Dahmer ('13) pursues PhD in Celtic studies at University of Edinburgh

(May 25, 2016) LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Alumnus Adam Dahmer reflects on his long and winding path to the British Isles.
Dahmer ('13) pursues PhD in Celtic studies at University of Edinburgh

Adam Dahmer, a 2013 graduate of the McConnell Scholars Program, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.  He spent the last year obtaining a master’s degree in the Scottish Gaelic language from the same institution.

Dahmer initially pursued a juris doctorate from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law.  However, after only a few months of enrollment, he withdrew and decided to apply to Celtic Studies programs in the UK and Ireland.  During his gap semester, he worked at the Kentucky Science Center, awaiting news of his acceptance to the University of Edinburgh.

“If I’ve learned any lessons from my experience, it would be to think long and hard before you go into any graduate program,” Dahmer said. “It’s good to have a life plan, but don’t be alarmed if your circumstances change, or if you find yourself feeling lost.”

From Dahmer’s point of view, dropping out of law school and taking a gap year was one of the most important decisions he’s ever made.  He also credits the opportunity to study abroad during his time at UofL as a major event that made him rethink his life plan.

“Travel works wonders,” Dahmer said.  “Had I never studied abroad in my undergraduate years, it might not have occurred to me to seek out graduate programs in the British Isles, and I certainly wouldn’t have adapted so quickly to the rhythms of life across the Atlantic.”

Dahmer has also maintained heavy involvement with outside clubs and organizations while in Edinburgh.  He is currently the president of his university’s folk music society, a participant in the Edinburgh Beltane Festival, and a professional local tour guide in his adoptive city.

Dahmer admits his story is rather unorthodox, and the road that brought him to Edinburgh has been winding and uneven.  But through it all, he is content to complete his studies through a Ph.D program and continue his research on Celtic culture.

“My own research will contribute to this body of knowledge in the hope of assisting scholars, language activists, businesspeople, and policymakers in reversing language shift,” Dahmer said.  “I plan to conduct fieldwork in the coming academic year, and present my thesis in 2018.”