GU Leads in Mitchell Scholarships
November 23, 2010 –A Georgetown student who proposed the Bleeding Disorders Screening, Awareness and Further Education (SAFE) Act of 2010 in his junior year has won a prestigious Mitchell Scholarship.
Derick Stace-Naughton of Madison, Wisc., a senior who suffers from a genetic condition that prevents his blood from clotting properly, will use his Mitchell Scholarship to study health communication at the University of Ulster in the 2011-2012 academic year.
His mother and sister suffer from a more severe form of the blood disorder and are now in chronic pain and on disability.
"While I was working on the SAFE act, I constantly had to sell my idea to government policymakers," the physics and English major said in an interview. "Now I'd like to be on the other side of that dynamic. I want to help solve the core global challenges of the 21st century."
Leading in Mitchells
The scholarships are named for former Sen. George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) and provide for a year of graduate study at a university in Ireland. The U.S.-Ireland Alliance, which funds the scholarship, announced the winners Nov. 21.
Mitchell, best known as the senator who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland, became Special Envoy for Middle East Peace for the Obama administration in 2009.
Georgetown has produced more Mitchells than any other university - 13 of the 137 awarded since the scholarship's inception.
During his sophomore year, Stace-Naughton took part in the physics department's Program on Science in the Public Interest (SPI), for which students examine national environmental, energy, health and security issues and have helped pass legislation.
He developed a proposal for the SAFE act, and, after being discouraged by many a politico in Washington, eventually found a sponsor in Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.).
The bill, whose co-sponsors included Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a series of measures, including grants to provide screenings for the disorder among high schools.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Since 2001, the U.S.-Ireland Alliance has awarded up to 12 Mitchell Scholarships annually for American students age 18 to 30 to study at one of nine Irish institutions of higher learning. The purpose of the program is to foster intellectual achievement and connect the next generation of American leaders to Ireland.
The Mitchell Scholarship and Jesuit education share key ideas, says John Glavin, fellowship secretary and a professor in the English department.
That's important to José Canto (C'08, L'12), a 2009-2010 Mitchell scholar now attending Georgetown Law and working in the Baltimore City public defender's office.
"Even though it's not a Jesuit scholarship, the Mitchell is pretty much looking for those Jesuit ideals of men and women for others, contemplation in action – all those key phrases you see on banners around campus are pretty much Mitchell values," Canto says.