Five Women Win Mitchell Scholarships for Graduate Study in Ireland

The US-Ireland Alliance has announced the 12 members of the George J. Mitchell Scholar Class of 2024. The scholarship program was named in honor of U.S. Senator George Mitchell’s role as chairman of the Northern Ireland peace talks. As one of the country’s most prestigious scholarship programs, it sends future American leaders to the island of Ireland for a year of graduate study. This year, 306 individuals applied for the 12 scholarships. Five of the 12 winners are women.

Alexandra Bennion, a resident of Tampa, Florida, is a senior biology major at Duke University. Her research is focused on inflammatory breast cancer. She is working to identify unique target biomarkers for predicting drug efficacy. Bennion will study translational oncology at Trinity College Dublin. She hopes to determine if inter-generational physiological stress, prompted by historical events such as the Great Famine, still impacts cancer gene expression in the Irish today.

Teresa Gao, a resident of Provo, Utah, is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies computer science and engineering as well as brain and cognitive sciences. Gao is completely self-taught on the viola and has earned a highly competitive seat in the MIT Chamber Music Society. She also performs with the competitive MIT Bhangra dance team. Gao will study augmented and virtual reality at Trinity College Dublin.

Rabhya Mehrotra, a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, is a senior at Yale University studying computer science and political science. She is interested in reforming democracy to empower citizens. In the summer of 2021, Rabhya lived in Iceland as part of the Program in Grand Strategy, studying the country’s 2010 constitutional reform process, which used citizen-drafters instead of politicians. In Ireland, Mehrotra will study political communication at Dublin City University.

Alexa Mohsenzadeh, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, is a senior at Emory University studying neuroscience and behavioral biology and ethics. She is the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit Her Drive, which has delivered 1.1 million period and hygiene products globally since 2020. Mohsenzadeh is the principal percussionist of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and is proficient in Persian and French. Long-term, her goal is to improve women’s health outcomes through rights advocacy and reform and will study gender, globalization, and rights at the University of Galway.

Zoha Siddiqui, a resident of McLean, Virginia, is a senior at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she studies international relations and transitional justice, the process by which states redress mass violence. She is the co-founder and co-director of HER, a non-profit organization, that has led to the creation of 13 libraries for over 20,000 students attending underfunded girls’ schools in rural and urban areas of Pakistan and Morocco. She will study conflict transformation and social justice at Queen’s University Belfast.

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