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Robert Burns Lives!
Scottish Parliament is Memorable Venue for American Erin’s First Burns Supper

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA

Last week I received an email from Dr. David Shi, valued friend and former president of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He alerted me to an article that had recently been written about a Furman student, Erin Frazer, who is currently in Scotland participating in the university’s Edinburgh Study Away Program. Erin is of Scottish ancestry and what better fit for her foreign studies than Edinburgh. She is one of several students in the program under the direction of Dr. Bruce Brown of the Department of Economics at Furman. Erin is a senior Political Science major from South Carolina’s upstate town of Simpsonville.

In an email she mentioned that “an integral component of the Furman in Edinburgh Study Away Program is an internship experience tailored to fit each student’s career interests.” Erin chose to intern in the Scottish Parliament due to her interest in politics on the local scene as well as at state and federal levels. She is interning with Bill Walker from Dunfermline, Member of the Scottish Parliament and of the Scottish National Party.

Interning is not new to Erin as she had previously done so with the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman and with the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C. She participated in Furman’s Mock Trial Program and worked as a Research Assistant in Furman’s James B. Duke Library.  Erin has also tutored Furman students in various subjects and following her graduation in May will enter law school this fall.

In a later email Erin stated that she “wanted you to know that ‘the life and the works of Robert Burns are truly fascinating; I’m actually writing a paper and giving a presentation about Burns for one of my Furman courses in March’.”  It would be nice to hear what this energetic and talented college senior has to say about our Bard.

My thanks to Bill Walker, MSP, SNP, who graciously gave his permission to use the article below from his web site, emails that “Erin is proving very hard-working and popular here!” I appreciate his and Erin’s cooperation in providing the story and pictures for the enjoyment of our readers. It has been a pleasure to work with both of them, and I only wish all articles were this easy to present!  

In last week’s posting on Robert Burns Lives! I enjoyed sharing details of a unique Burns Supper by students at the Stonehouse Primary School, and now we’ve gone from that small school house a few miles out of Glasgow to a senior from Furman University walking the halls of Parliament in Edinburgh and attending her first Burns Supper. I venture to say that for years to come Robert Burns is safe in the hands of those school children and college students like Erin. Thanks to one and all for their help on this article, particularly Bill Walker’s “media guru, Susan Wilson”. (FRS: 2.29.12)

Bill Walker
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Dunfermline (SNP)

Scottish Parliament is Memorable Venue for American Erin’s First Burns Supper

Student Erin Frazer from South Carolina has attended her first ever Burns Supper—in the impressive surroundings of the Scottish Parliament. The Political Science student, currently working as an intern for MSP Bill Walker, described the traditional celebration as a “wonderful event”.

Erin, who is taking classes in Scottish History at Napier University as part of her degree, celebrated the event with around 80 other guests. The supper took place in the silver service Members’ Restaurant, with MSPs of all parties, family and friends, staff and several other interns.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson, Convener of the Parliamentary Burns Club, hosted the evening and sang some classic Burns songs for his supper, accompanying himself on the guitar. North East Scotland MSP Alex Johnstone gave the Immortal Memory to the life of Robert Burns, while a number of other MSPs performed particular party pieces. At the end of the evening, everyone formed a large circle for “Auld Lang Syne”. 

Erin will take home happy memories of the event after she finishes her internship in late April. In the meantime, she is based in the Scottish Parliament, doing an excellent job of assisting Mr Walker’s staff with research and media. 

After she completes her current degree, she is set to take up a place at Law School where she will study to become an attorney.

Political Science Student Erin Frazer and MSP Bill Walker at Burns Supper in Parliament

The Furman in Edinburgh Study Away Group outside Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus

Erin Frazer at the door to Craigmillar Castle, which lies just outside the city centre of Edinburgh

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