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19th Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars Announced


Photos from reception:



November 18, 2017:  The US-Ireland Alliance selected the 12 members of the 2019 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars following interviews held in Washington, D.C. today.

Members of the class include a scientist bridging the divide between science and the public; a future Civil Affairs officer in the Army Reserves; a geographer interested in climate change; an immigrant from Guinea working for Bloomberg Philanthropies; a Syracuse football player working on Congolese refugee resettlement; a composer; an Anti-Corruption Advisor at the Department of State; a future doctor committed to rural healthcare; an education rights advocate; an Alzheimer’s researcher; a public health analyst interested in healthcare reform; and a future attorney interested in restorative justice.

The Mitchell Scholarship program was created 20 years ago by Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance.  This year, the nationwide competition attracted a record 326 applicants for the 12 scholarships, named in honor of Senator Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.  Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership, and service and spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, hosted a reception for finalists and alumni of the program at his Washington, D.C. residence. Carolina Chavez, the Director of the Mitchell Scholarship Program introduced the twenty finalists.

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 Wardah Athar, MD/PhD student at Yale and Mitchell Scholar, Class of 2014; Melissa Boteach, Vice President at the Center for American Progress and Mitchell Scholar, Class of 2006; Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and the author of three bestselling books, including Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania; Bob Mauro, Director of the Irish Institute at Boston College; and Craig Mullaney who leads Strategic Partner Development officer at Facebook.

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 2018. 


George J. Mitchell Scholarship, Class of 2019

Christopher Dade is a senior majoring in Chemistry at the University of Missouri.  In 2016, he received a DAAD Summer Research Internship at the Leibniz Institute in Germany to research lead compounds for new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and HIV.  He serves as Campus President of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, where he works on the annual lobbying platform, and was the central organizer of the March for Science in mid-Missouri earlier this year.  For the past three years, Christopher has served as the Site Leader for Mizzou’s alternative spring breaks, organizing projects focused on natural habitat restoration, public lands preservation, and food insecurity.  He is also a trumpet player for the Marching Mizzou.  Christopher plans to promote engagement between the scientific community and the public.  He will study Science Communication at Dublin City University before obtaining a PhD in Chemical Biology.

Theodore Delicath graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) with a degree in Political Science.  During college, Ted served in various roles on the Student Senate, including Vice President, and helped rewrite the Senate’s constitution and increased the number of student seats in the body.  He also served a co-campaign manager for a local mayoral candidate, who ultimately became Mayor of Bloomington, Illinois. Ted lived alongside Ugandan farmers for a summer, conducting crop research and market studies that eventually led to the creation of a loan program that continues today.  After college, Ted received a CORO Fellowship, a nine-month leadership training program for public affairs professionals.  He enlisted in the United States Army in 2014 and currently serves as a Ranger-qualified Platoon Leader at Fort Drum, New York. He will study International Security and Conflict Studies at Dublin City University.

Celia Hallan is a senior at Michigan State University double majoring in International Relations and Environmental Geography.  A Minnesota native, Celia is passionate about the environment, energy policy and climate change.  She has authored and co-authored published papers in scientific journals on energy research and sustainability.   Celia was awarded a merit scholarship that allowed her to study climate and sustainability in the Antarctic Peninsula and Argentina and has also studied in Costa Rica and the San Juan Islands.  She co-founded the Spartan Sierra Club, which engages students at MSU in local and national environmental issues through service, and serves as the Under-Secretary General of Crisis for her campus Model UN organization.  Celia plans to work in the not-for-profit sector and will study Geography at University College Dublin.

Originally from West Africa, Fatoumata (Fatou) Keita graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a degree in Government and Business.  After successfully leaving home to attend college despite cultural norms, Fatou engaged herself in advocacy work, helping asylum seekers from conflict areas and tutoring and mentoring local refugee and low-income students.  In 2015, Fatou was selected to participate in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program at the University of Michigan, a highly competitive program that prepares future leaders for public service.  Fatou received several awards at Franklin and Marshall recognizing her leadership, perseverance, and civic engagement. She currently works for Bloomberg Philanthropies, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization that awards strategic grants. Fatou’s goal is to advocate for women’s rights and leadership and will study Gender and Women’s Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

Cameron MacPherson recently graduated with a double major in International Relations and Television, Radio, and Film and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Pan-African Studies at Syracuse University.  Cameron studies the Congolese refugee community and the role that faith plays in their resettlement.  In summer 2017, he received a grant to conduct research on grassroots social organizations in Boston’s Congolese community. He volunteers with Writing Our Lives, a creative literacy program for local middle school students, leading poetry workshops and units in oral history and journalism.  As a senior, Cameron was named a Remembrance Scholar, one of SU’s highest honors created to remember the victims from Pan Am flight 103. He was also recognized as a First Team Academic All-American for his academic accomplishments and athletic contributions to the Division I Syracuse Football team.  A spoken word poet, Cameron will study Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

James May graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The College of Wooster with a dual degree in Music Composition and English and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Composition at the University of Louisville.  James has created over a dozen original compositions that have been performed by students and ensembles around the country. Frequently involved in concert organization, James has participated in numerous creative arrangements that have allowed him to explore socio-political topics, such as Native American rights, food justice, and violence. In early 2017, James received a prize from the San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices project for “The Garden,” which was later performed at the organization’s concert series.  In addition to music, James volunteered extensively throughout college and is currently teaching contemporary music at a Louisville high school.  He will study Music Performance at University College Cork.

