Thursday, 10 September, 2020
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The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former US Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

George Mitchell

Here are some examples of past Mitchell Scholars and how they have benefited from the programme.

Peter Kiernan  

Peter is the Deputy Chief of Staff for State Operations in the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.  He is playing a central part in the Covid-19 response in New York State. His role in the Governor's office is coordinating the operational efforts across all State agencies. This involves larger projects like increasing lab capacity and testing operations, collection and distribution of ventilators and PPE, standing up surge sites like the Javits hospital, adjusting equipment and policies to provide essential State functions remotely, while continuously addressing the numerous smaller problems occurring on a daily basis.

Irish American; had visited family in Ireland about 5 or 6 times before going over on the Mitchell. Family is spread between Fermanagh, Belfast, Meath and outside Dublin (mostly concentrated between the first two). His first trip to Ireland was in 2000 for a cousin's ordination as a priest and has been over for a wedding and other vacations.

As a Mitchell Scholar, Peter studied Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin/Belfast program. Raised on Long Island, Pete joined the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after high school and became the youngest Marine to serve in the elite Special Operations Command in Afghanistan.  After six years of service, he enrolled at Columbia University where he founded a non-profit organization dedicated to providing military veterans equal access to top colleges and universities.  Peter obtained his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Columbia.

Nick Johnson 

In March 2020 Nick Johnson was promoted to Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin.  He is also the new head of the Creative Arts Practice research theme in the college.  He is the co-founder of the Samuel Beckett Laboratory, where the techniques of the theatre laboratory are used to produce cutting-edge research and practice in relation to Beckett in performance. He is a director, adaptor, and literary translator. Since 2013 he has lectured, led workshops, and toured his theatre projects worldwide. In 2016, he held a visiting research fellowship at Yale University.  Nick is also writing papers and articles from the rare perspective of someone who is both an academic and a drama practitioner. After beginning an M.Litt as a Mitchell Scholar at Trinity in 2005, he stayed in Ireland to pursue a PhD in Drama. Nick was awarded the inaugural Samuel Beckett Studentship in support of his research. An actor, he was cast in several productions and quickly became integrated into a strong Irish community of writers, performers and directors. He led Painted Filly Theatre from 2006 to 2014, and now works as a freelance artist alongside his academic work. Nick obtained his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University.

Nick has Northern Irish ancestry but wasn’t well connected before he became a Mitchell; he now lives in Dublin, married to an Irish woman.

Kathleen Long 

After serving as the Chief of Staff to Mayor Andre Sayegh in Paterson, New Jersey, Kathleen Long has been appointed Business Administrator (COO) of the city. Prior to joining the Administration, she served as Director of Development for Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children. Kathleen is a 2002 Mitchell Scholar. She received a Master's Degree in Government Studies from University College Cork. Her thesis research examined statistics on the participation of women in politics in Ireland and compared them with data from the United States and countries in Northern Europe. Following the completion of her scholarship year, she worked for the US-Ireland Alliance and helped lead a congressional delegation to Ireland. Kathleen obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. Kathleen and Arsalan Suleman, two Mitchell Scholars from different years, teamed up recently.  Arsalan is a founder of America Indivisible -- their mission is to grow the number of Americans who know their fellow Muslim, Arab, Black, Sikh, and South Asian American neighbors.  Kathleen and Arsalan worked together as Paterson has the second largest Muslim population in the US after Dearborn, Michigan and Mayor Sayegh leads with a "One Paterson" message. 

Kathleen is rish American; her husband is from Northern Ireland and they were married there years ago.  

Conor Walsh 

Conor is a Product Manager for Duolingo in Pittsburgh. Previously, he served as the Community Manager at SOSventures where he fostered strong teams and communities across SOSV accelerator ecosystem. Conor is a 2013 Mitchell Scholar. He received a Master's Degree in Pleanáil Teanga (Language Planning) from the National University of Ireland, Galway. The course, taught through Irish, examined the issue of endangered languages and used the Gaeltacht as a case study. Conor studied Irish as an undergraduate at Harvard and spent the summer before the program living in Connemara in order to develop his language skills. He is passionate about the issue of linguistic diversity and the tragic loss of culture and intangible heritage, such as oral history, that accompanies the disappearance of a language.

He wants to leverage technology to support the preservation of endangered languages.

Conor is an Irish American; an Irish speaker who worked for Sean O’Sullivan for a while and then went to Harvard Business School. He works for DuoLingo in Pittsburgh and spoke at a conference in Dublin last fall.

Kathleen White 

Kathleen is now working as the Community Development Coordinator with the South Inner City Community Development Association (SICCDA) in Dublin. Prior to that, she did a 9-month internship with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection working on Economic and Social Analysis with the Statistics and Business Intelligence Unit.

Kathleen is a 2018 Mitchell Scholar and obtained an MA in Sociology at UCC. Prior to going to Ireland, Kathleen joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college and served as Outreach Coordinator for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth where she worked on abolishing juvenile life without parole.  Her devotion to criminal justice reform began in college when she participated in a new Criminal Justice Ethics program on Rikers Island, where she studied criminal justice theories and debated possible reforms with inmates. After college, she worked as a Job Coach and Case Manager for Jersey City, helping residents returning home from prison reintegrate into their communities. Kathleen obtained degrees in History and Peace Studies from Manhattan College.

Kathleen believes her great grandparents were Irish. She met some distant relatives in Wicklow recently. 

Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one academic year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Applicants are judged on three criteria:

  • scholarship,
  • leadership, and
  • a sustained commitment to community and public service.

The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides tuition, accommodation, and a stipend for living expenses and travel. Find out more about how to apply here.