Mitchell Scholarship Overview


Bessie Young '11 History & Purpose: The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, was named to honor former U.S. Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. It 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. The Alliance was created by Trina Vargo in 1998, in recognition of the fact that the relationship between the United States and Ireland was undergoing a dramatic transformation. Ireland had emerged as a modern, confident and successful European country, and traditional sentimental attachments on the U.S. side were being reinforced by the desire to forge a modern, mutually beneficial relationship. Based in Washington, D.C., and Dublin, Ireland, the US-Ireland Alliance  educates the American public about contemporary Ireland and is building on historic ties to assure a strong and vibrant relationship into the future.

Award description: 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, including Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dun Laoghaire IADT, National University of Ireland, Galway, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin,University College Cork,University College Dublin,  University of Limerick, Queen's University Belfast, and Ulster University. Candidates choose 3-5 universities where they would like to study and list them on the Scholarship application, but do not need to apply separately to the universities. If selected as a Scholar, the alliance aims to honor a candidate's university preferences but candidates are not guaranteed their first choice.

Funding details: The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides full tuition, housing, and a monthly living stipend (currently $1250 USD) for up to one year (12 months) of post-graduate academic study in Ireland. Most programs run for nine months. Up to three additional months of stipend will be provided, if required by the program (for a maximum of 12 months). One round-trip airline ticket between the United States and Ireland is also provided.  Each Mitchell Scholar is responsible for securing and financing his or her own health insurance while abroad

Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, between 18 and 30 (not yet 30 on Sept. 30th of year of application), who are graduating seniors or alumni, and exhibit superior levels of academic scholarship, leadership and a sustained commitment to community and public service.

How to Apply

COVID-19 Note from the Foundation: We are still hoping that the already selected class of 2021 will be able to begin their graduate programs in Ireland and Northern Ireland this fall.  If that becomes impossible, we will defer the entire class to the fall of 2021 and suspend selection this year.  We expect to confirm the path forward no later than August, well in advance of the September 25th application deadline.
Seniors must apply through the Amherst campus process, which includes general guidance from the Director of Fellowships and submission of the application by the internal deadline of August 27, 2021. Candidates must request that recommenders submit letters by that date as well. During early September, all candidates will be interviewed by the campus Committee on Student Fellowships, who will decide whom to endorse as AC nominees to Mitchell. Endorsed candidates will submit their final applications by September 23rd. The Director will attach endorsement letters to these applications, and submit them to Mitchell. 
Endorsements: Amherst may endorse an unlimited number of candidates. Alumni apply as "at large" candidates rather than through the campus process, but are encouraged to be in touch with the Director of Fellowships for general application advice. Note that Mitchell forbids candidates from receiving any advice on written essays for this application.

Application materials: The application includes a personal statement and, transcripts from all college work, and space to list numerous service and leadership activities. Application components and instructions are described in detail on the Mitchell Application page. Once you have completed your application in the Mitchell online portal, download a pdf from the portal and send it to the AC Director of Fellowships. Ask your recommenders to send their letters also to the Director of Fellowships as advisors have no access to the Mitchell portal. 

For Recommenders

Content: The Mitchell Scholarships Committee values intellectual distinction, a clear commitment to service evidenced by purposeful extracurricular activities, honesty, integrity, excellence, fairness, unselfish service to others, and the potential for future leadership and contribution to society. Your letter will be most convincing if you can provide examples of how the candidate possesses these qualities. Academic recommenders should also comment on the candidate's potential for success in a graduate program in Ireland, and vouch for the fitness of the candidate's chosen program(s) of study, if possible. The candidate should provide you a copy of the personal statement so you know their intentions.

Format: Recommendation letters for the Mitchell may not exceed 750 words and are copied and pasted into an online portal in response to an email the student will generate within the application portal. You will receive instructions in that email. Please note the internal deadline for recommendations for seniors is August 27, 2021. Address your letter to the Mitchell Scholarship Selection Committee. The Director of Fellowships will be able to retrieve your letter from the Mitchell online portal for campus review by the Committee on Student Fellowships.

Mitchell website:

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536, 
Eric Myers, Associate Director, Fellowships                            
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002

Bessie Young '11 was named a Mitchell Scholar in 2012.