Schuyler Miller graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia with a degree in Government and Foreign Affairs.  Focused on advancing good governance in political systems, Schuyler currently works as an Anti-Corruption Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, where he oversees foreign capacity building and supports multilateral policy-making.  He previously worked for the National Endowment for Democracy, where he helped democratic activists advocate for their freedoms.  As an undergraduate, Schuyler served on the UVA Student Council and co-founded and directed the Democracy Network, a UVA student organization focused on promoting citizen participation in politics.  He also served as the Managing Editor of the Wilson Journal, UVA’s journal of international affairs.  Schuyler plans to study International Politics at Trinity College Dublin.

Anjali Misra is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. A native of Iowa, Anjali attributes her drive to become a medical doctor and founder of a global network of non-traditional health care programs to her familiarity with health disparities in rural areas. Throughout college, she served as an Emergency Medical Technician with MIT’s ambulance service and was a research fellow with Harvard Medical School’s Family Van, combatting preventable disease in vulnerable communities. A passionate advocate for CPR and First Aid education, Anjali has provided training to nearly 1,000 individuals in Cambridge as the Director of Project HeartSafe.  She currently serves as the Co-President of SHINE for Girls, a mentoring program coupling math and dance to increase young girls’ confidence and interest in STEM. Anjali will study Public Health at University College Cork.

Alexander Peeples is a double major in History and Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  A Bonner Scholar, he currently serves as the Co-President of Campus Y, UNC’s Center for Social Justice, which houses 30 service and advocacy organizations.  This year, he founded a conference for campus leaders on local social issues and helped lead campus activism around civil rights and free speech.  As President of the Carolina Parliamentary Debate Team, Alex helped lead the team to its all-time best ranking of 15th in the country.  Off campus, Alex works at the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, which seeks to preserve the marginalized Northside Neighborhood of Chapel Hill through property collectives, a food bank, oral histories, and education initiatives.  Alex’s academic research focuses on Tanzania’s education laws, and argues that education should be considered a global human right.  He will study International Justice at Maynooth University.

Hadley Pfalzgraf is currently a senior majoring in Neuroscience at Northwestern University.  Hadley’s research on human memory led to her interest in Alzheimer’s disease.  In 2016, she was accepted into the prestigious NEURON Research Program and received multi-year support for her brain research, which she has also presented at the Alzheimer’s Day Conference and the Society for Neuroscience Chicago Meeting.  In addition to her work in the lab, Hadley volunteers at a hospice, providing comfort to unresponsive patients.  As a Brady Scholar in Ethics and Civic Life, she examines how to promote the most good in society, leading initiatives such as promoting early childhood literacy.  Hadley’s goal is to pursue an MD-PhD and become a medical researcher.  She will study of Neuroscience at University College Cork.

Shauna Rust graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a degree in Health Policy and Management and is currently a Public Health Analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In her current role, Shauna focuses on access to care for underserved and vulnerable populations. As a college senior, she served as a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, conducting research on youth tobacco use that informed a policy white paper that was published by various outlets, including the New York Times. Her senior thesis on tobacco marketing received highest honors from UNC and is being prepared for journal publication. She also served as Co-President of Campus Y: UNC’s Center for Social Justice, where she created the First-Year Council to introduce first-year students to social justice, advocacy, and organizing.  Shauna will study Public Policy at University College Dublin.

Jackson Skeen is a senior English major at Duke University. He began at Duke as a Robertson Scholar, a competitive leadership development program that provides a four-year merit scholarship. Jackson’s academic and research interests focus on the criminal justice system, specifically its shortcomings in the United States, and the role restorative justice can play in the legal process. He has conducted research on prison labor conditions in the southern U.S. states during the 19th century and on the 42 exoneration cases that have occurred in North Carolina since 1989. He is a founding member of Duke’s Restorative Justice Working Group and the Undergraduate Director of Duke Law School’s Innocence Project. This past summer, he interned at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Criminal Justice Reform practice group, working on a case alleging that poor defendants in Louisiana do not stand equal before the law. A future attorney, Jackson will study Criminology and Criminal Justice at University College Dublin.