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Daniel Driscoll CC’20 receives prestigious Mitchell Scholarship

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Daniel Driscoll CC20, a philosophy major with a concentration in history from Youngstown, Ohio, has been selected as one of 12 recipients of the prestigious George J. Mitchell Scholarship. Mitchell Scholarships provide one year of postgraduate study in an Irish university in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Driscoll will pursue an M.Phil. in early modern history at Trinity College Dublin.

“I am beyond excited by the opportunity to study class and economic history at Trinity next year,” said Driscoll. “Ireland has its own history of poverty and marginalization which still affects the culture today,” an understanding of which Driscoll hopes to bring back to Ohio sometime in the future.

Daniel Driscoll cc'20

Photo courtesy of Daniel Driscoll CC’20

“As a QuestBridge Scholar from the Midwest, I am interested in understanding the quasi-revolutionary social changes taking place on the island [of Ireland] over the past 30 years,” said Driscoll, “and bringing those mentalities back to Ohio.”

At Columbia, Driscoll has been a contributor to the Columbia Daily Spectator and director of the Meade Anderson Undergraduate Philosophy Forum. He was a coordinator for the Columbia Project for the Homeless and has led pre-orientation programming through the Columbia Urban Experience. Driscoll is also a member of the Columbia Debate Society.

“Over the past few years, Columbia College has facilitated my personal and academic journey,” said Driscoll. “For that, I will be forever grateful.”

“Dan is an exceptional student, and his interest in the ways in which existential and philosophical questions can be connected to the challenges of our society speak to his intellectual engagement and his commitment to the people around him,” said Ariella Lang, associate dean of Academic Affairs and director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. I know he will take full advantage of his time as a Mitchell Scholar, and I look forward with great anticipation to learning of the contributions he will make as a future leader of his community.

Driscoll credits in particular his experience as a history student while at the College with helping to foster his passion for and expertise in historical research.

“The history departments at Columbia and Barnard are full of professors with a sincere passion for research and instruction,” said Driscoll. “From Columbia College, I'd like to thank [Associate Professor of History] Neslihan Senocak for being the first to recognize my potential as a historian and [for] giving me the opportunity to show my strengths.

“From Barnard, [Professor of History] Joel Kaye has pushed me to put my best work forward and never shy away from a difficult research question,” Driscoll added. “These two amongst many others have provided me with invaluable support over these past few years.”

The Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former U.S. 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. Applicants, who must be between 18 and 30, are judged on their scholarship, leadership and sustained commitment to community and public service. Only four percent of candidates are accepted into the program.

The scholarship is the flagship project of the nonprofit U.S.-Ireland Alliance, founded in 1998 by Trina Vargo, a former foreign policy adviser to Senator Ted Kennedy who was also heavily involved in the Northern Ireland peace process. The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides tuition, room and board, travel expenses and a living stipend.

Past Columbia College winners of the Mitchell Scholarship include 2018 winner Kara Schechtman CC’19, who is currently pursuing an M. Phil. in philosophy at Trinity College Dublin; Daniel Listwa CC’15, a 2014 winner who pursued an M.A. in philosophy and public affairs at University College Dublin; and Lillian Jin CC’13, a 2013 winner who studied public health and University College of Dublin. Learn more about the Mitchell program and this year’s winners. Students and recent alumni interested in applying for the Mitchell Scholarship can reach out to Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.