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The number of prestigious scholarships awarded to Penn students this year continues to increase. 

Following the announcement of two Rhodes Scholars at Penn, Engineering senior Carla Winter was named one of 12 Mitchell Scholars last Saturday along with fellow Quaker Phillip Cohen, a third-year medical student.

Selected from 284 applicants by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, each Mitchell Scholar is given the opportunity to have one year of post-graduate study at an institution of higher learning in Ireland. Winter, who is majoring in bioengineering with minors in mathematics and biophysics, will be studying for a master’s degree in regenerative medicine at the National University of Ireland Galway, which is ranked among the top two percent of universities in the world.

“In the past I’ve had the great experiences of conducting research at Penn, outside of Penn and previously at Cambridge, and I thought being able to research and study at different places can give me a different perspective on the problem I’m trying to solve,” Winter said, who is focusing on neuroengineering and the regeneration of the central and peripheral nervous systems in particular. 

“There’s one lab in particular that kept coming up in my literature reviews that was out of Galway, so that really turned my interest into pursuing research at Galway in particular because it has a regenerative medicine institute, which really aligns with my research and academic interests,” she added.

Although the Mitchell Scholarship is a relatively young program compared to the more well-known Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, the selection progress is just as rigorous. After submitting her application, Winter had a Skype interview as a semifinalist, another interview in Washington D.C. as one of 20 finalists and was finally chosen by a selection committee made up of a CEO, a former governor, an acclaimed director, a law professor and other distinguished individuals.

Named after George J. Mitchell, who was a United States senator from Maine and contributed to the Northern Ireland peace process as the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland under President Bill Clinton, the Mitchell Scholarship seeks to introduce future American leaders to the island of Ireland and promote intellectual achievement, leadership and public service.

“What I’m most looking forward to is being in Ireland and experiencing a culture I’ve never been exposed to before and also being in the community of Mitchell Scholars," Winter said. "I think that’s a very important and special part of this program that you are in this community of 12 scholars and you’re really able to learn from each other. The scholars range from all different academic interests, from history and medieval art to medicine to economics, so we would really be able to learn from our peers as well as Ireland itself.”

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