The Mitchell Scholars Program offers a national competitive scholarship 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. It is named after former Senator George Mitchell who played a leading part in the Northern Island peace process. The scholarship is awarded each year to twelve high achieving students.
Among this yearâ€™s recipients is Wardah Athar. She will graduate from Georgetown University in 2013 with a degree in neurobiology. Her research interest is in the development of the cerebral cortex and neuropsychiatric diseases. Athar is a Howard Hughes Scholar as well as a John Carroll Fellow at Georgetown and is president of the universityâ€™s Muslim Students Association. In this role, she has worked to create a relationship between the association and Habitat for Humanity, has organized interfaith discussions and prayer services, and is currently developing a civic engagement and advocacy effort that will address issues that directly affect the lives of Muslim Americans. Athar, an Urdu and Spanish speaker, is chair of Georgetownâ€™s first undergraduate-led committee dedicated to the support and advancement of undergraduate research. She has led the revival of the universityâ€™s interdisciplinary undergraduate research journal and is working toward the creation of a Center for Research and Inquiry. She will study Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin.