The US-Ireland Alliance celebrates the 20th anniversary of its George J. Mitchell Scholarship program with the selection of the 12 members of the class of 2020 following interviews held in Washington, D.C. today.
The Scholarship program, which sends future American leaders to the island of Ireland for a year of graduate study, was created by the founder and president of the US-Ireland Alliance, Trina Vargo, and is named in honor of Senator George Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.
Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, hosted a reception for finalists and alumni at his residence on Friday evening. Carolina Chavez, the Director of the Mitchell Scholarship Program, spoke of how the popularity of one of the most prestigious scholarships in the US continues to grow. A record number of 370 people applied for the 12 scholarships — a nearly 14% increase over the previous year and a 29% increase over 5 years. More than 200 Congressional districts and an equal number of colleges and universities are represented in this year’s applicant pool. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership, and service.
Members of the 2020 class include a recent intern for Ambassador Nikki Haley at the US Mission to the UN, who also combats political polarization in the United States; a researcher on the gut microbiome; two theater practitioners; a journalist and researcher, currently working on an upcoming Netflix documentary series on the 14th amendment; two reproductive rights advocates; and the co-president of Columbia University’s chapter of Lean In, who is interested in the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence.
Candidate interviews were held at the Doyle Collection’s Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. In addition to Ambassador Mulhall, members of the selection committee included Melissa Boteach, Senior VP of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress and Mitchell Scholar, Class of 2006; George C. Heslin, Founding Artistic Director of the Origin Theatre Company in New York City; Justin McCarthy, Senior Vice President at the Patient & Health Impact group at Pfizer; Dr. Bob Mauro, Executive Director of the Irish Institute and founding Director of the Global Leadership Institute at Boston College; Dr. Marc O Griofa, Chief Medical/Technology Officer at Noninvasive Medical Technologies; and Kathleen Romig, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Mitchell Scholar, Class of 2002.
Sponsors of the Mitchell Scholarship program include Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, and the American Ireland Fund. The Scholars will begin their studies in Ireland in September 2019.
George J. Mitchell Scholarship, Class of 2020
Ella Klahr Bunnell
SOURCE US-Ireland Alliance