Area students awarded Mitchell Scholarships

8 months ago

PORTLAND, Maine — The Mitchell Institute, a Maine-based nonprofit scholarship and research organization founded by Senator George J. Mitchell to improve college outcomes for students from every community in Maine, recently announced its 2023 cohort of Mitchell Scholars.

The 166 recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship, representing every public high school in Maine, will each receive a scholarship award of $10,000 to be paid out in four equal installments of $2,500, as well as ongoing personal, academic and professional support.

The following students from Aroostook County have been named 2023 Mitchell Scholars (please note there may be more than one Scholar from each high school):

Areli Anguiano - Fort Fairfield Middle/High School

Lillian Bray - Caribou High School

Jennah Brooks - Southern Aroostook Community School

Micah Calhoun - Ashland District School

Jenna Cochran - Easton Junior/Senior High School

Nickie Deschaine - Central Aroostook High School

Heidiann Echeverria - Washburn District High School

Brady Gagnon - Madawaska High School

Matthew Herrick - Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Hope Howland - Hodgdon Middle/High School

Joseph Lemieux - Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Christopher Nelson - Presque Isle High School

Olivia Ouellette - Wisdom Middle/High School

Connor Pelletier - Fort Kent Community High School

Mariah Peterson - Houlton High School

Christopher Tardie - Washburn District High School

Elyssa Violette - Van Buren District Secondary School

The 2023 class of Mitchell Scholars recently graduated from high schools across the state and will pursue their academic goals and career aspirations at colleges and universities in Maine and across the nation. They will do so with the support of the broader Mitchell Institute community, which includes more than 3,000 alumni who mentor Mitchell Scholars and hundreds of donors whose philanthropic investments continue to sustain the Institute’s ability to fund Scholars. Throughout college and the years following, the new Mitchell Scholars will have opportunities to engage with Mitchell Institute programs and resources focusing on financial assistance, leadership training, and academic and career support. The new class of 166 Mitchell Scholars will join 437 currently enrolled Scholars, who collectively will receive more than $5 million in awards from the Mitchell Institute during their college careers.

From Kittery to Madawaska, all of the college-bound students in the Class of 2023 Mitchell Scholars have distinguished themselves through academic excellence and community involvement. The 2023 Scholar cohort has also overcome several barriers to college access; 58 percent of the newest cohort of Mitchell Scholars will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college, and 84 percent are from families with incomes below Maine’s median. With financial and programmatic support from the Mitchell Institute, 89 percent of Scholars complete college and achieve a degree, compared with 62 percent nationally, and more than 90 percent earn all A’s and B’s in their college courses.

In 2023, the Mitchell Institute is awarding $10,000 scholarships to 20 additional Mitchell Scholars. The expansion is part of a plan to increase the number of scholarships the Mitchell Institute awards statewide over the next several years, said Jared Cash, president and CEO of the Mitchell Institute.

“Because of the strength of the outcomes we measure that are a direct result of the Scholarship and all of the wraparound supports we offer and to help meet the acute challenges facing our society and workforce, we recognized that now is the time to make this significantly increased investment in Maine’s young people,” Cash said. “Each Scholar represents the best of our great state and reflects Senator Mitchell’s vision of investing in young people so they, in turn, can strengthen their communities.”  

Kim Gustafson, scholarship director at the Mitchell Institute, oversaw the scholarship selection committee’s holistic review of 1,467 Mitchell Scholarship applications in 2023 that considered high school students’ academic potential, community impact, and degree of financial need.  

“It is an honor for the selection committee to explore the many facets of each application through multiple rounds of our evaluation process,” said Gustafson. “Every candidate presents a unique story, and the committee considers potential just as much as achievement. The final selection round always proves to be immensely challenging since there is an abundance of deserving young leaders from every corner of our state.”

The Mitchell Institute unlocks the potential of Maine college students so that they can find success in college and contribute to the vitality of their communities. The organization awards $1.66 million in college scholarship funds every year to students from public high schools in every community in Maine, but what separates it from traditional scholarship organizations is the broader array of support programs that it provides to students. This combination of personal, professional and financial support makes college degrees more attainable for Mitchell Scholars, who graduate at a rate 27 percent higher than the national average. Mitchell Scholars are also more likely than their peers to stay in Maine or return to the state after college. Founded by Senator George J. Mitchell, the Mitchell Institute’s core mission is to improve the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education. The Mitchell Institute strengthens Maine communities by providing a path to success in college and beyond.