Seven Women Win Mitchell Scholarships

The George J. Mitchell Scholarships are administered by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance. Winners of these prestigious scholarships are selected to pursue a year of postgraduate study at universities on the island of Ireland. Created more than a decade ago, the scholarship program was named in honor of U.S. Senator George Mitchell’s role as chairman of the Northern Ireland peace talks.

The program has been slated for elimination from the budget of the Department of State but a campaign by elected officials, university presidents, and the government of Ireland persuaded the State Department to continue the program for the present time.

This year’s fifteenth class of 12 Mitchell Scholars was chosen from nearly 300 applicants. Seven of the 12 new Mitchell Scholars are women.


(L to R) Sarah Bufkin, Molly Hayes, Meghan Hussey, Lillian Jin, Destenie Nock, Sanette Tanaka, and Kat Trujillo

Sarah Bufkin is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in cultural studies and history. She has already spent time in Ireland at the Seamus Heaney Poetry Summer School. Bufkin, a native of Atlanta, will study moral, legal, and political philosophy at Queen’s University in Belfast. When she returns to the United States she plans to enroll in a joint JD/Ph.D. program and to work as a public interest lawyer.

Molly Hayes is a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she majored in English and Arabic. She is currently serving as the Kenya Desk Officer at the U.S. State Department. In this post, she led the Washington-based crisis response team during the terrorist attacks at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi this past September. Hayes will study postcolonial and world literatures at National University of Ireland in Maynooth.

Meghan Hussey from Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in international relations and political science. At the present time, Hussey is an international fellow for the Mosaic Collaborative for Disabilities Policy and Practice in Moshi, Tanzania. During the 2012-13 academic year, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Beijing Normal University in China. In Ireland, Hussey will study global health at Trinity College Dublin.

Lillian Jin, from Newtown, Pennsylvania, is a graduate of Columbia University in New York. She was a double major in English and biology. Jin is currently working with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS initiative in Lesotho in southern Africa. Jin will study public health at University College Dublin.

Destenie Nock is a senior at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where she is majoring in electrical engineering and applied mathematics. She spent four weeks in Malawi last summer teaching young women to make reusable, environmentally friendly sanitary napkins. In Ireland, Nock will study sustainable electrical energy systems at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Sanette Tanaka is a reporter and multimedia producer for The Wall Street Journal, where she works on the paper’s weekly luxury real estate section. Tanaka is a 2012 graduate of Duke University where she majored in public policy and history. She was also editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Chronicle. In Ireland, Tanaka will study creative and digital media at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Kat Trujillo is a native of South Central Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human security and gender issues at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She will study human rights law at the University of Ulster in Belfast.

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