Yale senior and recent graduate will study in Ireland as Mitchell Scholars
Yale senior Makayla Haussler and recent graduate Rohan Naik ’18 are among the 12 individuals selected as Mitchell Scholars.
The U.S.-Ireland Alliance, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, selected the scholarship winners following final interviews in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 17. The scholarship program sends future leaders to the island of Ireland for a year of graduate study.
The Mitchell Scholarship Program was created by the founder and president of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, Trina Vargas, and is named in honor of Senator George Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.
Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, hosted a reception for the finalists and alumni at his residence on Nov. 16. Carolina Chavez, the director of the Mitchell Scholarship Program, spoke about the growing popularity of the prestigious scholarships. This year, a record 370 individuals applied for the 12 scholarships — a nearly 14% increase over the previous year and a 29% increase over five years. More than 200 Congressional districts and an equal number of colleges and universities are represented in this year’s applicant pool.
Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership, and service.
Haussler, who is majoring in political science, was born and raised in Nebraska. She has been politically active since high school, working on reproductive rights and social justice issues. At Yale, she has held various positions with College Democrats, served as the chair of a yale student’s campaign for city council, and interned in the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Planned Parenthood, and for other progressive causes. In 2017, she spearheaded a Yale students’ campaign to expand financial aid for undocumented students at public colleges. Last summer, she interned in Nebraska at a social justice not-for-profit and ended up working to prevent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Haussler will study the political rhetoric of the Together for Yes campaign in the Gender Studies program at University College in Dublin.
A journalist and researcher, Naik is currently working on an upcoming Netflix documentary series on the 14th amendment. Originally from Houston, he worked as a reporter for the Yale Daily News and the New Haven Independent while at Yale. He was also an intern at the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and ProPublica, where he researched and reported stories about air pollution in London and how police in the United States respond to hate crimes. As the head peer liaison at the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale, he created programming around the stigmatization of mental health issues and directed one of the university’s largest mentorship programs. He was selected by the university to conduct sexual violence prevention programming. In collaboration with the City of New Haven, Naik founded a gun buyback program. He is interested in researching how society remembers and constructs the past and will study public history at Queen’s University in Belfast.