Three Georgetown students won prestigious postgraduate scholarships in November, with Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14), Matthew Quallen (SFS ’16) and Hannah Schneider (COL ’15) winning the Mitchell, Marshall and Rhodes scholarships, respectively.
Prindiville is Georgetown’s 10th Mitchell Scholar, and Quallen is Georgetown’s 11th Marshall Scholar, the first recipients to win both awards since 2012. Schneider — one of 32 Americans to win the scholarship in 2016 — is Georgetown’s 24th Rhodes scholar and the first Georgetown award recipient since 2011.
The Marshall and Rhodes scholarships provide the opportunity for scholars to pursue postgraduate degrees in the U.K., with the Rhodes scholarship awarded specifically for study at the Oxford University.
Founded in 1998, the Mitchell Scholarship selects 12 scholars for a year of postgraduate study at an Irish university. Compared to the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, founded in 1903 and 1953, respectively, the relatively new Mitchell Scholarship is named for Senator George Mitchell of Maine, who served as the United States special envoy to Northern Ireland and helped negotiate the Northern Ireland Peace Accords in the 1990s. The Mitchell and Marshall Scholarships both boast annual acceptance rates of fewer than 4 percent from around 300 and 950 applicants, respectively.
University President John J. DeGioia expressed the Georgetown community’s pride in Prindiville’s accomplishment.
“We are deeply proud of our alumnus Peter Prindiville on the occasion of his selection as a Mitchell Scholar. His leadership here as President of our Philodemic Society and his many accomplishments are testaments to his hard work, dedication and commitment to serving the common good,” DeGioia wrote in a statement to The Hoya.
Prindiville, who is currently teaching social studies at an under-resourced Catholic high school in Biloxi, Miss., and pursuing a master’s in education at the University of Notre Dame, will be pursuing a master’s in history at the University College Cork.
Prindiville decided to apply for the Mitchell after his research interests led him to study in Ireland.
“I’m interested in exploring how societies remember and talk about the past, and how they inculcate traumatic memories in young people to form a national identity. I’m especially excited to examine the role of schools in ongoing cultural memory-making, and the power of education to sustain or discourage understanding between peoples,” Prindiville wrote in an email to The Hoya. “In a place like Ireland, these topics are very potent.”
The Mitchell Scholarship specifically seeks candidates who use their education and talents to promote the greater public good. Director of the Office of Fellowships, Awards and Resources for Undergraduates professor John Glavin said Prindiville made a significant contribution to campus and city life while at Georgetown through serving as an Advisory Neighborhood Commisioner,
“He’s remarkable, he had a remarkable career at Georgetown. He was an ANC Commissioner, representing Burleith and representing the students. I have seen a letter of recommendation from the head of that commission saying he was the best student commissioner they’ve ever seen,” Glavin said. “He really made a difference.”
Marshall Scholar Quallen plans to pursue a master’s degree in history at the University of Manchester followed by a master’s in geography at the University of Cambridge. Quallen will focus on the marginalization of people who historically lack access to structures of power.
“What I hope to study is early industrial history in England, and specifically this very important moment when the first cities in the world, cities that we know today, are forming,” Quallen said. “So the first industrial cities — Manchester, London, Liverpool — and what happens is all these new people come to the city, and they form this new under class that never existed before. … What I am interested in specifically is the ways in which they’re dehumanized.”
Quallen has been actively involved both on and off campus during his time at Georgetown. He is a Carroll Fellow, a columnist for The Hoya, the Georgetown University Student Association historian and a member of the International Relations Club and CEO of its sister organization, the Georgetown International Relations Association. Additionally, Quallen has interned for the Supreme Court and the Brookings Institution.
Quallen also serves on the university’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation where he analyzes Georgetown’s slaveholding past and lectured at a teach-in on the history of slavery at Georgetown on Tuesday.
“Though Matthew has been an extraordinary influence on the campus, as is shown by his influential position on the Working Group on Slavery, it is a mistake to think that work done at Georgetown is the only criterion for Marshall election,” Glavin said. “Matthew’s work as a student, as a researcher, as a writer, as an activist, convincingly demonstrates to objective reviewers that he is and is going to be a forceful advocate for those whom hegemonic forces marginalize and subjugate.”
Georgetown students and alumni have historically been very successful in winning the Mitchell, Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships. According to Glavin, Georgetown is one of the most represented schools for Mitchell Scholarship winners. This year, three of the 20 Mitchell finalists were Georgetown young alumni.
“We for many years were the leading school for the Mitchell. I don’t know if we still are but we probably are one of the two or three top. It’s a very prestigious fellowship which is very hard to win,” Glavin said.
Glavin also suggested early preparation as the greatest indicator of success in postgraduate fellowship awards.
“One of the great problems we have is that people appear as seniors trying to do something which they really had a good chance of doing if they had appeared as sophomores,” Glavin said. “We win these things, but they take a lot of work and the earlier you start preparing for them the better.”
The Hoya published a question-and-answer interview with Schneider today in print and online.
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