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Green is the colour for former scholar Erin

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By Fiona Reid
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Green is the colour for former scholar Erin

AFTER 12 years in the US, the first Syracuse Scholar to graduate from the American University has received a Green Card.

Erin McLaughlin first moved to the US for a year when she was 17 as a 2003/4 Syracuse Scholar.

But a year living Stateside was not enough for the now 30-year-old who became the first scholar to complete a degree at the New York university, inspiring others such as Stefan Hanley and Fergus Barrie to follow suit.

She said: “I came into the Syracuse/Lockerbie scholarship knowing and planning for a one-year experience.

“I was only 17 and was looking at it as a gap year before going back to Scotland to start at the University of Glasgow. However, by October of my freshman year, I couldn’t imagine not spending the next four years of my life at Syracuse University.”

After deciding on her dream, Erin got the ball in motion and thanks to a host of Syracuse staff, a merit scholarship from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs, help from her parents and taking on a role as a resident advisor, Erin was able to complete her degree.

She graduated in 2007 from the College of Arts and Sciences before going on to complete a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration at New York University in 2009.

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Erin has been living in New York City since 2007 and currently works at Fordham University as assistant director of experiential education in the office of career services.

She was granted a Green Card in June last year, sponsored by her employers, and called the process ‘stressful’.

She said: “It took about three years from the initial conversation to convert my H1-B Work Visa to a Green Card, so it was a relief to finally get it.”

Her Green Card lasts until 2025 and as well as more freedom in the US, it also means trips home are easier too.

She said: “I love coming home to Scotland and popping into the paper shop in Moffat where I used to work and catching up with school friends.

“Now with my Green Card I can come over more frequently, before I usually had to go via London/US Embassy to get a re-entry visa, so I’m excited to see my parents more.”

Offering advice to the new scholars, selected last week, she said: “The year I spent as a Lockerbie Scholar at Syracuse was life changing. “Never tire of telling people about where you come from and why you’re at Syracuse – wherever you go you’re an ambassador for Lockerbie and Scotland and that is something to be very proud of!”

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