Two George J. Mitchell Scholars to attend University of Galway

Alexander Firestine and Alexa Mohsenzadeh
Feb 14 2023 Posted: 15:25 GMT

Two student from the US are to attend University of Galway under the Mitchell Scholarship programme for 2023/24. 

The George J. Mitchell Scholarships are highly competitive prizes awarded to twelve student by the US-Ireland Alliance. They are aimed at supporting distinguished graduate students from the US who wish to pursue one year of study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Professor Becky Whay, University of Galway’s Vice President International, said: “We are delighted that such talented young people saw fit to choose University of Galway as the venue for their graduate studies, and that we have an opportunity to host such distinguished scholars. We are very conscious of the prestige attached to the George J. Mitchell Scholarship programme and it reflects our strong academic portfolio, as well as the supportive and welcoming environment we provide to students from all over the world."

The two University of Galway Mitchell Scholars have distinguished academic and civic careers to date.

Alexander Firestine - a senior at the University of Pittsburgh where he studies Finance, Accounting, and Business Information Systems. Alex is the recipient of a Chancellor’s Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship at University of Pittsburgh. 

His interest is in food insecurity and how data analytics, may be used to alleviate the problem. Involved with Food21, a non-profit committed to building resilient food systems, Alex co-led a project that developed a digital tool using data to measure regional food insecurity and identify areas where food apartheids may exist in Pittsburgh. 

He is investigating the relationship between accessibility of food outlets via public transportation and rates of food insecurity and is identifying pickup areas for the implementation of a virtual grocery store, bringing sustainable food to thousands in need. Alex served as Corporate Relations Manager of Enactus, a national organization that promotes social entrepreneurship. 

As President of the League of Emerging Analytics Professionals, Alex led an organisation of more than 120 members who teach entry level workshops for programs like Python and Tableau. He also designed a university-accredited extracurricular institute that now teaches analytics to 300+ students as a core class. During his time as President, the organisation was awarded #1 student organisation at Pittsburgh. He is heavily involved in service work and personally contact-less delivered more than 10,000 meals during the Covid pandemic. 

At University of Galway, Alexander will study MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture.

Alexa Mohsenzadeh - senior at Emory University studying Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and Ethics. She received Emory’s most prestigious merit scholarship, the Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship, for demonstrating outstanding achievement in academics and music. 

As the Co-Founder and CEO of the non-profit Her Drive, Alexa has led the distribution of 1.1 million period and hygiene products globally, including 45 states across the US, as well as the UK, Canada, and Mexico since 2020. Through this work, she has mentored more than  1,200 volunteers and supported a diverse range of populations, including immigrant detainees and refugees, low-income students, rural and Indigenous communities, LGBT+ youth, and survivors of domestic violence. Recognised as 1 of “50 Period Heroes” nationwide, Her Drive is partnering with Always and Walmart this year to distribute 50,000 period products to people in need in Georgia, Illinois, and Louisiana. 

At Emory, Alexa has conducted research in neuroethics, compassion-based ethics, and feminist neuroscience with aims to integrate feminist, cross-cultural perspectives into our scientific and legal awareness. This past year, she also worked for the non-profit, New American Pathways, where she supported newly arriving refugees in Georgia by improving their access to community resources as they underwent the resettlement process. 

She is the principal percussionist of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and is proficient in Persian and French. Long-term, Alexa is driven to improve women’s health outcomes through rights advocacy and reform and will study MA in Gender, Globalisation, and Rights at the University of Galway.


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