Eleanor Sharkey

History education leads to a career in international tourism

Eleanore “Ellie” Sharkey has capitalized on her Bachelor of Arts degree in history to embark on an exciting and fun career. The Lourdes University graduate has been appointed Specialized Support Consultant at Wayfair in Galway, Connacht, Ireland.

Studying abroad

While pursuing her degree at Lourdes University, Ellie was encouraged to enroll in the Ireland Experience Program, a five-week study-abroad interdisciplinary course in Tullycross, Ireland. In the summer of 2013, she and 13 other Lourdes students traveled with history chair Mary Robinson, Ph.D., and social work chair Terry Keller, A.B.D., M.S.W.

“My passion for travel has always made me want to live abroad. Ireland was not on the top of my list. Once I was there, I immediately fell in love with the people, the culture and the country. Tullycross and the surrounding Connemara area taught all of us so much and profoundly affected our lives” she says.

In 2014, the students established the Lourdes Ireland Fund, a grant that provides financial assistance for medical needs, transportation, and supplies for the region. Ellie’s passion for the Emerald Isle and its people did not stop there. The history enthusiast made a return trip which solidified her desire to pursue a master’s degree abroad. After receiving her bachelor’s degree stateside, she pursued her master’s degree in history at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Capitalizing on her education

During a break from her graduate studies, the Toledo native and Bedford, Michigan resident booked a WSA tour. During the European sightseeing excursion, she met the company’s owner Andy Steves. Impressed with her knowledge and enthusiasm for travel and her extensive studies and research, he extended a job offer and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”

Ellie will be traveling to universities in Ireland and Wales giving talks, sharing travel tips, and promoting the company to students. “Initially, I had thought to join the Peace Corps after completing my dissertation,” says Ellie. “My goal was to continue to stay abroad. As a European promoter and brand representative, I am able to put my education to excellent use while fulfilling my life’s goals.”