English major awarded George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study in Ireland

Taylor Michele Houdlette, a third-year English major at the University of Maine, has been awarded the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship and will study abroad in Ireland during the fall 2018 semester as part of the student exchange program.

The competitive merit-based scholarship is made possible by an agreement between Maine and Ireland for a student exchange at the university level. It honors the 1998 Northern Ireland peace accord brokered by Sen. Mitchell between Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The University of Maine System awards one full scholarship or two one-semester scholarships per year which allow students to study at University College Cork in Ireland.

As a George J. Mitchell Exchange Scholar, Houdlette plans to delve into the local language and culture by taking courses such as Northern Ireland history, Middle English literature, Irish folklore and Irish Gaelic language as well as establishing connections with other students and exploring the surrounding area.

She also plans to continue her dedication to volunteerism by joining societies present at the University College Cork campus, such as Amnesty International.

“Having the chance to attend UCC through the George J. Mitchell Scholarship is quite an honor. My passion for English will carry over nicely as I pursue the intersection between writing studies and Irish cultural studies at UCC,” says Houdlette, a student in the Honors College who is pursuing a minor in leadership studies.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to develop myself as a citizen on the local and global scale through volunteerism and leadership opportunities in Cork,” she says. “My hope is to bring a little bit of Cork back with me in terms of an Honors thesis as I plan on doing a ‘Humans of New York’-style social project. Going out into the local community and directly engaging with the population will be both nerve-racking and exciting, so it’s an opportunity I am definitely looking forward to.”

Houdlette of Dresden, Maine, is a resident assistant at UMaine. She is involved with Operation HEARTS, a student organization dedicated to volunteering at medical organizations around the state; is president of Alpha Lambda Delta, a national first-year honors society; and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Houdlette graduated salutatorian of the 2016 Richmond High School class.

To be selected for the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship, students’ applications are reviewed by a University of Maine System committee comprised of study abroad professionals. Selection criteria includes high academic achievements, leadership skills, commitment to community service and the ability to promote the scholarship to the academic and wider community.

“It’s an incredible experience to have a chance at, and I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout the process,” says Houdlette, who was guided in the application process by professors in the Department of English, as well as staff at the Office of Major Scholarships, located in Fogler Library, and the UMaine Office of International Programs, which helped administer the award.

More about the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities are listed on the Office of Major Scholarships website.

Other study abroad opportunities can be found on the Office of International Programs website.

Contact: Elyse Catalina, 581.3747