Her Manx ancestry – her mother Margaret Teare was born in Ballaugh and emigrated to America in 1890 – led her to gift the scholarship in 1971.
It is awarded annually to a female degree student who has been supported through her studies by the Department of Education and Children.
Forming the interview panel for this year’s scholarship were Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK and John Gill, head of legal and administrative services.
They shortlisted and interviewed six applicants before selecting Lorrae.
Candidates also chatted with 2010 Ella Olesen scholar Katie Taylor who has returned to Idaho to study for a PhD and who was home for Christmas.
Lorrae is working towards a BA in English language and linguistics at Lancaster University and graduates this summer.
She suffered from ME in her mid-teens and missed two years of education, returning to her studies only part-time at first.
Lorrae is an academic writing mentor for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and this has sparked in her an interest in returning to the island to teach.
From this term, she’ll be supporting a university language exchange scheme, liaising with speakers of languages from Lancaster’s partner institutions.
She’s an active member of the university’s Linguistic and English Language Society and was on the executive of its Baking Society, which volunteers in schools and raises money for charities.
Lorrae introduced three-legs and Manx cat-shaped cookies to the society’s biscuit repertoire.
Away from her studies, Lorrae works for the student union and enjoys hiking.
She is looking forward to experiencing the natural beauty that Idaho has to offer.
She had a ‘longing to study in live in America’ but the cost of a degree course that would have seen her spend a year there proved prohibitive.
The university funded two scholars in 2013, Siobhan Walshe, 22, of Onchan, who graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in history, and Joanne Durber, 22, of Peel, who gained a BA English literature and creative writing from the University of Chester. They will be in Idaho until May.
Joanne had some advice for Lorrae: ‘Eat real fish and chips before leaving the island, as Americans only do fries, and their “chips” are actually our crisps.
‘Battered fish and hot crisps is an experience I will never forget.
‘And pack your suitcase with warm jumpers and as many packets of biscuits as you can squeeze in.
‘Real British biscuits don’t exist in this wonderful land.’
The autumn semester saw Joanne talking about Manx traditions and culture on her weekly Manx/British themed radio show Across the Atlantic, and represent the island at a campus cultural event Cruise the World.
Both Joanne and Siobhan are enjoying making friends from around the world and travelling the US.